Relapse prevention is a set of strategies and techniques designed to help individuals who have struggled with addiction or other behavioral health issues avoid a relapse and maintain their recovery over the long term.
Relapse prevention typically involves identifying and addressing the triggers or situations that may lead to relapse, such as stress, negative emotions, or social situations. It also includes developing coping skills, building a support network, and learning how to recognize and manage cravings or urges to use drugs or engage in other addictive behaviors.
What are the Signs of a Relapse?
The signs of a relapse can vary depending on the individual and the specific addiction or mental health issue. However, some common signs of relapse include:
- Cravings: Feeling an intense desire or urge to use drugs, alcohol, or engage in other addictive behaviors.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Feeling physically or emotionally unwell when not using drugs, alcohol or engaging in the addictive behavior.
- Denial: Refusing to acknowledge or admit that a relapse is happening or downplaying the severity of the situation.
- Isolation: Withdrawing from friends, family, and support systems.
- Mood swings: Experiencing extreme mood swings, including depression, anxiety, irritability, or anger.
- Increased stress: Feeling overwhelmed or stressed and having difficulty coping.
- Return to old habits: Returning to old patterns of behavior, such as hanging out with old using friends or engaging in other risky behaviors.
- Neglecting responsibilities: Neglecting work, school, family, or other responsibilities.
- Dishonesty: Lying about substance use or other behaviors.
It’s important to seek help and support if you or a loved one is experiencing any of these signs. Early intervention can help prevent a full relapse and promote long-term recovery.
Sober Living versus Rehabilitation
If you’ve been in recovery for some time and you’ve noticed that your alcohol use is higher in the weekends and holidays than during the week, you might want to think about joining a sober living facility. A sober living facility is a residential treatment facility where alcoholics stay sober most of the time. Many residential treatment programs also offer a sober living option. The residents of these facilities have been sober for years, and they know how to avoid getting into problem behavior while remaining housed and safe.
How to Improve Your Relapse Prevention Game
Your alcohol recovery journey is unique and special, and it’s important to take care of yourself in a holistic fashion. It’s also important to make sure that your treatment team—doctors, nurses, social workers, etc.—is aware of your unique situation. By working with the people who know you best, you can improve your chances of a successful outcome. Here are a few ways you can make your recovery journey easier:
- Stick to a healthy diet. Eating healthy can help you stay in control of your eating while also preventing you from having an eating disorder.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is needed for many body functions, including healing from trauma and creating new neurons. Getting enough sleep is crucial to any successful recovery attempt.
- Limit alcohol to weekends and holidays. Remember, weekends and holidays are often busy for recovery centers, so try to keep your drinking to a moderate level during the week.
- Practice self-compassion. By recognizing that you’re not the perfect person and that you make mistakes, you can try to avoid feeling shame or guilt when you binge. By doing this, you can stop feeling shame or guilt when you’re not drinking.
Studies suggest that one in three people will drink in their lifetime. Fortunately, drinking is a preventable behavior, and it’s important to address the reasons why people start drinking in the first place. If you or someone you know is an alcohol addict, you may be feeling a sense of frustration and worry. The good news is that treatment works, and successful outcomes are possible even if you don’t follow the rules. With a little effort, you can make a lasting impact on your life—and the life of your loved ones. By implementing realistic relapse prevention measures, you can keep your residents from returning to substance abuse altogether.
Treatment is the first step towards a better life and a happier future. If you or someone you love needs help with substance abuse or addiction, please call us at 954-523-1167.