Addiction Relapse Prevention UK
People are human and as such, make mistakes. Following on from treatment, trying to fit back into a normal routine can sometimes see an addict slip back or relapse towards a drug seeking behaviour.
Relapse itself can be described as a recurrence of pathological substance abuse after a period of abstinence however, there are ways of preventing relapse. In order to help prevent relapse, it’s a good idea to first understand the most common triggers of substance abuse relapse and how to manage cravings.
Common Relapse Trigger
There are numerous different common relapse triggers. These can include but aren’t limited to:
- Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, nausea etc
- Insufficient self care including stress management, lack of sleep and poor nutrition
- Surrounding oneself with the wrong people (friends who continue to use)
- Continuing to visit places where one used to purchase drugs/alcohol/gamble etc
- Uncomfortable or stressful emotions often experienced in relationships/sex
- Isolation as one can have too much time with their own thoughts
- Pride or overconfidence, thinking there’s no longer a problem/addiction
Stages Of Relapse
It’s also worth noting there are different stages to relapse. Relapse is indeed a process as opposed to a singular event. Relapse can start some weeks and even months before you see a physical relapse take place. Learning about the early warning signs of relapse is key in its prevention.
Emotional relapses don’t necessarily mean the user is thinking of using. Instead, their emotions and behaviours may set them up for a possible relapse. Signs of emotional relapses include anxiety, intolerance and even anger and defensiveness. You may also notice mood swings, a desire to isolate as well as poor eating and sleeping habits. The early stage of an emotional relapse is much easier to pull out of. As the relapse goes deeper, the pull becomes harder and the series of events becomes much faster.
Dealing With Emotional Relapse
One of the best ways to deal with emotional relapses is to start practicing self care. By taking better care of oneself makes the desire to escape much less. By ignoring self care, not practicing good hygiene or good eating habits or even good sleep habits, one can begin to feel exhausted and struggle with normal day to day life which in turn can lead to wanting to escape. Look for signs of stress, tiredness and even struggling to complete daily tasks and you may well find a sufferer within the emotional stage.
In a mental relapse, sufferers may find themselves at war with their own mind. Part of them wants to use while another part of them doesn’t want to use. At the very early stages of a mental relapse, the addict may merely think about using from time to time however in the latter stages, this becomes a constant thought, all day, every day. They may begin to think about people and places they used with along with more glamorous thoughts about the past. You may even see them begin to socialise with past friends and begin lying about their whereabouts. Once again, at the very early stages of a mental relapse, it’s much easier to pull back from however, it can be difficult to notice this stage beginning without warning from the sufferer themselves.
Dealing With Metal Relapse
It’s important for someone struggling with the beginning of a mental relapse to talk about their feelings and urges. Distractions work well in this instance also, providing a different focus as opposed to the thoughts of substance abuse. We also suggest making relaxation a big part of recovery in order to help the addict make peace with their mind when erratic thoughts begin to take over.
Physical relapses occur once you’ve passed through emotional and mental relapse stages. It unfortunately doesn’t take long to pass from emotional and mental stages through to the physical stage of actually using and it can be difficult to stop the relapse once it’s got to this point. Recognising the early warning signs is much better in order to avoid reaching this stage altogether.
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