There isn’t always a simple answer to why someone relapses. Relapse is a common occurrence in the recovery process, mainly because a substance use disorder (SUD) is a chronic condition. However, with the right preparation, it is also preventable. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can manage your triggers and cravings to avoid relapse.
As an evolving theory, drug relapse entails many details that make it hard to define. Some experts view relapse as a process, while others recognize it as an outcome of an individuals’ actions and choices.
As a chronic condition, SUD, like any chronic condition, is susceptible to remission. Current statistics on the relapse rates of SUD support this. Studies have revealed that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to substance use within the year following treatment. The same study claims that more than 2/3 of participants in recovery relapse within weeks to months of beginning addiction treatment.
While the statistics might seem high, studies also show that people who remain substance-free after years of sobriety experience a significant increase in long-term sobriety. Being substance-free gives the mind time to heal and adapt without substances. Though cravings never leave, they do drastically subside.
Is Relapse Inevitable?
Preventing relapses requires an understanding of what drives your addiction. Many people consider relapse inevitable in the recovery process. Yet, establishing a firm understanding of your triggers can assist in preventing a relapse. Reasons for relapses vary for each person, especially for adolescents. As a teen, stressors can occur during the exams period, the college search process, social pressure, romantic relationships, and parental issues. Therefore, it is important to recognize these warning signs.
Some warning signs include:
- Experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders
- Stress and anxiety lead to desiring substances to find relief
- Increased emotional distress and interpersonal difficulties, especially with friends or family
- Returning to former friendships who use or visit places where substances are available
- Being around substances at a social gathering such as a Holiday or birthday party
Before these triggers worsen your state or emotions, seek professional help.
Preventing a Relapse
Re-establishing and protecting your support systems, staying active, and doing something you enjoy can help you stay on track with your recovery. Living a balanced life and not focusing solely on your SUD helps you sustain longer recovery.
Further, consider the following factors to support prevention:
- Set specific goals
- Use positive self-talk
- Change negative habits
- Establish social support
- Set boundaries
Review Your Relapse Prevention Plan
If you find yourself struggling to resist drinking or using substances, review your relapse prevention plan.
Here are some helpful tips for keeping your sobriety on track:
- Keep a Journal of Your Feelings and Thoughts: Writing your feelings and thoughts down every day helps you process them and make sense of what’s going on in your life. It will also help you make better decisions about how you react to certain events. It can also provide a creative outlet for your creative self.
- Attend Recovery Groups: Attend support groups for relapse prevention. These meetings help many individuals struggling with SUD gain the tools, wisdom, and support they need to stay sober. You can find options online or in your local community.
- Create a Plan of Action for Your Recovery: A plan will map your actions for the short term, the long term, and the future. A solid plan will also include coping skills, support systems, and emergency services. When creating a plan, be sure to set reasonable goals and expectations.
- Communicate: Make sure to maintain contact with your therapist, family members, friends, and peers about your feelings or concerns for support. Having a strong support network will ensure that you have people to call on for help in times of challenge.
- Attend Therapy Sessions: Therapy sessions are a great way to work through difficult emotions. It helps you learn how to cope with any underlying mental health issues. Make a plan so that attending regular visits will be easier. It’s the best way to keep yourself safe and healthy.
Clearfork Academy Can Help You
Clearfork Academy specializes in relapse prevention and assisting teens who have experienced relapses. We are here to serve you, whether this entails starting treatment for the first time or seeking another chance. Clearfork Academy offers help with every step of your recovery, from identifying warning signs of relapse to connecting you with recovery support groups to evidence-based therapies to detox programs. We can help.
Relapse may seem inevitable, but taking action will help. Understanding your impulses and triggers is the start to prevent relapse and get you on the right track to recovery. At Clearfork Academy, we offer programs and therapies to help you identify the factors that drive your addiction. We also understand that what drives addiction varies among each person. Therefore, we offer a range of treatments and therapies including, medical detoxes, residential treatment, and outdoor adventures, to ensure that you have the best access to care. Once you identify these triggers, we will help you establish coping mechanisms that will create barriers that resist the temptation to use substances. After completing the treatment program, graduates follow an aftercare plan to sustain their sobriety and recovery. Of course, we remain a pillar of support should you meet challenges on your road to recovery. To learn more about our programs, contact us today by calling (866) 650-5212.