How to Prevent Relapse

Relapse is a major worry for individuals undergoing recovery. A relapse occurs when an individual in recovery resumes their habit of drinking alcohol or abusing drugs. This condition can be hazardous since people who experience a relapse are likely to encounter an overdose. Therefore, a person should prevent relapse before it occurs. The following are tips for preventing relapse.

Remain Proactive About Your Recovery

A person should stay proactive during the recovery process. Since drug addiction is a chronic problem, it needs long-term treatment. When a person stays sober for a long time, they start feeling better, and in some instances, they may assume that they do not require anything to uphold their sobriety. This can be dangerous since it may result in a relapse.

Therefore, you should remain proactive in your usual recovery program. You can do this by communicating with people on your sober support network and attending Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous meetings. Having this extra support reduces the likelihood of resuming the habit of drinking alcohol or abusing drugs.

Know Your Relapse Triggers

Relapse triggers are unique to each person. Typically, they are things, places, or individuals that remind a person about their past alcohol or drug use. These triggers induce craving for a particular drug or alcohol. Fortunately, seeking help from a therapist can help a person identify their triggers and handle them. The following are some of the common triggers that induce a relapse:

  • Guilt and shame
  • Boredom
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling sick
  • Going to a place where you used to abuse drugs or drink alcohol
  • A significant lifestyle change
  • Smelling, hearing, or seeing something that reminds you of your past addiction behavior
  • Peer pressure

After identifying your triggers, you can implement a coping strategy and how to handle the triggers. It would help if you tried to avoid these situations entirely, particularly in your initial recovery stages.

Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health

Individuals who take care of their physical and mental condition are less likely to experience a relapse. Maintaining good mental and physical health improves a person’s general mood. It would help if you considered healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting about seven to eight hours of sleep. Observing these health guidelines reduces some relapse triggers like fatigue and stress.

Good physical and mental health is an essential element of preventing relapse. Many individuals struggling with drugs and alcohol addiction also suffer from co-occurring conditions like anxiety and depression. You can maintain your mental and physical health by attending therapy sessions, talking to other people facing similar problems, and taking medication. This also prevents the risk of relapse.

Look for Something You are Passionate About

When a person is suffering from drugs or alcohol addiction, they spend much of their time using the substance or alcohol. Therefore, an addict lacks time for typical life engagements. A person undergoing recovery has hardships utilizing their free time; hence, boredom can trigger a relapse.

Sobriety creates a perfect time to begin pursuing things you are passionate about, such as a hobby or a new career. Therefore, you should take advantage of this period and explore different things. Regardless of what type of activity you choose, you should ensure that you engage in meaningful activities that increase your happiness and general life satisfaction. This significantly reduces cravings for alcohol or drugs and helps a person to prevent a relapse.

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment is a chronic condition that needs comprehensive and long-term treatment. Many people undergoing addiction treatment face the risk of experiencing a relapse. Fortunately, you can use the above tips to maintain your sobriety.

Helpful Resources

Delphi Health Group | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Alina Lodge

Time Union Article

Sunrise House

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