Relapse Prevention in Cleveland OH (216) 453-4274

Relapse prevention techniques and systems are widely used in drug treatment programs, both during residential care and following formal treatment. The possibility of relapse is extremely high for alcoholism and drug use disorders, with relapse prevention a critical component in all well-rounded programs. While detox enables people to stop drug use in a safe medical setting and behavioral therapy teaches people how to make healthier lifestyle choices, both of these approaches are useless if people are going to return to their old ways. Relapse prevention encourages sustainable and long-term recovery, with patients taught new psychological skills and given practical support when they need it most.

What is Relapse?

In the context of drug and alcohol treatment, relapse describes the situation that arises when someone returns to drug or alcohol use following a period of abstinence. Relapse prevention programs are designed to stop this from happening, with techniques built in to existing psychotherapy programs and dedicated prevention systems initiated on an aftercare basis. Relapse can be seen as both an outcome and a transgression of the recovery process, with most treatment programs dealing with relapse as a set of distinct stages or steps. Emotional relapse is the first step, with patients then progressing to mental relapse and physical relapse unless they receive appropriate treatment. If you or someone you know is having trouble maintaining their sobriety, call Cleveland Drug Treatment Centers at (216) 453-4274 to learn about available treatment options.


Relapse rates are very high for drug use disorders, with 40-60 percent of people with addiction problems relapsing into drug use following rehab. Interestingly, this rate is almost identical to that for other chronic diseases, giving weight to the disease model of addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the rate of relapse can be improved greatly if people enter a rehab program immediately following detoxification. People are both less likely to relapse and take 40 percent longer to relapse if they enter rehab within 30 days of formal detox treatment. If you or anyone you know is living with a substance abuse problem, it's important to understand the gravity of this statistic. While detox enables people to discontinue drug use in a safe and supportive setting, drug rehab is even more essential because it treats the precedents of abuse and addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A number of relapse prevention programs are based on cognitive behavioral principles, with this form of therapy originally designed to treat depression disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches patients to recognize the links between thoughts, feelings and behavioral responses, with specific techniques and exercises used to solve practical problems and support core beliefs. Cognitive behavioral therapy has six distinct phases, many of which are borrowed from conventional behavioral therapy: psychological assessment, reconceptualization, skills acquisition and application training, generalization and maintenance, and post-treatment assessment follow-up. The reconceptualization phase accounts for most of the cognitive approach, with this phase especially useful in the context of relapse prevention.

Practical Programs

Mindfulness and psychological skills teach recovering addicts how to avoid high risk situations and identify problematic behavioral responses. While the development and integration of these skills is integral to many relapse prevention systems, it is equally important that recovering addicts receive practical support during recovery. People with stable living arrangements and income support are much less likely to relapse following treatment. From job skills and training through to community housing and low-interest loans, practical programs can make a real difference to long-term relapse rates.

For information and guidance on finding the best treatment options to help you achieve recovery, call Cleveland Drug Treatment Centers at (216) 453-4274.

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