Author: Gary Jackson

Relapse Prevention Plan: Strategies and Techniques for Addiction

Relapse means going back to using after you’ve been abstinent for some time. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 40 to 60 percent of people who were once addicted to drugs will eventually relapse. This helps you safely manage thoughts about using substances again. Discussions often revolve around dealing with everyday situations without turning to substances. Setting up a system to reach out if they sense you may be heading toward a relapse might also be helpful.

relapse prevention plan

Relapse prevention group activities can be a cornerstone in the journey to recovery. These activities allow you and other group members to share experiences and foster camaraderie. No matter how strong your willpower is, you can’t fight relapse alone. You must accept help from supportive family and friends when you need it. If you’ve relapsed before, try to identify the feelings you felt before your relapse. In this stage, you may not be actively feeding your addictive behavior.

Therapist Aid to access

A warning sign is when clients ask for professional help and consistently ignore the advice. Every country, every town, and almost every cruise ship has a 12-step meeting. There are other self-help groups, including Women for Sobriety, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, Smart Recovery, and Caduceus groups for health professionals. It has been shown that the way to get the most out of 12-step groups is to attend meetings regularly, have a sponsor, read 12-step materials, and have a goal of abstinence [24,25]. 1) Clients often want to put their addiction behind them and forget that they ever had an addiction. They feel they have lost part of their life to addiction and don’t want to spend the rest of their life focused on recovery.

  • In the second stage of recovery, the main task is to repair the damage caused by addiction [2].
  • Cognitive therapy helps clients see that recovery is based on coping skills and not willpower.
  • Before getting to a full-blown relapse, however, a person may experience a lapse, described as the initial use of a substance after a period of recovery.4 The late addiction researcher G.

Sharing the list with the treatment team can provide them with needed information to prevent relapse in the patient. It takes time to get over a dependence, deal with withdrawal symptoms, and overcome the urge to use. A relapse prevention plan must be customized to the individual and their specific needs, preferences, and surrounding resources and support system. A relapse prevention plan works best when you do it under a therapist or counselor’s supervision. That way, you can explore new behaviors and thought patterns to help you stay clean. There is one benefit of self-help groups that deserves special attention.

Steps to Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

Expectancy theory has shown that when people expect to have fun, they usually do, and when they expect that something will not be fun, it usually isn’t [15]. In the early stages of substance abuse, using is mostly a positive experience for those who are emotionally and genetically predisposed. Later, when using turns into a negative experience, they often continue to expect it to be positive. It is common to hear addicts talk about chasing the early highs they had. On the other hand, individuals expect that not using drugs or alcohol will lead to the emotional pain or boredom that they tried to escape. Therefore, on the one hand, individuals expect that using will continue to be fun, and, on the other hand, they expect that not using will be uncomfortable.

relapse prevention plan

Instead, a relapse signifies that additional and/or a different form of treatment is necessary. Understanding relapse, triggers, and treatment are important steps toward relapse prevention. Relapse prevention is a skill that takes dedication and following relapse prevention strategies. You can achieve this by recognizing your triggers and developing healthy coping skills. A relapse prevention plan is essential for recognizing warning signs and ensuring sobriety. With the guidance of experienced professionals, these plans offer strategies for behavioral change.

Following Through with Treatment

Individuals use drugs and alcohol to escape negative emotions; however, they also use as a reward and/or to enhance positive emotions [11]. In these situations, poor self-care often precedes drug or alcohol use. For example, individuals work hard to achieve a goal, and when it is achieved, they want to celebrate. But as part of their all-or-nothing thinking, while they were working, they felt they didn’t deserve a reward until the job was done. Since they did not allow themselves small rewards during the work, the only reward that will suffice at the end is a big reward, which in the past has meant using. Finally, physical relapse is when an individual starts using again.

Individuals are encouraged to be completely honest within their recovery circle. As clients feel more comfortable, they may choose to expand the size of their circle. But clients and families often begin recovery by hoping that they don’t have to change.