Tag Archive: sustain recovery

  1. Relapse Triggers and How to Avoid Them

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    Anecdotal stories about recovering drug addicts and alcoholics who have experienced a relapse are so common that many people assume that relapses are an expected and regular part of recovery. Regrettably, relapses are not uncommon, but the good news is that they are not inevitable. Addiction recovery counselors and therapists have gained a greater understanding of the triggers that lead to relapses and are structuring recovery programs to give addicts and alcoholics new tools and techniques to recognize relapse triggers and to either avoid them or to handle them in a manner that keeps them away from drugs or alcohol. These tools and techniques are especially helpful for parents and family members who are committed to helping their teen or adolescent family members to defeat a drug addiction or alcoholism problem.

    “Relapse Triggers”
    The most obvious relapse triggers to avoid are the environments and social settings that make drugs and alcohol available to a recovering addict. Where younger people are concerned, this might require a teen to shun old friends who supplied him with substances and to stay away from social gatherings where drugs and alcohol are present. Social isolation can lead to boredom, which is itself a relapse trigger, and it is critical for a recovering teen alcoholic or drug addict to establish new friends and social activities to replace the old relationships that fostered his substance abuse.

    “Staying Away From Drugs”
    Staying away from drugs of any kind can be a challenge for adolescents, particularly if drugs are present in his home as, for example, if a parent or sibling is using any kind of prescription painkillers. The mere presence or proximity of any kind of drug can tempt a recovering addict to use that drug or to seek other substances. Parents and family members of recovering teen addicts will need to take great care to isolate and secure their prescription medications to prevent any inadvertent relapse triggers from taking hold of a recovering teen addict.

    “Addict’s Mental State”
    A recovering addict’s mental state can swing wildly among over-confidence, boredom, and complacency as he adjusts to a new life without substances. That mental state will be affected by regular daily stresses, or mental and physical pain that the recovering addict experiences as he goes on with his daily routine. Parents and family members of recovering teen addicts need to maintain an extreme state of vigilance to monitor his or her mental state for signs of triggers that could lead them back to substance abuse. When they suspect any problems creeping into the teen’s psyche, they should contact the teen’s addiction recovery counselors and therapists, who may not be able to detect those problems in more limited one-hour sessions.

    “Drug Addictions”
    In spite of the difficulties that drug addictions or alcoholism might have created, both teen and adult substance abusers often lapse into reminiscences of experiences they had while using drugs or alcohol. Those memories can lead a recovering addict to rationalize his substance abuse and to minimize memories of the pain and suffering it may have caused, and that rationalization can easily trigger a relapse. A teen’s romanticizing about those problems may be evidence of a relapse trigger in the making. Likewise, a teen’s portrayal of himself as a martyr or his expressions of self-pity may be signs that he is trending back toward drug and alcohol usage. His parents and family members should pay close attention to how a teen talks about his prior substance abuse problems.

    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California has developed numerous programs to help adolescents and young adults who are recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism, and their parents and families to, recognize the common triggers that can lead to a substance abuse relapse. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  2. The Primary Objectives of Adolescent Addiction Recovery

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    Adolescents have brain structures and pathways that are far from mature. From this perspective alone, it makes perfect sense that the treatment objectives as well as the treatments themselves for adolescents who are in addiction recovery programs will be different than those for adults. Those differences can also pose unique challenges for counselors and therapists who strive to structure effective addiction treatment programs for adolescents.

    Addiction Profile

    Adolescents generally present a different addiction profile than adults. Since they are younger, their substance abuse history will be shorter and they will not have experienced as many of the adverse consequences that typically befall adult addicts. Their drug or alcohol abuse may be more binge-oriented or it may occur in discrete episodes rather than becoming ingrained as a daily routine. As adolescents struggle with their own identities, their substance abuse might be a symptom of other psychological issues as it simultaneously masks those issues. On the plus side, these factors give adolescents a greater opportunity to recover and to develop positive motivations that keep them permanently away from drugs and alcohol.

    Research Based-Treatments

    Counselors and therapists use different research-based treatments to help adolescents recover from substance abuse problems. These include behavioral therapies such as community reinforcement programs that are designed to replace the temptations that led them to drug or alcohol abuse with more positive influences, cognitive therapy that helps teens to better understand the consequences of their substance abuse, and contingency programs that give adolescents rewards for drug- and alcohol-free behavior.

    Adolescent Addiction Recovery

    Because most adolescents are still living with their families, family-based therapy is also an effective approach to adolescent addiction recovery. These therapeutic programs engage an adolescent’s entire family structure to variously provide positive reinforcement, to learn how to interact in a positive manner and to improve inter-familial respect, and to communicate more effectively to avoid breakdowns in family relationships that might drive an adolescent toward drugs or alcohol.

    Adolescent Addiction Treatment

    Adolescent addiction treatment programs also focus on a teen’s self-esteem and in helping a teen to overcome any experiences that may have harmed his self-image. Teens are susceptible to low self-esteem as a result of on-line or in-person bullying, poor performance in school or athletics, or rumors and stories that get spread through social media. Counselors have discovered that in many cases, teens have turned to alcohol or drugs to ease the difficulties associated with these situations. Rebuilding an adolescent’s self-esteem that has been damaged by external events like these can be a daunting challenge, but it is not an impossible task.

    Addiction Therapy

    One goal of adolescent addiction recovery that is common with all addiction therapy is its focus on preventing relapses. Some studies have suggested that between one third and one half of all adolescents who have received substance abuse therapy will experience one or more relapses within twelve months of completing that therapy. Counselors are trained to look for relapse risk factors, including the presence of other psychological issues, drug or alcohol use by an adolescent’s family members and close friends, and his or her coping skills when faced with stressful situations. Where an adolescent’s family expresses strong motivation to help prevent relapses, that family can be the best tool that he or she can rely on for that purpose. Teens may also more open to educational therapies that expose them to risks of relapse and that give them mechanisms and resources to turn to when they are tempted to resume using drugs or alcohol.

    Sustain Recovery Services

    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California focuses its efforts on helping adolescents and young adults to recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

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