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What Is A Relapse Prevention Plan?

Conceivably, one of the most overlooked components of a treatment plan for a substance use disorder is a solid relapse prevention plan. Relapse is a threat throughout the lifetime of those recovering from a substance use disorder. Without the techniques and skills to counteract it, relapse is a genuine possibility. Sobriety is challenging, and securing recovery with a protection plan is an insightful move. Therefore, creating a written plan before leaving inpatient treatment is recommended.

What Causes Relapses?

Substance use disorders are chronic diseases with the threat of the brain relapsing to initiate cravings and urges for the eliminated substance. However, building a strong foundation with a solid treatment plan and relapse prevention plan provides additional security measures to protect recovery.  The plan must include vital knowledge for identifying the signs and symptoms of a possible threat to relapse. Most importantly, practicing positive coping skills, including meditation and staying in the present moment, are invaluable tools for checking the possibility of relapse.

A lack of humility in recovery and understanding the possibility of relapse as a continual threat is another cause of relapse. In addition, those who have completed a treatment program must acknowledge the need for vigilance against triggers, cravings, and urges to use again. The lack of humility and preparation for the moment can be a vulnerable time when triggers pop up and if desires or urges occur through unhealed and still altered brain pathways. As a result, a relapse prevention plan provides for these vulnerable moments to encourage continued sobriety.

Understanding Emotional and Mental Triggers

A solid, comprehensive relapse prevention plan begins with understanding triggers and how they can affect sobriety. Triggers are events, situations, or thoughts and reasoning responsible for substance use in the past. Individual therapy work in treatment begins with identifying triggers and how to cope with them in sobriety. Recognizing triggers immediately to review healthy and positive coping mechanisms is an initial step in any relapse prevention plan.

Making a list of known triggers can aid as a reminder that relapse is a possible threat. Designing a relapse prevention plan in a journal can help as a go-to for immediate self-help. It is essential to understand what emotions and feelings trigger negative thought patterns that could lead to relapse. Self-examination and continued individual and group therapies are reliable sources of help for this strategy.

Two Types of Triggers

External triggers revolve around using opportunities that involve people, places, things, or times of day that are memories of previous habits. External triggers are obvious and predictable, and more avoidable than internal triggers. Internal triggers can be confusing because of the unexpected urge to use. The inability to understand a quick thought of drinking or using, the excitement just before using, or physical sensations as reminders of some aspects of a substance use disorder happen out of the blue. Tracking these triggering moments to try to understand them can be useful in determining the cause.

Understanding Cravings and Urges

The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states three basic types of cravings exist.  Cravings and urges can rear up without any warning when least expected. Information concerning triggers, cravings, and urges is part of individual therapy immediately following detox. Unfortunately, in some cases, the threat of relapse is not accentuated enough, and being human, people forget essential elements of recovery.

The three basic cravings types include:

  • Reinforcing model urges extend to behavior that produces pleasant or positive feelings to relieve negative or unpleasant emotions.
  • Social learning modalities involve trigger-related cravings during or after treatment testing confidence levels in resisting the urge.
  • The cognitive processing model is based on the belief that using is habit and problem-solving skills are needed to block habitual use.

Access Group Support for Relapse Prevention

Living a sober lifestyle is challenging. Still, it is crucial to remember that self-care and self-love are always foremost in maintaining security and happiness. Likewise, a relapse prevention plan depends on thriving in a supportive environment that supports recovery. Group therapy is an evidence-based therapy proven successful for maintaining sobriety for twelve-step programs. For that reason, accessing group support when recognizing dangerous triggers is a wise choice.

Support groups are available throughout the community, in treatment centers, and places of worship. Online support groups are also functional. Group support is often free of charge and offers understanding, suggestions for self-help techniques, and a safe place to voice relapse concerns. For those struggling to find the right group, contacting your therapist could be an answer.

Be Open to Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is not just for treatment. Be open to revisiting a therapist who may already possess insights into the situation. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help change behaviors that may have become a problem. If it is not possible to visit a past therapist, a new therapist may see new options and have fresh material to work with.

As new therapies are developed, it is possible that holistic therapy could be the missing ingredient in your relapse prevention plan. Tweaking the relapse prevention plan with a therapist is insightful and adds to a growing self-awareness. Building trust in the recovery system may lead you to form new relationships with a mental health professional who is in sync with relapse prevention techniques.

Explore A New Relapse Prevention Strategy in Tennessee

Freeman Recovery Center, nestled in Nashville, Tennessee, offers comprehensive rehabilitation services meticulously tailored to address a wide spectrum of substance use disorders also including dual-diagnosis. Our specialized programs cater to individuals battling alcohol addiction, drug addiction, cocaine addiction, heroin addiction, meth addiction, benzo addiction, and prescription drug addiction. By combining evidence-based practices with holistic care, we deliver empathetic and professional support that focuses on the unique needs of each patient. Our goal is to create a nurturing environment where teenagers and their parents feel encouraged and empowered to overcome addiction, achieve lasting recovery, and rebuild their lives with confidence and resilience.

Self-confidence in the achievement of recovery can move forward a step further when individuals take a leap of faith and reach out when relapse potentials occur. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers compassionate and experienced therapists who can recommend new techniques to prevent relapse. Build trust in our resources, as we can recommend new groups and work out new relapse prevention tools to answer keep the enemy at arm’s length. Reach out again and receive help from a trusted partner in sobriety.

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