While recovery and relapse don’t go hand-in-hand, the nature of addiction as a chronic disease means that cravings can persist even during periods of abstinence and sobriety.

Managing these cravings can be a life-long battle, requiring ongoing support, persistence, and commitment to developing healthy coping mechanisms.

Relapse prevention in West Palm Beach helps people suffering from addiction get the support they need to stay on the path to long-term recovery.

If you live in or near West Palm Beach, treatment is available. This article discusses everything you need to know about relapse and what to expect during relapse prevention therapy.

couple therapy

How Common is Relapse After Rehab?

Relapse is an all too common occurrence among people suffering from drug addiction.

People who have recovered from addiction must actively maintain sobriety to prevent themselves from falling back into their old habits. Without doing so, relapse is inevitable.

According to studies, 65 to 70% of alcohol-dependent people relapse within one year of treatment.

For opioid addiction, the numbers are even more shocking—a staggering 91% in the first year.

A common misconception about relapse is that it can’t be avoided. That simply isn’t the case.

Though it’s a common occurrence, relapse isn’t an unavoidable part of recovery. Many people achieve long-term sobriety without relapsing by staying committed to their relapse prevention plan, using effective support systems, and being proactive in managing stress and triggers.

This is what relapse prevention is all about; learning how to manage negative emotions and replacing unhealthy behaviors with positive habits.

What Causes Relapse? Understanding Relapse Triggers

Relapse triggers are generally divided into three categories: environmental, mental, and emotional.

Environmental Triggers

Places, people, or situations that remind individuals of their addiction can provoke intense cravings, making it difficult to resist the urge to use substances again.

These triggers are especially potent in the early stages of recovery, when individuals are still establishing new habits and coping mechanisms.

Mental Triggers

Stress plays a big role in mental relapse. Stress, whether from personal, professional, or financial pressures, can impair a person’s decision-making abilities and push them toward the comfort and relief that substances once provided.

Emotional Triggers

Emotional triggers can be the toughest to overcome. When individuals experience strong emotions, they may seek out substances to numb or escape their feelings.

Even positive emotions like excitement, joy, and boredom can trigger an emotional relapse. A person in recovery may relapse when celebrating a happy occasion, believing that “just one” won’t hurt.

This often happens with people recovering from alcohol abuse; a family member may have just gotten promoted and everyone around them is drinking, creating an atmosphere where the temptation to join in feels overwhelming.

One glass turns into two, and two turns into three, and before they know it, they’re spiraling back into their old habits and dealing with a physical relapse.

Early Warning Signs of a Potentially Impending Relapse

If you or a loved one is getting addiction treatment, it’s important to recognize the warning signs of relapse before it’s too late. Some of these warning signs include:


Overconfidence in one’s ability to recover from addiction can be dangerous.

Overconfidence is different from healthy self-confidence, where one is aware of their strengths and weaknesses and willing to accept constructive criticism.

When individuals start believing they no longer need treatment or can manage without support, they may neglect crucial aspects of their recovery plan. This can lead to skipping therapy sessions, avoiding support groups, or engaging in behaviors that increase the risk of relapse.

Significant Change In Attitude

It’s normal for people in recovery to display changes in behavior. Bad days are an inevitable part of the recovery process. However, significant and persistent changes in attitude can be a red flag.

People who feel anxious, depressed, and irritated over extended periods may indicate that they’re at risk of a relapse or have already relapsed.

Strong positive feelings can be a sign of relapse, too, especially if they appear out of the blue. They might be reacting positively because they’re experiencing the highs of using again, or have plans of using again and can’t contain their excitement.

Visiting or Talking to Old Negative Connections

One crucial aspect of recovery is distancing yourself from people who enabled or encouraged your addiction. If a person in recovery starts talking or hanging out with someone they used to indulge in addiction with, this can be a strong indicator that they’re about to relapse.


If a loved one starts lying about who they’re hanging out with, what they’re spending their money on, or whether or not they went to therapy, this might be a sign that they’re about to relapse or have already relapsed but hiding it from you.

How Does West Palm Beach Help People In Recovery Avoid Relapse?

West Palm Beach offers a multitude of solid relapse prevention plans to help those in recovery abstain from substance abuse. One such program is aptly called Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT).

Developed by clinical psychologist Goldon Marlatt in the 1980s, Relapse Prevention Therapy is based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). It helps individuals to:

  • Find healthy coping strategies to help with negative emotions
  • Recognize relapse triggers
  • Identify potential high-risk situations (social pressures, severe stress, dwelling on past mistakes, having extra cash on hand, etc.)
  • Develop strong and healthy coping mechanisms
  • Deal with major life changes
  • Deal with withdrawal symptoms associated with drug use, alcohol use, and substance use disorder
  • Foster self-efficacy (i.e., the belief in one’s own ability to succeed)
  • Reconnect with family and build a strong support system

Alongside RPT, West Palm Beach treatment centers often use holistic therapies as part of substance abuse treatment. This includes meditation, yoga, fitness and exercise, nutritional counseling, and art and music.

Some centers also use acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic therapies to help reduce pain, relieve stress, and improve overall well-being.

How to Avoid Relapse After Rehab

It’s important to recognize that recovery is a process, and relapsing is sometimes a part of that process. It doesn’t mean the treatment has failed or that all the efforts you’ve made thus far are for nothing.

As shown in the statistics above, more than 65% of people in recovery relapse. What these statistics don’t show is the percentage of people who have jumped back from relapse and continue to live a long, happy, substance-free life. With enough support and treatment, you or your loved one can do the same.

Addiction is a chronic disease, and as with most chronic diseases, long-term recovery involves significant lifestyle changes. This could include developing healthy coping skills and routines, building a positive social network, and addressing underlying physical and mental health issues. It also involves ample self-care: eating healthily, exercising regularly, and treating oneself kindly.

Other ways to avoid relapse after rehab include:

  • Joining a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Avoiding triggering situations or people
  • Participating in sports, finding a new hobby, getting involved in volunteer work, or other healthy and productive activities to prevent boredom
  • Taking medications as prescribed by your doctor, even if you don’t believe you need it anymore
  • Attending therapy regularly and consistently, and recognizing their importance to long-term recovery

Final Thoughts

Relapse prevention programs in West Palm Beach provide people in recovery with personalized strategies and support to help them maintain sobriety.

Treatment programs offer a variety of holistic and therapeutic approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness techniques.

These methods help people develop effective coping skills, manage triggers, and build a new life with a healthy support system to strengthen their commitment to staying substance-free.

Published on: 2024-07-11
Updated on: 2024-07-11

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