26 Feb Relapse Prevention Tools
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of people who struggle with substance abuse will experience a relapse. Though these numbers may sound alarmingly high, they are comparable to the relapse rates of other chronic diseases. For example, approximately 30 to 50 percent of people with Type I diabetes experience a recurrence of their symptoms, even after they have successfully gotten on a treatment plan.
People who struggle with addictive behavior should know that while there is no cure for their disease, they can manage it successfully by learning the right strategies for being in recovery. One of the most important things you can do to preserve your long-term sobriety is to learn healthy relapse prevention tools and coping mechanisms.
What Is Addiction Relapse?
Many people think of relapse as one isolated event. However, relapse is a process that happens in three stages: emotional, mental and physical. One overarching goal of relapse prevention is to provide recovering addicts with techniques to manage all three phases. The first step in avoiding addiction relapse is to recognize the signs and apply the right strategies at each stage.
When stress triggers an emotional response, there are a few warning signs:
- Feelings of isolation
- Ignoring the need for self-care
- Repressing emotions
- Not having enough energy to complete regular daily tasks
There are a variety of mental relapse triggers. Here are some common signs to watch for:
- Lying to others to hide your drug use
- Justifying your “need” to use drugs
- Thinking back fondly on the time when you were using
- Pretending there are no negative consequences of drug use
Some of the most obvious warning signs of relapse are physical. Recognizing these signs as early as possible is essential to preventing the impending relapse:
- Seeking addictive substances
- Contacting drug dealers
- Telling yourself you will use the drug “just once”
Developing Your Relapse Prevention Plan
Creating and following a relapse prevention plan is the best way to avoid relapse triggers and apply healthy coping mechanisms if you find yourself in a high-risk scenario.
A study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine outlines five key rules for putting a relapse prevention plan into action:
- View your recovery as an opportunity to change. Part of committing to recovery means reevaluating your life and learning how to make responsible decisions. You will need to shift your negative thinking patterns to healthy ones.
- Adopt a policy of complete honesty. Long-term drug abusers go to great lengths to hide the extent of their behavior, which includes lying to themselves and others. Deciding to be fully honest is one of the best ways to fend off an emotional relapse.
- Ask for help when you need it. Some recovering addicts mistakenly view asking for help as a sign of weakness. The recovery journey is extremely challenging, and it’s not something you should do without support.
- Practice self-care. Stress and trauma are two reasons many addicts begin using their substance of choice. By learning how to care for yourself, you can give yourself an outlet to turn negativity into positivity. Self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming – there are many small things you can do to take time for yourself.
- Make rules and stick to them. A relapse represents a breakdown of your recovery goals. Be strict with yourself and don’t allow any leeway in the rules you’ve set.
Get Help Today
Recognizing the warning signs of imminent relapse and developing relapse prevention tools can help you protect your hard-earned sobriety for many years to come. To discover your new, addiction-free life, contact us today to learn more about starting your recovery process. We offer full-spectrum addiction rehab services in Palm Springs, CA.