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Relapse Treatment

When relapse occurs, we explore lifestyle patterns and relapse triggers to develop effective relapse prevention strategies.

Targeting Relapse Issues at the Source

Because chemical dependency is a chronic disease, the potential for relapse exists. A pioneer in relapse treatment, Caron offers specialized residential relapse treatment--not just a relapse “track”, but an actual program. By exploring and addressing relapse patterns and triggers, we help patients develop strategies to disrupt and eliminate these patterns.

Relapse treatment is by nature more intense than primary care: it must go deeper, seek out and heal issues and problems that have remained with an individual during their recovery.

What Happens with Relapse

Individuals in recovery still suffer from the disease of addiction, and sometimes return to their substance abuse. Some of the behavioral patterns we see with individuals who relapse include:

  • the person stops engaging in their recovery program
  • the person stops doing things that are integral in staying sober
  • loss of control or emotion
  • decrease in recovery-warranted activities, but also an increase in other daily activities (i.e. working more); there’s a replacement or diverting behavior

Defensiveness, denial, or delusions are common reactions to relapse. Some of the emotional results of relapse include:

  • Shame: “I’m a defective person” or “How could I have done this again? Why couldn’t I have done the right thing?”
  • Guilt: “I’ve done something wrong”
  • Anger, restlessness, irritability, or discontent
  • Fear: “It’s getting worse and I can’t solve it” or “I’ll be able to control it this time"
  • Sadness and grief: grieving the loss of recovery, grieving the recovery time, loss of identity with being a “recovering addict”
  • Pain: “Thinking and talking about my problems hurts”
  • Loneliness: “No one can understand, no one can help me”
  • Powerlessness: a sense of inevitability
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Our Program Is Holistic and Evidence-Based

Relapse treatment should not be confused with relapse prevention work, which is a common component of many primary treatment facilities. Caron Pennsylvania’s Relapse Program structure incorporates the latest research findings into our innovative evidence-based practices from medicine and psychology with historically proven methods like, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), 12-Step integration, motivational interviewing and positive peer culture. The program de-emphasizes lecture-focused learning and provides a whole person assessment, a customized treatment plan, and unified support with the assistance of family and referents.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

At Caron, we aim to understand an individual’s relapse cycle. We identify and address the problems that cause relapse. Our program offers specialized groups that focus on primary causes of relapse, such as:

  • family of origin issues, including generational addiction
  • barriers to utilizing 12-Step recovery
  • beliefs about the nature of addiction
  • severe post-acute withdrawal
  • co-occurring mental health issues
  • other compulsive behaviors or process addictions
  • chronic pain management

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Multidisciplinary Treatment Team and Individual Care

Each relapse patient at Caron is assigned a multidisciplinary treatment team, made up of experienced, dedicated behavioral health professionals who have experience with those who have relapsed. The team is comprised of professionals from various disciplines such as:

  • psychology
  • addiction counseling
  • medicine
  • nutrition
  • health and wellness
  • spirituality

The team works extensively with the patient and their family and performs several different evaluations, then designs an individual and integrated treatment plan based on themes and patterns of each person’s addiction, building from what has and hasn’t worked in the past. They collaborate daily to ensure that every patient is progressing as they should in relapse treatment.

Treating patients who have relapsed is complicated, but our behavioral health experts have a great deal of experience. Sometimes, relapsed patients are more ambivalent than emotional; sometimes they approach relapse treatment superficially, hiding deeper issues that may be the root cause of relapse. Because patients have been through treatment before, they know how they’re “supposed” to respond to treatment; they know all the right lines and what to say. Our staff is familiar with these patterns; we know that it’s critical to get beyond patients’ “lip service” to treatment and get down to their real emotions and thoughts.

Critical Elements of Relapse Treatment

With a focus on breaking down each person’s relapse cycle, the integrated behavioral health treatment team will:

  • continually evaluate patient’s 12-Step efforts
  • focus on spiritual connection and practice; work on the concept of emotional sobriety in conjunction with spirituality
  • build a sense of personal accountability
  • address co-occurring disorders, especially looking at anxiety and depression
  • teach coping skills to manage issues like chronic pain
  • be on the lookout for and address qualifiers that those who have relapsed usually say: “but I can’t,” “but that won’t work because,” etc.
  • identify and address areas of resistance to treatment
  • identify triggers to substance use and to relapse and teach specific coping skills to counter them
  • talk about risk-taking behaviors in terms of relapse, showing how just missing a couple of meetings or allowing a communication breakdown with family or with a sponsor is taking a risk
  • educate about and train patients to move past their denial systems

Family Involvement

Like the patients themselves, families have been through this before, and may be feeling fear, frustration, anger, or even apathy. Education on the relapse process is paramount for families. We look at elements that continue to be unhealthy in the patient’s relationships and work directly on the person’s relapse process. Family members usually already know about key issues, such as codependence and enablement, so we’re able to go right to the center of these issues and work to improve them. Learn more about Relapse Family Education.

Continuing Care

At Caron, our goal is for each patient and their family to achieve a lifetime of recovery. Throughout treatment, a patient’s integrated treatment team will work together and continually assess and evaluate patients to carefully craft a thorough, effective continuing care plan. Evidence-based research shows that long-term recovery is best accomplished with structured support following treatment, which encourages accountability, building self-esteem and involving the family.

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Length of Stay

People stay engaged in Relapse Treatment at Caron for varying lengths of stay. It’s important to be flexible on the length of stay you or your loved one may need, with the understanding that our goal is to provide adequate treatment in order to help each person – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – achieve a life of recovery.

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Meet Our Staff

Eric Webber
Eric Webber
Clinical Director - Men's Relapse and Men's Phase II Programs
Thomas Deitzler
Thomas Deitzler
Senior Clinical Advisor to EVP of Treatment
Ryan Hanson
Ryan Hanson
Director of Family Services