Relapse prevention is considered an intrinsic part of the addiction recovery process. Fenton House is a secondary care facility which provides ongoing support for people who have completed a rehabilitation programme and need help with adjusting to, and managing, day-to-day life.
The thought of relapse often triggers anxiety, leading individuals to go back to engaging in irresponsible behaviours in order to deal with it. How can you go from fearing relapse to actively preventing it? First, you must take time to understand what a relapse is, the warning signs that you are headed for relapse, and actions you can take in your daily life to stay healthy and addiction free.
As a chronic disease, addiction is prone to relapse. Addiction relapse is the return to actively using your substance (or process) of choice after a period of abstinence and improved health. Relapse occurs when old patterns of thinking, behaviour, and ultimately drug use completely take over.
A relapse occurs in stages — it is not simply the event of taking that first drink or drug after time in recovery. Changes in thinking, emotions, and behaviour occur days, weeks, or even months before a physical relapse. That is where relapse prevention comes in. Recognizing and taking action against early symptoms of relapse will help you minimise their impact on your recovery and prevent a full-blown relapse from happening.
Before active drug seeking behaviour occurs there are emotional and mental warning signs that you should train yourself to recognise. If you’re not aware of the early warning signs and symptoms they can quickly become a slippery slope back to addictive behaviour.
Emotional warning signs:
Mental warning signs:
Catching yourself early on and utilising your relapse prevention plan as soon as you experience warning signs is imperative for your continued recovery.
At Fenton House, we offer different types of therapy to limit or prevent relapses by helping clients to anticipate circumstances that are likely to provoke a relapse. We will help clients develop a strategy in order to cope with these high-risk situations in advance. This is termed a relapse prevention plan.
There are three primary areas of focus when determining a relapse prevention plan:
Relapse prevention therapy places a strong emphasis on helping recovering clients develop effective coping skills. These skills equip them to handle high-risk situations and avoid a relapse.