After getting out of rehab, people often feel like they are stronger and better able to stay sober than they were before. While this is true to an extent, being clean is not enough to prevent a relapse. Relapse prevention techniques can help patients stay clean and focus on their long-term recovery. Roughly two out of three relapses occur in the first six months, so it is important to focus on relapse prevention during this time.
The Early Stages of a Relapse
For most patients, relapsing does not occur in a single event. People typically begin an emotional and mental relapse before they actually have a physical relapse. In some cases, the actual relapse process can begin weeks or months before the physical relapse occurs. It’s important to understand that a relapse isn’t merely the act of using a substance again. Rather, it is an entire physical and psychological process.
During the initial stage, patients tend to develop behaviors and emotions that make a relapse more likely. They may have mood swings, stop going to meetings and stop taking care of their health. They may also suffer from anxiety, defensiveness, anger, and isolation. By recognizing these symptoms, patients can figure out how to focus even more on their recovery and perhaps ask for help.
Begin Relapse Prevention Early
Once someone realizes that they are having an emotional relapse, they have to change their behavior. Instead of remaining isolated, patients should go to meetings, ask for help and get support. Relaxation techniques can help with anxiety.
Meanwhile, self-care techniques like eating healthily and getting enough sleep can help. When someone is physically, emotionally and mentally drained, it can make a relapse more likely. Self-care is a key way to make sure that the patient does not become so drained that they seek out drugs or alcohol as an escape.
Tips for Preventing a Relapse
After getting treatment at a medical detox center, the next step is to learn how to have a safe, healthy recovery. Relapse prevention techniques can be as easy as adopting a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough sleep. In addition, patients can use support groups or therapists to learn relaxation techniques for reducing anxiety.
“Red flag” situations are times when the patient is in a situation that makes a relapse more likely. Hanging out with a friend who uses or going to a bar are examples of red flags. Avoiding these situations is the first goal. If this is not always possible, it is important to have stress management techniques and other ways of handling negative emotions already in place.
There are many options available to help patients stay sober. Many of them are also used to get sober. Some of these options include:
The right treatment center can help patients quit using, begin their sobriety, and develop a relapse prevention plan. Detox builds the foundation for a healthy recovery. To find out how Serenity House Detox & Recovery can help you get sober and stay that way, call us today at 866.516.8356.