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Heroin Relapse Prevention

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Heroin addiction is one of the fastest growing drug addictions in the United States today.

This statistic includes not only new heroin addicts but also those who relapse back into addiction after heroin addiction treatment. Relapse prevention is one way to help those that stop their heroin addiction from going back.

What Exactly is Relapse?

Relapse is a reoccurrence of drug use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug abuse is a chronic disease. This means that it stays with you for a long time, if not forever. If you stop using and start using again, you will experience:

Part of the problem with relapse is that after you go through detoxification and treatment for a drug addiction, you are susceptible to drug related overdose.

Relapse related overdose happens when a person finishes rehab and tolerance for the drug decreases. With a decreased tolerance, your body cannot handle as much heroin as it did before the treatment.

If you take the same amount that you did before heroin detox, you run the risk of overdosing on it. This happens despite any previous tolerance you might have had.

What is Relapse Prevention?

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, relapse prevention is an approach that focuses on the maintenance stage of addiction treatment. Relapse prevention has a few main goals. These goals are:

Each of these goals help to define what relapse prevention is and who needs it. The overall aim of relapse prevention is to stop any chance of relapse after treatment. This is unfortunately, very difficult.

Relapse is a part of addiction. Since addiction is a chronic disease, there is about the same chance of a drug relapse as there is any other chronic illness.

Problems Addressed in Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention addresses several key problems. These problems are common occurrences with drug or alcohol dependence. These effects are problems that happen during drug use but are preventable with both drug treatment and helping to prevent relapse.

According to the University of Washington, some of these effects are:

Each of these issues often arises when a heroin user relapses. When a person relapses, the chance of developing one of these side effects increases.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Relapse prevention relies on several strategies to help you. These strategies are what you learn during and after your heroin addiction treatment. These strategies are part of three different types of approaches. These approaches are:

Each of these approaches teaches valuable lessons for relapse prevention.

Some of the strategies or lessons that relapse prevention teaches are:.

Each of these strategies are taught in any of the drug treatment programs available. Most of the strategies are combined with other forms of therapy including medication, individual, and group therapy approaches.

Methods of Relapse Prevention

There are several methods of relapse prevention. These are methods that therapists, counselors, and treatment centers use to make sure that relapse does not happen. Some of these methods include:

There are many other relapse prevention methods. The Most useful depends on your addiction level and individual needs, wants, and goals. You should choose the method of relapse prevention that best suits you.

All of these are designed to help you recover from your addiction and prevent relapse. Although many of these promote lifestyle changes, they might not be enough to prevent relapse alone.

There are drugs currently available as both relapse prevention measures and deterrents. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these drugs are:

All of these medications except for naltrexone are maintenance or withdrawal treatments. Naltrexone is a bit different. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opiates but does not treat pain or withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone is a drug that is often added to therapy to prevent relapse during treatment.

Where is Heroin Relapse Prevention Available?

Relapse prevention is an important part of heroin addiction treatment. It is available at the majority of treatment centers. You can find it as a supportive program and as part of the body of the treatment.

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