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5 Tips to Prevent Relapse

Man learning tips to prevent relapse

Doing the work of addiction recovery is hard enough the first time around. Sadly, many people who successfully quit an addictive substance still relapse. Often, they simply aren’t prepared to face the stressors and triggers of daily life when they reencounter them. The good news is that because relapse is so common, effective strategies are out there to reduce the chance it will happen to you or your loved one.

If you’re looking for tips to prevent relapse, contact NuLife Behavioral Health today. Our relapse prevention therapy program may be just the thing to add to your treatment protocol. Call 888.568.2057 or reach out online to speak with a member of our caring and knowledgeable team, get tips to prevent addiction relapse, and learn how to enroll in our relapse prevention therapy program.

Why Is Relapse So Common?

Relapse rates are unfortunately quite high, and it can be helpful to look at common reasons for this setback. One of the primary causes of relapse, especially if someone attempts to quit an addictive substance on their own, is withdrawal. Many addictive substances—including alcohol, opioids, and meth—are profoundly habit-forming. As people use them over time, their bodies build up tolerance, meaning they need more and more of the substance to feel the same effect.

Moreover, in many cases abusing a substance decreases the brain’s ability to produce normal levels of mood-regulating chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. This means those affected may experience enormous “crashes” when they suddenly stop using or try to cut back. Unfortunately, many simply can’t cope physically without returning to substance use.

Another common reason for relapse is unaddressed mental health disorders. Substance use disorders rarely come out of nowhere, and those struggling with chemical addiction often have a co-occurring mental health issue. Unless providers also look for underlying mental illness, the unfortunate result is that many clients relapse after treatment when their mental health issues flare up again.

Early exposure to triggers or exposure without proper preparation can also result in relapse. Many people attach addictive behavior to particular contexts. This means simple proximity to the places, people, or things associated with using can pose a significant relapse threat. This can be heightened if the newly sober person associates acceptance, status, or friendship with using addictive substances.

Finally, many people in recovery initially used addictive substances to cope with difficult emotions. Even without an underlying mental illness, stress can harm overall well-being. When someone stops addictive behaviors but is thrust right back into stressful situations without adequate knowledge of healthy self-care, their relapse risk increases.

5 Tips to Prevent Relapse Situations

An accredited relapse prevention program provides some of the best odds for lasting sobriety. That said, below are some effective tips for avoiding relapse situations.

1. Know Your Triggers

Whether you’re prompted to use addictive substances by fatigue, stress, specific people, or something else, it’s vital to know your triggers. Once you’ve identified them, create a plan to avoid them as much as possible and exit situations where they arise unexpectedly. Know that you’re worthy of circumstances that support health and sobriety and don’t add stress to your life.

2. Build and Maintain Your Support System

Staying active in programs that promote accountability, such as 12-step approaches, can be very impactful. Regularly committing to check in with a group or individual creates a robust psychological structure.

3. Take Care of Your Body

Proper nutrition and hydration promote strength, elevated mood, and concentration, all of which make substance use less inviting.

4. Invest in Something Bigger

Whatever the cause, redirecting energy from suffering to others’ needs is a powerful relapse prevention tool. Attending religious services, serving others, or cleaning up the planet are just a few examples.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Take up wellness activities can aid in practicing mindfulness, such as:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Meditation

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Other disciplines can help you return to the present moment when the past or future becomes overwhelming.

Learn How to Prevent Relapse Situations in Massachusetts at NuLife Behavioral Health

Working toward lasting recovery is a challenging process and one that deserves ample support. At NuLife Behavioral Health, we’re here to help every step of the way. Contact NuLife Behavioral Health today at 888.568.2057 or reach out online to learn more about our accredited relapse prevention therapy programs and our range of addiction treatment options.