How Can Relapse Prevention Help Me Recognize Cravings Associated With AUD?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be very difficult to overcome, especially without professional treatment. If an individual has been drinking for a long time, they may have developed a high tolerance to alcohol. Persistent use of alcohol can increase one’s dependency, which eventually leads to addiction. Then, when an individual chooses to stop consuming alcoholic beverages, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Cravings may begin to surface. When this happens, reaching out to a facility that treats AUD may be a wise decision. 12 South Recovery offers services to clients such as relapse prevention therapy. This type of therapy may be an effective treatment option for those who are facing health challenges associated with AUD.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), AUD is a chronic disease. When an individual has problems controlling or stopping the use of alcohol despite the adverse effects, this is called AUD. For example, if an individual has difficulty functioning in their workplace, interacting with others, or is facing consequences with their health it is best to avoid alcohol altogether. AUD is clinically known as a brain disorder.

This medical condition can range from mild to severe. The severity may depend upon the brain changes that have occurred. Prolonged use of alcohol over time can lead to permanent changes in the brain, essentially making one vulnerable to relapse. On a more positive note, the severity of one’s condition does not impact an individual’s ability to respond to treatment. Treatments may consist of behavioral therapies, support groups, prescription medications, and more. These treatment options may increase one’s ability to achieve sobriety and maintain recovery as a whole.

According to NIAAA, based on a national survey in 2019, approximately 14.1 million adults aged 18 and older were facing challenges with AUD. In this same time frame, 414,000 adolescents aged 12-17 also had AUD.

The Health Effects of Drinking Too Much Alcohol

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking too much alcohol can be harmful to an individual’s mental and physical health. Excessive drinking led to approximately 140,000 deaths or more in the United States between the years 2015 and 2019. When females drink four or more drinks on a single occasion or a male drinks five or more, this is considered to be binge drinking. If a woman drinks five or more alcoholic beverages per week, this can be defined as heavy drinking. Men who drink 15 or more drinks per week may be at an increased risk for health issues due to heavy drinking.

Short-term health risks associated with excessive drinking may consist of certain injuries, falls, violence, miscarriages, and more. Prolonged excessive alcohol use can lead to serious problems such as chronic diseases. Discontinuing alcohol and living a sober lifestyle can eliminate these health risks altogether.

Long-term risks of drinking alcohol may include:

  • Problems with high blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Stroke
  • Weakened immune system
  • Memory problems
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Relationship problems
  • Alcohol dependence and/or addiction

What to Expect During Relapse Prevention Therapy

According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, relapse prevention (RP) is a cognitive-behavioral approach that uses strategies to help reduce the severity and likelihood of a potential relapse. RP can also work to treat co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

This type of therapy can help individuals who are facing challenges with AUD learn interventional strategies to reduce problematic behaviors. The main goal of RP is to identify and address potential risks associated with relapse. When an individual is lonely, angry, bored, or experiencing fatigue, they may be tempted to turn back to alcohol. Practitioners administer RP with the goal to:

  • Formulate a plan to prevent relapse and help maintain abstinence.
  • Provide management when relapse occurs.

One of the most important elements of RP is the impression of the abstinence violation effect (AVE). This refers to the way an individual responds to a relapse. Some individuals tend to blame themselves for their loss of control. Guilt and negative emotions may persist and lead to excessive drinking. This drinking may happen in an attempt to numb and escape the feelings associated with relapse. RP can help mediate those thoughts and feelings, decreasing the likelihood of continued relapse.

12 South Recovery Offers Relapse Prevention Therapy

12 South Recovery is made up of a team that works hard to assist individuals facing problems with AUD in several ways. One is that specialists work to help individuals identify their triggers to successfully overcome AUD. Secondly, professionals at 12 South Recovery teach the coping skills needed to effectively cope with certain cravings. Their team works closely with their clients to develop positive foresight and practice new strategies when faced with triggers or cravings associated with alcohol use.

By doing this, clients gain the confidence needed to abstain from using alcohol and change negative behaviors. Increased confidence can help one build the strength needed to move forward to create a better quality of life.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be extremely difficult to manage alone without professional help. Some individuals with AUD have problems recognizing cravings. Participating in relapse prevention therapy can help people learn strategies to potentially prevent relapse. 12 South Recovery is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, which is the oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. Our staff uses proven therapies and an evidence-based approach to help individuals overcome alcohol addiction and focus on mental health treatment. People can learn new strategies in relapse prevention therapy and gain the ability to move forward with confidence. If you are facing challenges with AUD, we can help. Call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to learn more.

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