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Relapse Prevention in Wisconsin


Overcoming a drug addiction is a long and complex process, from the early stages of intervention and detox through to the later stages of aftercare support and relapse prevention in Wisconsin. The entire treatment process relies on careful application, with access to individual treatments dependent on the substance and extent of addiction. Helping people to stop drug use is not enough, measures also need to be in place to help reduce relapse rates and promote long-term recovery. Relapse prevention techniques and systems are applied during rehab and aftercare, with motivational, cognitive, and behavioral methods used to help people recognize triggers and cope with difficult life events. If you or anyone you know in Wisconsin needs help overcoming a drug or alcohol problem, it is important to contact an addiction specialist as soon as you can.


What is relapse?

Relapse is also known as recidivism, with this term used to describe the return of a past medical condition. In the context of drug treatment, relapse describes the return of drug or alcohol abuse after a prolonged period of abstinence. Relapse is very common for drug addicts, with roughly 50 percent of all treatment admissions returning to drugs or alcohol according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This rate is similar to that for other chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma, a fact that lends weight to the modern notion of addiction as a disease. While the exact reasons for relapse are unclear and difficult to quantify, a number of environmental and emotional factors are known to influence drug and alcohol re-exposure. Relapse is affected by low outcome expectancy, psychological drug cravings, environmental cues, depression, anxiety, poor coping skills, lack of motivation, and lack of appropriate treatment.


What is addiction?

In order to comprehend why relapse rates are so high, it’s important to understand more about the nature of addiction. Addiction is a learned behavior maintained by neuronal adaptations, with addictive substances both positively reinforcing and intrinsically rewarding upon consumption. Regular exposure to addictive chemicals creates brain changes that become normalized over time, with emotions linked with particular chemicals through physical and psychological associations. Breaking the bonds of addiction is much harder than many people think, with recovering addicts needing to replace existing associations through medical and psychotherapeutic treatment. While all addictions have a psychological component, drugs differ widely with regard to their addictive potential. Some psychoactive substances produce physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use, including alcohol, heroin, and prescription opiates. Other drugs produce emotional and motivational symptoms, including methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana among others.


Stages of relapse

Relapse is both a failed outcome of the recovery process and a transgression that takes place in a number of stages. Emotional relapse is the first stage, recognized by unhelpful emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear. This phase of relapse may go completely unnoticed by the recovering addict, with therapists able to help clients recognize triggers before they develop into behavior patterns. Mental relapse is the next phase, marked by confusing and often contradictory thought patterns. Unless this stage of relapse is treated quickly, a physical relapse event is highly likely. Physical relapse takes place when people return to drug or alcohol use, with additional interventions required at this stage to get people back into treatment. Therapists can assist people during each of these stages by helping them to recognize potential triggers, avoid dangerous situations, and cope with the challenges of reintegration.

If you or anyone you know is living with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to reach out to an addiction specialist as soon as possible. They can provide you with the guidance necessary to not only achieve sobriety, but maintain it for a lifetime.