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Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month: Relapse prevention strategies and early signs of recovery

The biggest roadblock on the path to a long-term recovery from addiction is recurring relapse. The demons of relapse often come back to haunt the patients during recovery who have just begun their journey toward sobriety. Preventing a relapse remains the most daunting task in such a situation. However, there are certain tips one can follow to prevent a potential relapse.

A relapse does not erupt out of the blue. Contrarily, it is a process which unfurls over a period of time, and there are stages of relapse. In fact, relapse starts much before the actual physical relapse, may be weeks or months in advance. Understanding these stages may help an individual in avoiding a relapse.

There are three stages of a relapse – emotional, mental and physical – and comprehending the types can go a long way in resolving the issue.

Emotional relapse

During an emotional relapse, a person may not be thinking about using the drug, but the emotions and behaviors may be paving the way for a possible relapse in the future. Some of the most obvious signs of an emotional relapse include anxiety, intolerance, defensiveness, anger, isolation, mood swings, poor sleeping habits, not asking for help and poor eating habits, etc. If any of these signs become palpable, then it is time to seek the advice of an expert.

These signs are also symptoms of post-acute withdrawal and a better understanding of them may help in avoiding a relapse. Pulling back from early signs of withdrawal is easier, but the pull of later stages is stronger and one may fall into the trap easily.

Practicing self-care is a brilliant way to prevent a relapse during this stage. Thinking about self may keep an individual away from substances.

Mental relapse

It is a war unfolding inside the mind, a huge dilemma of whether to use a drug or not. The mind is pulled in opposite directions with equal force, putting the individual in a fix. In the early stages, one may get thoughts of using substances in a casual manner, but as the urge grows stronger, one may actually feel like using the substance. A few ominous signs of a mental relapse include reminiscing about people, places and things one used, lying, glorifying the past use, mingling with old using pals, thinking about relapsing, fantasizing about using again, etc.

Some of the ways to tide over this relapse stage are to confide in someone about the urge to reuse substances, distract oneself, practice relaxation exercises, try other techniques, etc. These may help an individual get over the signs of a potential mental relapse.

Physical relapse

Physical relapse is like standing at the threshold and staring at a certain relapse lurking round the corner. Thinking about the relapse and not initiating preventive steps may push a person on the brink of a relapse and he or she may actually start reusing a substance, thereby, triggering the onset of another vicious cycle of addiction, recovery and relapse.

Dealing with a relapse

Every year, during September, the nation observes the National Recovery Month. This year President Trump has declared it to be National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, pledging to extend support to millions of Americans in recovery from addiction. The month-long activities are a reminder of continued support to those struggling with an addiction, their families and loved ones.

Dealing with an addiction and preventing a relapse is possible if one starts treatment at the earliest and remain committed to staying in the treatment. Follow-ups are an integral part of any recovery program. To achieve a long-term recovery from addiction, and for relapse prevention, staying in touch with treatment programs is crucial. If a loved one in the family is grappling with an addiction, seek immediate help by calling our 24/7 helpline members on 866-501-9425, who will assist you in getting the best treatment option.

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