Relapse prevention planning is an important part of the substance abuse disorder process. It involves education and planning in order to reduce the risk of relapse. This way, people who are in treatment and recovery have the best chance of long-lasting healing and sobriety. But, what is a relapse prevention plan and why is it so important to have one?
Before one can understand relapse prevention, one must first understand relapse. Relapsing is a term that defines when a person who struggles with addiction uses an addictive substance after a period of recovery. So, people who have been to treatment are at a higher risk for relapse. In order to safeguard recovery after treatment, a relapse prevention plan must be created. A relapse prevention plan is a plan set in place that’s intended to help people in recovery from addiction recognize the stages of relapse. This way, they can identify the behaviors they need to work on and triggers they should avoid in order to steer clear of relapse.
Unfortunately, treatment for substance use disorder doesn’t always keep people from using an addictive substance ever again. In fact, according to statistics, between 20 and 80% of people who get help for addiction through treatment will relapse eventually. Therefore, people who get help for addiction through treatment must protect their recovery at all costs. Furthermore, people who have recently detoxed and gone through treatment are more likely to overdose when relapsing as their tolerance levels in the body decrease. Unfortunately, as overdose death rates continue to rise, it’s more important than ever that people in recovery understand the risks they take if they relapse. So, preventing relapse by relapse prevention planning is a vital part of the addiction treatment process.
Part of having a relapse prevention strategy is being able to identify the signs and symptoms of a relapse. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of relapse or impending relapse can include:
Part of creating a plan to prevent relapse is to understand how relapse works and the process of relapse. And, being open to the fact that relapse can happen and that you may need help during the process of relapse before actually using an addictive substance. When you keep an open mindset about relapse, you’re more likely to pinpoint the process of relapse and get help before the actual act of using and relapsing happens.
First and foremost, the best thing a person can do to create a relapse prevention plan is to understand personal triggers. Triggers are situations and things that can lead to the use of addictive substances, provoke emotions around using addictive substances, or stimulate cravings to use addictive substances. Triggers are different from person to person but can include things like:
The best way to create and establish a relapse prevention plan that keeps your triggers and needs into account is to create a plan with professional mental health specialists. Yellowbrick offers relapse prevention planning as a part of our substance use disorder treatment services. Find out more about how we can help on our website.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.