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Treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) helps clients find healthy ways to reframe their experiences. Psychoeducation is an excellent tool for reducing the risk of relapse by ensuring clients and their families understand the realities of substance abuse and recovery. According to a publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), “Psychoeducational groups provide information designed to have a direct application to clients’ lives—to instill self-awareness, suggest options for growth and change, identify community resources that can assist clients in recovery, develop an understanding of the process of recovery, and prompt people using substances to take action on their own behalf.” West Coast Recovery Centers uses psychoeducation during treatment to help clients grow and heal. 

What Is Psychoeducation?

Psychoeducation is a therapeutic tool that teaches people in recovery about their diagnosed condition, how it may affect their health, and possible treatment options. West Coast Recovery Centers educates clients about mental health symptoms and substance abuse recovery. Clients are provided information on managing their symptoms and maintaining healthy routines. 

Psychoeducation provides clients and their families with the following: 

  • Details about potential symptoms and side effects of their condition 
  • An explanation for the possible causes of their disorder 
  • Information on treatments and individualized care 
  • Likely progression of the disorder and prognosis 

Psychoeducation ensures clients and their loved ones understand the possible risk factors for relapse. People react more appropriately to challenges in recovery when they fully understand their condition. Relapse prevention education is highly effective. According to the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), “[P]ersons who successfully completed [relapse prevention training] sessions had lower rates of drug use after.” Psychoeducation complements relapse prevention education and skill development. The more information the care team provides to clients and their families, the better prepared they are to avoid preventable issues during early recovery. 

How Do Treatment Programs Integrate Psychoeducation?

Psychoeducation is used to enhance multiple aspects of treatment. Case managers, clinicians, and support staff may provide essential education and information about a client’s diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment. 

Psychoeducation may be provided during the following: 

  • Individual and group therapy 
  • Family therapy 
  • Intake interviews 

Psychoeducation is especially important in cases where clients have dual diagnoses and multiple active or underlying issues. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Psychoeducation, especially about the relationship between trauma, mental health, and addiction,” provides essential support to clients with dual diagnoses. In addition, “Psychoeducation is also needed to help normalize symptoms and reassure clients that their experiences are not unusual, ‘wrong,’ or ‘bad.'”

3 Ways Psychoeducation During Treatment Protects Clients From Relapse

Relapse is a dangerous symptom of SUD. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “Research indicates that approximately 60% of individuals with substance dependence eventually enter sustained recovery; however, for many of them, it takes more than one cycle of lapse[, ] relapse[, ] treatment reentry before achieving sustained recovery.” West Coast Recovery Centers provides clients and their families with essential information using psychoeducation to reduce the risk of relapse. People in recovery benefit from having a clearer understanding of their condition. Below are three ways psychoeducation helps clients avoid relapse:

#1. Psychoeducation During Treatment Ensures Clients Make Educated Decisions

Psychoeducation aims to ensure clients are aware of their diagnosis and what it means. Clinicians use everyday terms to describe complex and severe disorders to ensure clients have the context to make educated decisions about their health and recovery. 

The ability to make educated decisions allows clients and families to do the following: 

  • Ensure treatments are necessary and appropriate  
  • Communicate more effectively with case managers and the care team 
  • Advocate for their needs and preferences

According to BMC Health Services and Research, “Psychoeducation as an evidence-based intervention aims to inform people about interventions and a self-management approach to the care and treatment of their or their family member’s mental health problem, with a view to enhancing communication, problem-solving and coping skills.” Clients gain confidence in themselves and their care team when they have enough accurate information to make informed decisions. 

#2. Psychoeducation Provides Context for Relapse

People in recovery often have a lot to learn in a short amount of time. Over several months, clients are gradually shown how to build healthy coping skills and routines, rely on a care team, and advocate for themselves. Psychoeducation helps provide clients and their families with context for their diagnosis and symptoms.

Some of the most common risk factors for emotional and physical relapse during early recovery include: 

  • Acute or chronic stress
  • Boredom 
  • Unmanaged mental health symptoms

 Understanding the possible triggers for relapse helps individuals and families avoid or manage them. 

#3. Psychoeducation During Treatment Helps Clients Connect Behaviors With Consequences

Individuals who misuse substances may have difficulty connecting behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs with the consequences of their actions. Psychoeducation reveals the connections between a person’s diagnosis and how it may affect their moods and behaviors. Treatment programs at West Coast Recovery Centers help clients build healthier routines and establish positive behaviors. 

Relapse is a symptom of substance use disorder. Over half of all individuals going through recovery experience at least one relapse. Psychoeducation reduces the risk of relapse by providing clients and their loved ones with essential information about their condition. Clients are more likely to rely on healthy coping skills and their support system if they understand the cause of various symptoms and side effects. Psychoeducation also gives family members critical insights into their loved one’s thoughts and behaviors. West Coast Recovery Centers uses psychoeducation to help clients grow and heal. To learn more about our programs and how we support families in recovery, call our office today at (760) 492-6509.