What role does therapy play in relapse prevention?
Therapy for recovering addicts can provide direction and coaching geared toward the individual. In many cases, even a motivated addict may slide back into using without therapy to replace old patterns of behavior with new ones.
Effective therapy will help the user identify high-risk situations, then teach skills for avoiding or coping with such situations. If a relapse does occur, the therapist can work with the user to analyze the triggers and patterns that preceded it, resulting in an ongoing learning process.
The work of relapse prevention also helps the recovering addict deal with the reactions of others to the changes in his or her life. Old friends who used drugs may be scornful, or may try to tempt the addict back to familiar patterns. Family members may be doubtful that this attempt will work, or resentful of the price they have had to pay for the addiction. In some cases, therapy with supportive family members can help by educating everyone in the household about the signs of relapse and codependent behaviors that supported the addiction.
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