The 3 Stages of Relapse
- Emotional: This is considered the first stage of relapse, where the patient is still going through the recovery process but can’t deal with their feelings in a natural way. The common signs of this stage include anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety. Many times a patient cannot recognize these signs at all, mainly because this is the early stage. Therapists can help someone recognize and manage the signs of an emotional relapse before it’s too late.
- Mental: If you can’t deal with the emotional stage, you will find yourself in the next stage of relapse- the mental phase. This occurs when the abuser has confusing and contradictory thought patterns. They’re still going through the recovery process, but in the back of their mind they are contemplating returning to their old habits. The signs for this include fantasizing about future drug use, spending time with past friends who also abused, and planning literal relapse scenarios.
- Physical: If the patient doesn’t get medical help, and mentally cannot deal with the thought of not going back to their old ways, physical relapse is the final stage. This represents a complete breakdown of the recovery process, and the user succumbs to the drug they’ve desired.
Training the Mind
Patients must learn that emotional regulation and mindfulness are an important factor to relapse prevention, because they teach patients how to sustain their thoughts, feelings and behavioral responses in positive ways- that won’t lead back to addiction. All addictions are simply habits based on altered brain neuroplasticity, with those recovering needing to learn new methods to manage those impulses. In a way, it’s just like someone dieting. Changing your eating habits can help you from succumbing to foods that are unhealthy and toxic. This includes changing the way you perceive food. Are you an emotional eater? Or do you eat just to survive? The same can be related back to someone abusing drugs. Will power is the essential key to help a recovering patient move on with their life.