It is the mission of interventionists to shape the course of a person’s recovery process from the very start, improving the odds for a better outcome. However, when a patient has repeatedly tried quitting their addiction without lasting results, it is time for intervention services to take a new approach. Knowledge of how rehabilitation centers can aid in the prevention of chronic relapse may be the key in your patient’s full, lasting recovery.
The most thorough attempt to track whether addicted individuals remain sober is an eight-year
study of nearly 1200 addicts in the US. The study followed up with over 94% of the study participants, and the results found that extended abstinence predicts long term recovery. Some takeaways from this research include:
- One third of people who are abstinent less than a year will remain abstinent.
- Half of people who are abstinent for a full year will remain abstinent.
- Eighty-five percent of people who are abstinent for five years will remain abstinent.
It is evident that long-term abstinence is crucial to addiction recovery. Reaching that five year abstinence mark, however, is incredibly difficult for relapsing patients. The chronic relapse cycle is sadly familiar to all interventionists: patients get caught in what is called revolving door syndrome. They develop a pattern: check into a rehab, cycle through detox briefly, leave rehab as quickly as possible, relapse. Patients can experience this cycle repeatedly for years and conclude that rehab does not work for them and recovery is impossible.
According to Intervention Services, there are many reasons why patients chronically relapse. Interventionists can work to anticipate potential relapse from the very beginning by following these guidelines:
- Encourage the individual to visit a mental health professional to determine if an underlying psychological disorder is disrupting the road to recovery.
- Prompt the patient and family to prepare for the transition back to home.
- Connect the chronic relapse patient to ongoing participation in recovery support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
- Recommend long-term rehabilitation centers.