4 Ways to Prevent Relapse
One of the fears many people have when going into rehab is fear of relapse. In fact, the risk of relapse is sometimes enough to keep a person from getting help in the first place, or to keep family members from trying to get their loved one into treatment. No one wants to fail, and especially if someone has relapsed in the past, they might have already given up hope of succeeding. But even though relapse rates are often high for drug and alcohol abuse, there are things patients can do to improve their odds.
Some people are in too much of a hurry from the beginning to complete rehab. They want to spend as little time as possible in rehab and are anxious to get back to their lives. But being hasty will often have negative effects in the long run when it comes to treatment. A person needs to go through the entire process of rehab before getting back out and into the world; without the needed length of time, a person doesn’t develop the skills, tools, and attitude needed to stay sober for long.
Make Life Changes
There is a reason why a person gets involved with drugs or alcohol in the first place. If these triggers, stresses, or negative influences aren’t corrected, it will be very difficult for a person to avoid going back to the substance abuse. It usually takes a change in friends, reduction of stress, and development of coping skills to keep a newly sober individual clean.
Not only do patients need to stay in therapy for a long enough period of time, but after-care is often helpful and even necessary. This kind of treatment consists of once a week or occasional outpatient therapy or counseling. The purpose of this kind of care is to keep the patient focused on recovery. Patients enrolled in long-term recovery benefit greatly from keeping in touch with counselors and the resources they provide.
In the same way long-term care is beneficial, support groups help prevent relapse. There are support groups that specialize in nearly every kind of substance abuse and social situation. There are support groups for recovering heroin addicts, for teens, for Christians, and even for nurses. As much as we hate to admit it, we can’t recover on our own. Support groups are very important to preventing relapse. Support groups provide encouragement, companionship, and a sense of belonging. It is important to know that others are experiencing the same thoughts and feelings. To know that someone else is making it through the struggle gives power to others. Support groups allow people to talk about their feelings and doubts, and together work to overcome them.
Relapse is a scary thing, but sobriety is so important that it is worth the effort. By getting the right care and sticking to a treatment plan, patients stand the best chance at avoiding relapse.