Completing a substance abuse rehabilitation program is a fantastic accomplishment that requires commitment, dedication, and the ability to adapt to significant life changes. During treatment, patients work on developing coping mechanisms and support systems through individual and group therapy sessions. This work is not only meant to help an individual get sober and come off of their drug of choice but also to help them transition back into an everyday routine. One of the most important skills learned in treatment is relapse prevention.
While substance abuse rehabilitation programs provide patients with a safe space where their drug of choice is out of reach, the outside world does not. Avoiding triggers can be an incredibly tough chore for anyone, regardless of whether they have received treatment. One of the many benefits of treatment for a substance use disorder comes from relapse prevention strategies. When in search of techniques for relapse prevention in Argyle, TX, reach out to the Santé Center for Healing team at 866.238.3154.
What Is a Relapse?
A relapse describes the event where someone sober begins to use drugs again. The definition of a relapse, however, can be tricky to pinpoint. This is because everyone has their definition of sobriety. To some people, sobriety means cutting off all mind-altering substances, while to others, it could mean cutting off only one substance. When someone relapses, it is often because of overbearing triggers or stress but either by internal conflict or an external stimulus. In its most basic form, a trigger is an object or situation that causes the desire to use drugs or alcohol. A trigger can take many forms and highly depend on the individual. Some triggers commonly reported in the sober community are:
- Symptoms of mental illness that were previously compensated for through the use of drugs or alcohol
- Objects or situations that remind an individual of a time they were using drugs or alcohol
- Financial issues
- Work-related issues
- Relationship issues
- The tension between family members
One of the scariest aspects of leaving treatment is the potential triggers one might encounter during the transition. Towards the end of treatment, most programs have patients develop an aftercare plan to combat triggers. Unfortunately, transitioning from treatment to everyday life likely includes unexpected triggers that couldn’t be planned for. It is in these moments that relapse prevention strategies come in handy.
5 Relapse Prevention Strategies
Encountering triggers, expected or unexpected, can place significant stress on the mind and body. Luckily, there are proven methods to combat triggers and overcome the strain they cause. Here are five relapse prevention strategies for overcoming triggers.
Join an Alumni Program
Alumni programs are a fantastic way for those who have completed treatment to stay involved in the sober community. Alumni programs are programs set up for those who have completed a specific treatment program and want to remain socially engaged. These programs provide social activities and workshops and offer a vast network of knowledge and experience that can be called upon in moments of struggle.
Continue Seeing a Therapist
One of the most significant benefits offered by rehabilitation programs is therapy. Continuing therapy after treatment is a great resource when feeling overwhelmed by triggers, as therapists will work with patients on identifying potential triggers and how to combat them as they arise.
Mindfulness meditation pushes people to become more self-aware through thought exercises and breathing techniques to calm the nerves and ease the tension created by triggers. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent resource for instances where other support systems are unavailable or out of reach.
Encountering triggers are a part of both becoming and staying sober. So, one should do everything one can to lessen their impact. Eating healthy, exercising, and practicing good sleep habits increase overall health and reduce physical and mental strain on the body that might worsen triggers.
Don’t be Overconfident
While sobriety is an incredible achievement, one that a person has every right to be proud over, being overconfident is a bad idea. Recovery is used synonymously with sobriety because it is an ongoing process. Being overconfident in one’s ability to combat triggers can lead to dangerous situations where the chances of relapse increase dramatically.
Part of recovery is learning what coping mechanisms and relapse prevention strategies personally work best, and these are just a few of the many techniques that can be implemented.
Get Advice on Relapse Prevention Near me at the Santé Center for Healing.
At the Santé Center for Healing, we understand that recovery doesn’t end after treatment. That is why we emphasize aftercare planning with all of our patients. We have a well-established alum program and welcome all patients to utilize its resources as they continue on their path to recovery. For more information or to schedule an appointment today, contact us at 866.238.3154.