Outpatient treatment, including partial hospitalization (PHP) and intensive outpatient (IOP) programs, reduce the risk of relapse by providing essential support services. People recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) rely on non-residential care to help them manage their condition. Studies have shown that “outpatient treatment offers the support
Dangers of Relapse During Early Recovery
Finding healthy ways to reduce the risk of relapse is essential during early recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Relapse rates for drug use are similar to rates for other chronic medical illnesses.” Approximately 40-60% of individuals diagnosed with SUD experience a relapse. Being mindful of triggers and actively participating in treatment reduces the risk.
Some of the dangers of relapse during early recovery include:
- An increased risk of severe injury, illness, or overdose due to changes in tolerance after detox
- Emotional relapse may cause people to stop treatment and return to maladaptive behaviors
- Physical relapse may cause an increase in symptoms or the development of co-occurring mental health issues
Avoiding relapse is the best way to ensure people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction maintain sobriety. Non-residential addiction recovery programs offer various support services, including psychotherapy and psychiatry, to help clients establish healthy routines and reduce the risk of emotional or physical relapse. The Redpoint Center uses mindfulness-based practices to help clients prepare for long-term sobriety.
4 Ways to Reduce Relapse in Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient programs for substance misuse provide clients with additional flexibility and freedom. However, they also give people more free time away from structured care, where they must navigate triggers related to substance misuse. The high percentage of individuals who experience relapse makes it essential for non-residential treatment programs to help clients prepare for long-term sobriety using relapse prevention education. Below are four additional ways to reduce the risk of relapse during outpatient treatment.
#1. Engage With the Recovery Community
Longmont, Colorado, has a thriving recovery community where people in recovery can interact with sober peers. The Redpoint Center offers peer support through community events, support groups, and group therapy. Peers engage with one another and share insights to overcome challenges related to recovery. Many people learn healthy ways to reduce the risk of relapse by talking with others who have gone through the experience and learned how to manage their triggers.
Some of the ways people engage in their local recovery community include:
- Attending self-help groups
- Participating in group therapy
- Joining sober groups based on hobbies, sports, or other activities
- Attending local recovery events
- Volunteering with recovery advocate organizations or groups
According to Alcohol Research Current Reviews, “Various community recovery support services help sustain positive behavior change for individuals with alcohol and drug use disorders.” Case managers at The Redpoint Center provide information about local recovery groups, organizations, and services clients can use to avoid relapse.
#2. Crisis Management Strategies Reduce the Risk of Relapse
Early recovery comes with a lot of unexpected challenges. Some people find themselves experiencing a crisis with minimal warning. Preparing crisis management strategies during treatment helps people cope in the moment. The care team collaborates with clients and guides them through multiple potential crisis scenarios. Going over likely scenarios ahead of time makes it easier to think of healthy solutions for handling challenges in early recovery before they occur.
Below are a few examples of crisis management strategies:
- Contacting a therapist or other member of your support system if you feel emotionally overwhelmed
- Leaving an area and finding a safe space if you experience the urge to relapse
- Removing triggering items from the home
Most crisis management strategies have multiple steps and can be modified to fit various situations. Often, strategies also involve finding ways to reduce life stressors to reduce the risk of experiencing a crisis.
#3. Strengthen Your Support System to Reduce the Risk of Relapse
A person’s support system is one of the most critical factors in maintaining long-term sobriety. According to the journal Substance Abuse, “Spouses, family members, peers, and neighborhood factors have been shown to play key roles in both an individual’s addiction and also in his or her recovery.” Peer support and maintaining contact with a therapist, counselor, or other mental health professional strengthens a person’s support system.
#4. Practice Coping Skills Every Day in Real World Situations
The flexibility of non-residential care programs allows clients in recovery to practice coping skills in everyday situations. Coping skills reduce the risk of relapse by helping people reframe their recovery.
Some examples of how to practice coping skills include:
- Using active listening, conflict resolution, and other social skills to reduce miscommunication and social anxiety
- Replacing negative self-talk with positive thoughts and beliefs
- Using mindfulness-based techniques to stay grounded and present during moments of high stress
Clients at The Redpoint Center work with their care team to discover what coping skills help them manage their condition the best.
People in early recovery often have to cope with unexpected stressors and challenging situations. Utilizing the skills and tools learned in therapy allows people to manage stress and SUD without resorting to maladaptive behaviors. The Redpoint Center provides evidence-based and alternative therapies to ensure clients feel confident in their ability to remain sober outside of treatment. Non-residential programs allow people in recovery to practice coping skills in the real world before they transition out of treatment. The Redpoint Center encourages clients to build healthy routines, a strong support system, and essential life skills during outpatient care. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (303) 710-8496.