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What is Relapse Prevention Therapy?

When patients finally leave an addiction treatment rehab, there’s usually a sense of relief. However, that sense of relief is almost always short-lived once the individual discovers the battle for recovery has only just begun.

It takes a lot of hard work for someone to get through treatment. Through detox and therapy, they have to apply themselves and be as open and honest as possible. By the time they get ready to walk out the door, they have earned their recovery up to that point. Now, they have to make sure they have the resources to protect that recovery. Unfortunately, a world of stress and temptation is usually awaiting them on the other side of the door.

It’s sad but true that national relapse rates are still far too high. Relapses don’t always result in the individual having to go all the way back to point A, but it does happen. The only thing worse than having to go through treatment once is having to go through it again and again.

For that very reason, counselors are challenged to find the resources needed to help patients find ways to avoid relapses. When available, a relapse prevention therapy program might be exactly what the doctor ordered. It’s a process that can be implemented while the patient is going through the rest of the addiction treatment process. The following information is going to discuss the three primary areas of focus in relapse prevention therapy (RPT), followed by a brief description of the intended benefits of the said program.

The Three of Areas of Focus With RPT

Longevity is a friend of recovery. The longer someone stays clean, the easier it is for them to continue staying clean. The task is a big one. The individual has to navigate the day to day trials and tribulations of life that could easily spark a relapse. The best way to combat this issue is through training.

Relapse prevention therapy is the perfect platform for such training. At the most basic level, RPT focuses on three aspects of the recovery process. They include:

  • Developing better coping skills
  • Cognitive therapy intervention processes
  • Changes in behavior and lifestyle

Here’s a closer look at these aspects.

Developing Better Coping Skills

Almost all addiction treatment patients enter rehab with a significant bundle of personal issues that led to their addition. The role of therapy and counseling in the addiction treatment process is helping patients learn the truth about their addiction. It requires open and honest communication with their therapists, but in the end, they get a better idea of their personal emotional and mental weaknesses.

Using that information, they can set forth to develop a better set of coping skills that target those very specific issues. If the magic works, they will leave rehab with a line of defense against their triggers and temptations.

Cognitive Therapy Intervention Processes

Cognitive therapy is a treatment process that focuses on the thought processes an addicted individual goes through when they make the decision to use. Cognitive therapy intervention teaches methods that allow the individual to anticipate their thought processes in order to stop the behavior. It’s called taking responsibility for one’s thoughts that lead to specific bad actions.

As the second part of this addiction therapy process, the individual is then taught how to intervene with their thoughts by using their coping skills. This will help them combat the onset of actions that could lead to a relapse. Ultimately, the individual learns how to re-frame their thought processes so they have better control over their ability to say no and walk away from dangerous situations that would put them at peril.

Changes in Behavior and Lifestyle

Addiction strips a person of their quality of life. In most cases, the individual begins to care less about themselves, which often times results in them adopting an unhealthy lifestyle. Behavioral therapy focuses on teaching patients how to see themselves in a better light. By learning to make significant changes in their lifestyle, they can essentially create an environment where using isn’t part of their everyday lives.

Lifestyle changes include things like eating a healthy diet, keeping one’s hygiene up, getting plenty of exercise and developing better sleep habits. These are all things people struggle with when they are stuck in the cycle of addiction. By making these lifestyle changes, better behaviors follow. Taking care of oneself leaves very little time for drinking or using drugs.

The Benefits of RTP

After receiving RTP, patients will begin to see little changes in the way they feel, think and act. These changes are what would make up the list of benefits one gets from the RTP process. Here’s a partial list of the benefits someone might realize from a successful RTP process:

  • Better ability to recognize the warning signs of an impending relapse
  • Diminishing negative thought patterns
  • Better ability to change one’s attitudes and feelings into something positive
  • More control over urges and cravings
  • Improved overall self-awareness
  • Better ability to avoid high-risk situations
  • More focus on the positive and less focus on the negative

If you are having difficulty coping with life on life’s terms, you will likely find yourself on the brink of a relapse. If the opportunity arises in addiction therapy to go through RTP, do so. You’ll have a greater ability to fight back against temptation if you understand the origin of that temptation. After that, better coping skills and behaviors will make it easier to assure your recovery is fruitful and lasting.


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Will my insurance cover treatment for addiction?

The Detox Center of L.A. accepts most major insurance providers and private healthcare policies. We offer free insurance verification as well as eligibility and benefits for both behavioral and mental health treatment services. Please fill out our insurance verification form here to verify your insurance.

What happens in addiction

Effective addiction treatment programs are tailored to each individual. Because of this, it will be a different experience for everyone. However, it generally involves a combination of detoxification, group and individual therapy, educational presentations, and aftercare planning in order to ensure long-term recovery. Upon arrival at The Detox Center of L.A., you can expect our professionally trained staff to create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs and treatment goals.