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Relapse Prevention

Preventing relapses is an essential part of the healing process at Alpine Recovery Lodge. Residents must be taught to recognize the warning signs that could indicate the possibility of relapse. We help our patients learn how to respond in a disciplined manner when those warning signs present themselves.


How to Prevent Relapse: Understanding Why it Happens

Relapse isn’t a lack of willpower – it’s the result of changes to the brain.

Relapse occurs when a person returns to substance abuse after a period of sobriety. Addiction recovery can be challenging, and relapsing after treatment doesn’t mean that treatment has failed, though it is an indication that more treatment or a different approach is needed. As part of preventing relapse, one must understand what causes relapse, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.

Substance abuse disorder is a long-term medical issue defined by an impaired ability to curb substance use regardless of the harm it causes. Approximately 20 million Americans over the age of 12 are affected by substance use disorders.

Because addiction is considered chronic, recurrence of substance use is viewed as part of the condition’s manifestation. Between 40 and 60 percent of people with addiction disorders will experience relapse; roughly the same relapse rate in people with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes.


What Causes Relapse?

Relapse prevention requires aggressive addiction management. People with substance use disorder often must pursue sobriety with the same energy they used to acquire and use their drugs of choice. However, it can be extremely difficult to sustain the vigilance necessary to assure continued sobriety during normal, daily life. Additionally, people who have battled substance use disorder for a significant portion of their lives might be more likely to experience relapse.

Because addiction is a disease of the brain that becomes progressively worse the longer it is unaddressed, people who have struggled with untreated addiction for years or decades are particularly susceptible to relapse. The brain’s chemistry is forever altered, compromising impulse control, memory, and judgment.

It is also possible that environmental and genetic factors make some people more vulnerable to relapse. People whose parents struggled with addiction are statistically more likely to develop substance use disorders than people who don’t have a family history of addiction.

Different people will experience different degrees of addiction severity. Common relapse triggers include:

  • Financial struggles
  • Family tension
  • Exhaustion
  • Work stress
  • Loneliness
  • Death
  • Divorce/breakup
  • Depression


Relapse Prevention at Alpine Recovery Lodge

At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we help a diverse population of people recognize relapse triggers and address them effectively.

Good relapse prevention counseling will enable each resident to recognize circumstances, activities, and ways of thinking that might trigger a relapse. When faced with a trigger experience, knowing what to do is key to avoiding relapses. Our clinical team can help residents develop the skills needed to attain and maintain sobriety.

Life coaching figures into relapse prevention and identifying relapse triggers. Life coaching is a talking therapy: through conversation, the residents are led to understand how they arrived at their current situation and then develop motivations and strategies to move towards a better situation.

Call us today to learn more.