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Relapse Prevention For Women

depressed woman

Addiction, also referred to as severe substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a brain disorder. It is characterized by an individual habitually engaging in rewarding stimuli (i.e. abusing drugs and/ or alcohol) regardless of the inevitable ensuing of negative consequences. A person struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction will put satisfying her drug craving above all else in her life. This can affect all areas of her life, such as leading to strained relationships with family and/ or friends, employment challenges, financial strains, legal complications, and suffering negative physical effects. Substance use disorder is known as a relapsing disorder. As such, relapse is highly common during one’s recovery process, and great emphasis is placed on methods to avoid this aspect of addiction.

Recovery Process

Every person in treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction goes through a nuanced and unique experience. There are a variety of treatment options for women struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction. Regardless of the specific type of treatment selected, any person that goes through substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment must complete the same stages. The first stage is to complete the detox phase, which rids and cleanses one’s body of any foreign substances. Then participate in a treatment program, which will provide the individual with tools, skills and coping mechanisms for living a sober life. Followed by adhering to one’s aftercare plan to assist with maintenance and continued practices for leading a sober life, including relapse prevention. 

Aftercare Plan 

An integral component of any substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program is developing a clear aftercare plan. Aftercare plans generally touch upon various healthy daily habits to integrate into one’s life post-treatment, such as maintaining a nutritious diet, regular exercise, getting ample amounts of sleep nightly, and/ or additional self-care practices. Depending on one’s needs an aftercare plan can range from including a highly detailed daily schedule to more vague overall suggestions. Regardless of where the specifics of one’s plan fall on the spectrum, an aftercare plan will always address relapse prevention. The aftercare plan is often a co-creation between the individual in treatment and her clinical care team. 

Relapse Prevention Skills

There are certain skills that when practiced can be helpful in the prevention of relapse. For example, engaging in regular self-care practices can occupy one’s newfound free time, which was previously used to accommodate one’s substance abuse habit. This, in turn, can assist in reducing potential triggers that may lead to relapse. Another common relapse prevention tip is for individuals to engage in mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation can help a person become more self-aware, which can increase one’s ability to cope with the presence of potential triggers that may lead to relapse. Regular participation in substance abuse and/ or addiction support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/ or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is helpful in maintaining sobriety. There are a variety of support groups available for individuals struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction, all over the country at all times throughout the day. Consistently participating in support group meetings can assist in accountability. Furthermore, support group meetings are an excellent resource to expand one’s sober network, gain knowledge from other’s experiences, and surround oneself with other individuals that all have a common goal. Although some of the skills may seem like common knowledge, they can be integral to one’s ability to avoid relapsing. 

It is important to note that relapse is a common part of recovering from substance abuse/ and or addiction, and should not be viewed as a failure of any kind. Albeit many feelings can accompany a relapse, shame should not be one of them. An individual that relapses had successfully attained sobriety at one point and she can do so again. With the proper support, any individual can successfully move past one or more relapse experiences.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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