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  • Coping with relapse and ways to prevent it

Coping with relapse and ways to prevent it

During rehabilitation, patients learn about certain stressors, or triggers, that they have to avoid in order to maintain their sobriety for longer periods of time. If the person isn’t able to cope with the stressors, she/he relapses and gets addicted to their choice of psychoactive. Thus, individuals are trained in coping techniques to prevent relapse and adjust to a new way of life. 

Relapsing is a constant threat and in order to cope and prevent it, a patient needs to identify triggers of relapse. Common triggers of relapsing are:

  • Boredom
  • Stress
  • Financial situation
  • Relationship problems
  • Particular smell or sight
  • Particular place or person
  • Habits prior to rehabilitation
  • Aggression

Most rehabilitation centers establish certain short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. These goals are necessary for the clients to maintain their sobriety and they act as a lure. After identifying and establishing goals, the center educates their patients on relapse prevention skills that they can easily incorporate into their daily lives for a better chance at relapse prevention.

Popular relapse prevention skills are:

Self-support

Common withdrawal symptoms of recovery from addiction include fatigue and insomnia. Through the implementation of physical training in the form of an exercise curriculum accompanied by a diet and sleep schedule, a patient can improve their quality through exhaustion and thereby reducing the risk of relapsing.

HALT

HALT is an acronym for Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired and it’s especially useful when then patient is feeling a craving to use their choice of psychoactive. Whenever a patient is feeling anxious or ‘Off’, the possible cause for such a mood can be any one or a combination of hunger, anger, loneliness and/or fatigue. HALT comes in handy when the patient regularly checks on the mood they’re in and thus, curbing the probability of relapsing.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a concept that introduces spirituality in the lives of human beings. It makes us self aware of our past and present actions and the thought behind it is; if we’re self aware, we’re better adept at coping with triggers of relapse. It’s all about accepting that curbing cravings is a skill that will be mastered through practice and the patient should just ‘roll with it’ instead of fighting it.

Knowing your triggers

Something as primal and basic as simply knowing what triggers a patient can be extremely helpful in coping with the possible stresses that may push the patient to relapse. Triggers can be either internal (anxiety, stress, irritability, low self-esteem, anger) or external (place, people, material/immaterial things/situations that remind them of their past). By being proactive and making a list of such triggers, a patient can better cope with relapsing.

Support group

Sometimes, it’s better for a patient to know that they’re not alone. Joining and actively partaking in support groups like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotic Anonymous (NA) offers support and education along with the ability to meet individuals that have gone through the same situation as the patient.

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