Does Relapse Prevention for Men Facing Challenges With Unwanted Substance Triggers Helpful?

Three men working together in an office.

Does Relapse Prevention for Men Facing Challenges With Unwanted Substance Triggers Helpful?

The challenges associated with an individual’s dual diagnosis can be difficult to manage alone. Addiction can negatively impact many different aspects of one’s life. Unwanted substance triggers and intense cravings can be especially hard for one to overcome without professional assistance. Although men are less likely to seek help for their mental and physical health conditions, the value of relapse prevention can significantly improve one’s quality of life.

The Many Challenges One May Face With a Dual Diagnosis While in Recovery

Even though an individual has completed their treatment program, this does not necessarily mean they are confident in moving forward in recovery. Early recovery can be a vulnerable stage for most men. The many adjustments required for a healthier living can feel overwhelming at the start. As life slows down in late recovery, one may be more susceptible to relapse. This can be especially so for those facing problems with a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis can be characterized by having both addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. 

For example, an individual who is having problems coping with bipolar disorder at any stage in recovery may be more prone to having a substance relapse. Specific triggers can cause one to make impulsive decisions that often end badly. Psychological or unwanted substance triggers can negatively derail one’s recovery. If a dual diagnosis is left unmanaged, the condition can negatively interfere with an individual’s ability to function daily and essentially worsen one’s condition. A dual diagnosis may negatively interfere with one’s ability to maintain: 

  • Healthy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones
  • A successful work performance
  • Steady academic progress
  • Financial stability


What Is Relapse Prevention?

According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, studies have shown that many individuals commonly relapse within the first year of recovery. Substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health conditions are chronic lapsing and relapsing conditions. 

Psychosocial and long-term pharmacological care interactions are the primary approaches for dual diagnosis management. For instance, relapse prevention is a type of cognitive-behavioral approach therapists use to effectively reduce the likelihood of an individual having a severe relapse. Relapse prevention works to reduce problematic behaviors to help one maintain sobriety and mental stability for a healthier lifestyle. An individual with a dual diagnosis may benefit from relapse prevention if they have forgotten helpful information in therapy, such as skills, techniques, or coping strategies. One way to determine if relapse prevention is the right treatment option is by analyzing the warning signs leading up to a relapse. Signs one may be having difficulty managing unwanted substance triggers might include: 

  • Presenting intense mood swings
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Not taking an interest in upcoming events
  • Neglecting recovery practices
  • Presenting increased signs of depression
  • Neglecting appearance
  • Reminiscing about past substance use


What to Expect When Participating in a Relapse Prevention Program

It is common for men to feel hesitant when moving forward with relapse prevention, as not many individuals know what to expect. Discussing the process with a specialist at a trusted treatment facility may help one gain clarity. Relapse prevention teaches many individuals the strategies needed to respond appropriately to unwanted substance triggers without relapsing. This type of intervention also provides support for those recovering from a substance relapse. 

Based on the Addiction Relapse Prevention, acceptance is a crucial part of the recovery process for those facing problems with a dual diagnosis. Many individuals are at risk of losing their families, employment, and overall freedom as a consequence of relapse due to unwanted substance triggers. One should expect to endure skills development, medications, monitoring, and receive social support with relapse prevention. Cognitive-behavioral intervention is a key component of relapse prevention as well. An individual may gain a complete overview of the different stages of relapse. These include emotional, mental, and physical relapses. Relapse prevention may also provide support to those facing problems with unwanted substance triggers by discussing the stages of recovery, which include the following: 

  • Abstinence stage
  • Repair stage
  • Growth stage


Benefits of Participating in Relapse Prevention for Unwanted Substance Triggers

Unwanted substance triggers can be very difficult to manage in treatment, early or late recovery. Relapse prevention can provide several different benefits to those facing problems with their dual diagnosis. Participating in therapy can help one understand the impact of their mental health condition related to their addiction. An individual may learn how to build a balanced lifestyle supporting recovery. Benefits of attending relapse prevention might include: 

  • Developed coping strategies to manage intense cravings
  • Enhanced self-control to respond to unwanted substance triggers
  • Understanding of the consequences of relapse for advanced notice
  • Gained self-forgiveness to get back on track after having a relapse
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem to maintain mental stability


Getting Started With a Relapse Prevention Program to Respond to Unwanted Substance Triggers Effectively

An individual may gain the sober living skills needed when residing in a sober living home to achieve long-term sobriety. Depending on the facility chosen, relapse prevention services in a sober living environment might include life skills, excursions, family programming, and individual and group therapy to help one effectively respond to unwanted substance triggers. Relapse prevention can also teach an individual helpful tips before returning to the real world.