Prescription Drug Rehabilitation and how to prevent Relapse

When do people relapse?

Statistics show that if you are going to Relapse then it will normally happen in the first 6 months.  If you get past 6 months then the next dangerous time is during the two weeks after getting to a year. This is because people often think “well that wasn’t too bad I’m sure I will be all right now”.  If we get past this second period we will remain in Recovery up to 5 years and if we get past 5 years we will make 10 years.  This statistic is true for prescription drug addiction, alcohol dependency, gambling addiction and drug addiction.

Preventing relapse

However, the key to preventing relapse and achieving this positive change in our behaviour and thinking is by following what we have learnt during our 28 day residential rehab programme at clinics like The Haynes Clinic. We need to continue to follow what we have been advised to do on a daily basis, following on from leaving treatment. 

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Help in residential rehab treatment

The first Step of a 12 Step programme clearly says “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”  We simply change the word alcohol to Prescription Drugs. Prescription drug withdrawal can be a problem if we have a dependence on a drug created by a long-term prescription from our GP or by us using multiple medical suppliers e.g. pharmacies, or it could be that a prescription has stopped and we are struggling with withdrawal from the drug and are getting access to medication from the internet and simply our body has become tolerant to the drug.

Seeking help via private addiction treatment allows us immediate access to starting to reverse our situation and also to address the dangers of the problem of withdrawal. There is the huge advantage of being in a place of safety and being cared for by an experienced clinical team, rather than trying and struggling at home. It is near impossible to achieve a daily reduction in medication at home – this usually ends in failure and makes us feel even more depressed  .

Generally, an admission can be arranged within 24 hours following on from an initial enquiry. At The Haynes Clinic you will also come under the care of our own doctor.  In general, as you come under the care of the clinic’s doctor, unless you give permission then there is no need to share your medical notes from residential treatment with your own GP. So if your GP does not know about your alcohol issues, for example, there is no need to inform them.  However, in the case of prescription drugs it is important to share medical information as it will go on your notes to either  not prescribe any addictive medication or, if there is a need to prescribe it , then for very short term use only or to prescribe a similar medication with no addictive properties.  This would be a further aid to prevent a relapse and the knowledge that your GP is fully aware of dangers to yourself that some prescribed medications could pose can be a great support.

Addiction therapy

Addiction therapy is an important part of treatment and consists of a daily structured group programme.  During these sessions you will also gain an understanding of the 12 Steps of Recovery and be able to share openly and honestly issues and aspects of your life that you now start to feel comfortable to share with others.  Generally, we have not shared our feelings before, normally keeping them to ourselves. We start to become comfortable sharing our feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, anger, and remorse. This helps in being able to break down the extent of the denial of our problem and for once to stop blaming others for the situation we find ourselves in. We will also be attending support groups. It is important that we start attending with others in our group as it will give us confidence and the work that we have done in the addiction  therapy sessions will help our understanding of the process and workings of a support group.

Aftercare support

Having completed a 28 day residential rehab programme you will be able to access continued Aftercare at Haynes.  This takes place online on a Wednesday and  face to face on a Friday and there is no extra charge for this continued support.  People often say that it is such a help and also the trust that they have established with all the staff enables them to view the clinic as a place of safety and they are able to share any problems that may arise after they have returned home.  Coming into treatment is the start of stepping on to a bridge to normal living.  Continuing to attend Aftercare helps keep us from relapsing. As we get people coming from all around the country, then some people will make the effort to attend maybe once a month, but by making the step and effort to attend is an important commitment. We will provide accommodation free of charge if that is helpful and practical at the time.  Also, if people are struggling, then a call to the clinic to speak to a member of staff would be appropriate and we are always there to help and this is potentially another way to avoid a Relapse.

Recovery is an ongoing process

It is important to remember that residential rehab treatment is just the beginning, it is not a magic wand.  The danger of moving towards Relapse can start when we begin to stop attending meetings.  It is a bit like someone who is depressed, and they are prescribed anti-depressants.  When they feel better, they decide to stop taking their medication and get depressed again.  We stop making phone calls to ask for direction and help.  We start to feel better and think we can manage with our own thinking again.  It is staggering how quickly our old thinking and behaviour returns and we head for a Relapse .

A 12 Step programme of Recovery is a simple, straightforward programme but we tend to overcomplicate it. There is a very good expression “it works if you work it.” Like everything in life the more we put in the more we get out.

I have never heard anyone say “ that was an amazing Relapse”. It never is and it is only a matter of days that following a Relapse we return back to where we were but generally finding another layer down. Remember that after leaving treatment we again have a choice and it needs to be our choice to not take the Relapse option.