Self Care May Help Prevent Relapse
How can relapse be avoided? The best way to avoid relapse is by knowing and planning for the stages of emotional, mental and physical relapse. This is where self care is important.
Self Care is Essential for Relapse Prevention
When the individual makes the decision to change their life, that is the biggest and most important step they can take towards their recovery. However, it is a process that takes time and effort and a lot of other small steps along the way. Caring for oneself on multiple levels is very important, and the goal of doing that is to learn new habits and new ways of coping.
Believing in oneself is essential. The individual must have faith in the recovery process and must realize that they will need to make sacrifices along the way to reach their goal of sobriety.
Setting Goals in Addiction Recovery
The one thing most individuals with an addiction are unwilling to do is to make a change. This is mainly because they are filled with insecurity and doubt, and don’t know whether they will be able to change. It is only after they have made the decision to change that goals can be set. Different individuals in recovery set different goals for themselves, but some common ones are:
- Abstaining from their drug of choice
- Reducing their drug of choice
- Stopping the use of one substance but not the other, if there is more than one drug being used
Relapse prevention is a process and like all processes it will take time. A relapse has different stages, which are emotional, mental and physical. It is essential to know the stages as that will help in the prevention process and serve as warning signs.
In this stage the individual is not thinking about using drugs again. Rather, this stage is characterized by patterns of behavior and emotions that indicate that a relapse is imminent. Some signs to look out for in an emotional relapse are:
- Avoiding meetings
- Not asking for help
- Staying isolated
- Mood swings
- Poor diet
- Poor sleeping habits
- Mental Relapse
The brain becomes a war zone where initially the individual is not thinking of using again, and then later the thought of using consumes them. The signs to watch out for in a mental relapse are:
- Fantasizing about the drug
- Spending time with old friends who are still using
- Planning a relapse
- Physical Relapse
A physical relapse can be put into motion by triggers. These can cause the individual to return to old habits and may manifest as:
- Being around people who are using
- Arguments or conflicts
- Physical discomfort
- Feeling angry or sad
- A strong urge to use
It is an unfortunate fact that a relapse can happen in any stage of recovery. It can happen more than once. If this should happen, and the individual feels an unconquerable need to take the drug, then they need to return to rehab immediately. Learning about self care and practicing it is one of the best ways to avoid relapsing.