How to Prevent Relapse
Recovering from a mental illness or substance abuse is a formidable feat. But the process is not a straight line. In fact, you will have good and bad days throughout the process. Regardless of the type of day you have though, you must continue to live in recovery daily. Unfortunately, you will encounter temptations to relapse into your former condition. But, if you prepare yourself for these occasions and know what to do, you can make it through difficult times. Try out these four relapse prevention techniques to see which work best for you.
1. Understand the Stages of Relapse
Relapse happens in stages that can last for weeks or months before falling back into your old condition. During the stages, you may relapse to varying degrees on the following levels:
First, emotional relapse can happen when your feelings could lead you back to your state before recovery. Though you may not want to return, without good coping skills and a strong support system, you could start down that path on an emotional level.
Next, mental relapse happens when your thinking starts to break down. You may have cravings more often or think about relapsing, even if part of you doesn’t want to.
Lastly, physical relapse is a full return to the behaviors that you sought recovery from in the first place. This step involves actively doing the actions that you wanted to stop.
2. Engage in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a powerful tool used in many recovery programs. In fact, if you didn’t go through a formal program that included CBT, you may want to find a program nearby as one of your relapse prevention options.
This therapy program teaches you to change any negative thinking patterns that you have and how those affect your coping. For instance, stressful times can lead to poor coping methods that can result in a relapse. However, CBT helps you to change negative thoughts that might lead to bad coping decisions. The result is a different perspective on situations that might cause you to return to the condition that you recovered from.
3. Remember Why You Recovered
Among relapse prevention techniques, you should not forget to have constant reminders of why you spent time seeking recovery in the first place. For instance, consider the following:
- Do you enjoy spending more time with friends in recovery?
- Did recovery bring you any life successes?
- Did you get a new job or move into a new place?
- Do you have a family that you want to protect and care for?
Make notes of these things with pictures on your phone or an affirmation on your mirror to help you keep the focus on your new, recovered life.
4. Find Supportive People
Having a support system is important. You should have someone that you can call to help remind you of relapse prevention methods that you want to use. For example, do you have a trusted friend or therapist you can message if you feel tempted to relapse? You are not alone in your recovery. But, sometimes you can forget this fact. Having people to connect with when you need them can ease feelings of isolation.
Strengthen Relapse Prevention Techniques
If you have a mental health disorder that makes staying in recovery more difficult, get professional help. Untreated mental illnesses can lead to substance use disorder and mood disorders. Whether you need depression treatment programs, help with PTSD, or a professional schizophrenia treatment option, you can reach out for these issues as a means of keeping you from relapsing.
Strengthening relapse prevention techniques with continued therapies and treatments can help you stay sober. However, you need to have people in your life to remind you to use them.
If you have a mental health issue that you feel might need professional help, contact Promises Five Palms by calling 1.844.675.1022. Don’t let the fear of relapse cloud your new life. Reach out to us for the help that you need to stay happy and healthy and get support where needed.