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Relapse Prevention Programs in New Canaan, CT (203) 242-8275

Drug treatment requires a multifaceted approach, from the early stages of medical detox through to the later stages of relapse prevention and aftercare. If detox enables the cessation of drug use and rehab addresses the precedents of dependence, then relapse prevention promotes and supports long-term recovery.

Based mostly on cognitive and behavioral principles, relapse prevention programs are a vital link in the drug treatment chain. Relapse prevention techniques are often taught during residential psychotherapy programs, with dedicated prevention strategies also administered in the aftercare environment.

To get more information on programs that can help fight the onset of usage, contact Drug Rehab Centers New Canaan today at (203) 242-8275.

What is relapse?

Relapse is also known as recidivism, a medical term used to describe the recurrence of a past condition. When it comes to drug and alcohol treatment, it describes the situation that arises when someone returns to drug or alcohol use following a period of abstinence. It is a hallmark feature of substance abuse and dependence, both of which are learned behaviors based on alterations to brain neuroplasticity.

The propensity for repeated use and dependence often requires dedicated treatment, with patients taught how to recognize potential triggers, avoid high risk situations and develop the coping mechanisms needed for long-term recovery. As both an outcome and a transgression of the recovery process, most prevention regimens approach it as a series of progressive stages.

Relapse steps

The process is often divided into three distinct phases, with therapists using different techniques during each stage.

  • Emotional is the first step, with this phase marked by a confused emotional state. While patients are not yet thinking about returning to drug use during this stage, they are still putting themselves at risk of failure if left untreated. Common signs include mood swings, anger, frustration, irritability, anxiety, depression, and not asking for help.
  • Mental is the next step, with this phase marked by confusing and contradictory thought patterns. Common signs include romanticizing past drug use, fantasizing possible future drug use, lying to yourself and others, and planning usage scenarios.
  • Physical marks the next stage, with this phase marking a breakdown of the recovery process.


Recognizing and dealing with potential triggers is an important aspect of relapse prevention, with therapists helping patients to see the signs before it’s too late. Drug taking behavior is influenced by a number of factors, with both environmental and emotional stressors likely to lead to usage unless they are dealt with properly.

The influencing factors can be broken down into immediate determinants and covert antecedents, with immediate determinants including the environmental and emotional situations and covert antecedents including lifestyle factors like cravings and stress levels.

Behavioral therapy and mindfulness strategies are often used to help recognize these triggers, with patients also given the psychological skills they need to deal with them effectively.

Contingency Management

While most preventative strategies are based on behavioral and cognitive principles, contingency management systems offer an alternative approach. This method focuses on the consequences of drug use as opposed to its precursors, with token and voucher systems initiated to reinforce positive behavior and punish negative behavior.

While contingency management systems do not address the underlying causes of drug abuse and addiction, they have proved valuable when used alongside other psychotherapy programs. If you or anyone you know needs to access relapse prevention services, it’s important to contact a specialized recovery program facility as soon as possible.

To learn more about treatment that can help you or someone you know in the daily struggle against falling back into drug usage after recovery contact Drug Rehab Centers New Canaan. Call (203) 242-8275 now.

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