Relapse Prevention

Why It Is Important to Create a Relapse Prevention Plan

While achieving sobriety after addiction is a great feat, it’s important to put in the work to remain sober and not relapse. To prevent relapse, one should create a relapse prevention plan.

A relapse prevention plan is a literal written-out plan with detailed steps on how to manage addiction triggers and maintain sobriety. Relapse prevention plans are vital because of how easy it is to fall back into old addictive habits. So, if individuals in addiction recovery aren’t proactively planning ahead for how they’re going to avoid relapse, resorting to substance abuse is imminent.

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Stages of Relapse

There are three stages of relapse. These three stages include emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse.

Emotional Relapse

Emotional relapse is the first relapse stage. During this stage of relapse, people start behaving in ways that will make them more likely to relapse. For example, people in this stage of relapse may start to romanticize past experiences in which they used substances. They may also start to do things like mischaracterize their past substance use habits or even socialize with other substance users again.

Mental Relapse

Mental relapse is the second stage of relapse. During this stage of relapse, people will actively think about using substances again. They may even start to make preparations to use substances again.

Physical Relapse

Physical relapse is the third and final stage of relapse. In this stage of relapse, people are actually using substances again. Thus, people in this stage of relapse need to attend rehab again.

Signs of Relapse

There are many signs of relapse. Some of the top warning signs of relapse include:

1. Poor Physical Appearance

When people suffer from addiction, they often start to no longer take care of themselves. This is because they start to only care about getting more substances. As a result, you’ll often notice changes in people’s appearance when they relapse from addiction.

2. Irritability

People that suffer from addiction often exhibit anger and irritability issues. Thus, if a former drug addict is suddenly more irritable, he or she may have relapsed.

3. Mood Swings

Not only do individuals who suffer from addiction often exhibit anger issues, but they also often exhibit mood swings. As a result, individuals that suffer from addiction will often go back and forth between having sudden bouts of energy and happiness to suddenly being angry and irritable.

4. Not Keeping Up With Work or School Responsibilities

One clear warning sign that a person may be suffering from an alcohol or drug problem is if he or she is starting to not keep up with his or her responsibilities at work or school. This is especially a sign of addiction or relapse if that person is normally very responsible.

5. Denial or Defensiveness

When individuals relapse from addiction they’ll often get defensive if you ask them about their addiction recovery journeys or about substance use at all. Thus, if someone that is supposed to be in addiction recovery starts to get defensive and irritable whenever you mention anything about substance use or addiction recovery, it may be because they’ve relapsed.

Individuals who relapse from substance addiction are also often in denial about their condition. As a result, even if they are open to discussing their addiction recovery journeys, they may just deny that they have a problem. That’s why it’s important to be aware of all of the warning signs of relapse. That way you can decipher whether or not a person is using substances again or not.

If you for sure know that a loved one has definitely relapsed and he or she is still in denial about it, you may have to stage an intervention. When staging an intervention for substance addiction, just make sure to enlist the help of an intervention specialist.

6. Changes in Sleeping and Eating Habits

One early sign of relapse is a change in sleeping and eating habits. This is partly due to the fact that individuals that suffer from addiction start to stay up late using substances. Using substances can also affect a person’s appetite. Therefore, a person who is supposed to be in addiction recovery suddenly exhibiting these signs along with a few of the other common signs of addiction is likely experiencing a relapse.

7. Depression, Anxiety, or Other Forms of Mental Illness

Mental illness and addiction are often connected with one another. This is partly due to the fact that mental illness is often the catalyst to addiction. Thus, many people initially start abusing substances to cope with mental illnesses such as depression.

On the other hand, addiction can also act as a catalyst for mental illness. This is because the chemical changes that chronic substance use causes to the brain can cause a person to experience symptoms of many mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Therefore, a common warning sign of relapse from addiction is depression or feelings of guilt and/or hopelessness.

8. Romanticizing Past Substance Use

When people who are in recovery begin to romanticize their past alcohol or drug use, this is either a sign that they are relapsing or are in the initial stages of relapsing. Thus, it’s imperative that such individuals attend support groups and addiction therapy sessions to help them get back on track.

9. Spending Time With Other Substance Users

Part of the process of recovering from addiction is no longer socializing with other substance users. If a former substance user is starting to socialize again with other substance users, that is a clear warning sign of relapse.

10. Lying and Stealing

People who suffer from addiction will often do anything to get more substances. This includes lying and stealing. So, if former substance users start to steal money from those close to them or lie about their whereabouts, this is a clear sign of relapse.

Achieve and Maintain Sobriety At Grace Land Recovery

At Grace Land Recovery, we understand that part of the addiction recovery journey is relapse prevention. That’s why we offer aftercare services to those who complete addiction treatment at our facility!

Grace Land Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center that’s located in the Memphis, Tennessee area. Here at Grace Land Recovery, we aim to get to the root of our patients’ addictions.

In an effort to achieve this goal, we offer a wide variety of unique addiction therapies and treatment modalities. Some of these include cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, experiential therapy, and rational emotive therapy. We even offer services such as case management, medication management, nutrition groups, and emotion regulation groups.

To learn more about Grace Land Recovery and the various services that we offer that can ultimately help you avoid relapse, contact us today! We would love to help you achieve and maintain freedom from addiction.

Steps to Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse prevention plans are detailed and specific; there are often many steps to creating a relapse prevention plan. Some key steps to creating a relapse prevention plan include:

Step 1: Self-Assess and Reflect

The first part of any relapse prevention plan is assessing and reflecting on why you started using substances in the first place. Making sure that you thoroughly understand why you use substances and what your usage habits are will help you come up with a relapse prevention plan that is effective.

Step 2: Identify Your Triggers and Come Up With Action Plans

Identifying your addiction triggers is a vital part of any relapse prevention plan. This is because a person’s addiction triggers are what causes them to think, feel, and behave in ways that lead to substance abuse. Therefore, once you recognize your addiction triggers, you must come up with specific action plans for how to avoid these triggers.

For example, if an addiction trigger is your holiday work party where you always used to drink, either don’t go to the holiday party this year or bring a friend with you to the holiday party who can be an accountability partner for you and help you stay on track.

Individuals in addiction recovery should also take this time to come up with positive coping mechanisms that work for them to help them avoid using substances. Some examples of positive coping mechanisms include exercising, deep breathing exercises, and listening to music.

Step 3: Plan for the Worst

During this step in a person’s relapse prevention plan, people in addiction recovery must come up with a plan for what they will do to ensure that they get back on track if they were to relapse. One thing that all individuals should do in this step of creating a relapse prevention plan is come up with a list of people that they can talk to if they start to feel themselves falling back into old addictive habits. Also, at this time, come up with a detailed plan with your support group members about how they will get you to go back to rehab if you were to relapse.

Step 4: Set Healthy Lifestyle Goals

Healthy lifestyle goals are great to include in relapse prevention plans. Try to break down your goals into daily, weekly, and monthly goals. One example of a healthy lifestyle goal that you can include in a relapse prevention plan is practicing yoga every day.

Another example of a healthy lifestyle goal for relapse prevention is exercising for one hour at least three days a week. You can even plan to lose a certain amount of weight during the year. As long as your goals make you healthier and keep you away from substance use, they can be in your relapse prevention plan.

Step 5: Reward Yourself

The most effective way to curb behavior is positive reinforcement. Therefore rewarding yourself for taking steps forward in your recovery journey is a great action plan for relapse prevention. One way to reward yourself during your addiction recovery journey is to treat yourself to a nice meal once you’ve accomplished one of the goals that you’ve set in your relapse prevention plan.

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Our mission is to help individuals achieve sobriety by getting to the root of their addiction issues. We also aim to treat the minds, bodies, and souls of our patients.

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