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October 26, 2007

How do I keep my child from relapsing?

Most parents who find their son or daughter in treatment for substance abuse will often ask early on how they can prevent their loved one from relapsing after a period of sobriety.  The short answer is that there is really nothing you can do that will prevent a relapse from occurring short of imprisoning your child and keeping them under surveillance 24/7.

When our son David was nearing the end of his Intensive Out-Patient program we were beset with anxiety and so consumed with fear of him relapsing that we spent all our time trying to prevent it rather than planning on what we would do when it happened.  Relapse or recurrent is what defines the chronic disease of addiction.  Wikapedia defines a chronic disease as a "disease that is long-lasting or recurrent. The term chronic describes the course of the disease, or its rate of onset and development. A chronic course is distinguished from a recurrent course; recurrent diseases relapse repeatedly, with periods of remission in between."

So rather than asking how do I keep my child from relapsing the question should be re-framed to "What will I do WHEN my child relapses."  Seeking advice and help from addiction treatment professionals and counselors is vital.  They can help you evaluate your options and suggest possible treatment alternatives.  If you have a contract with your young person enforcing the contract consequences is important.  Remember that if your child had diabetes and suddenly suffered a diabetic episode from not taking their insulin you would seek medical care and get them back on their medication regimen.  It is the same with addiction relapse...seek profession care and get them back on their medication which is treatment and 12 step regimen.  Instead of worry be prepared.  Hope for the best but plan for the worst. 

October 26, 2007 at 11:21 AM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack