The Benefits of Having a Relapse Prevention Plan
According to the NIH, “Sometimes people quit their drug use for a while, but start using again no matter how hard they try.” This is because drug addiction has the potential to cause relapse, even if a person wants to stop using. That is why it is so important to have a sound relapse prevention plan.
The Effectiveness of Treatment
Most individuals who go through addiction treatment do so hoping they will receive the tools that will help them avoid further drug abuse for the rest of their lives. However, this is rarely the case. Addiction is a chronic disease and, like others of its kind, it is likely to cause relapse at some point. Treatment for addiction is effective in many ways, but it is also not a cure-all.
According to the NIDA, “The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible but also likely.” That is why relapse should be prevented in every way possible, from attending a beneficial treatment program to having a solid relapse prevention plan at home.
Once you have left treatment, you will have many new coping skills that will help you fight the potential of relapse. However, you will also be at your most vulnerable for the possibility of a return to drug abuse. In the first thirty days of recovery after treatment has ended, recovering addicts are often most likely to relapse. This is why doctors recommend that these individuals
- Attend an aftercare program like a support group, individualized drug counseling, etc.
- Stay in an environment that facilitates sobriety (a friend or family member’s home, a sober living facility, a halfway house, etc.)
- Do not isolate themselves from others
- Reach out or seek help when they are feeling unhappy, depressed, angry, etc. (According to the NIAAA, “Negative emotional states… are associated with the highest rate of relapse.”)
Because recovering individuals are very vulnerable, especially during this time, it is important that a relapse prevention plan is put into place that both they and their loved ones understand and will be able to follow.
Your Personal Relapse Prevention Plan
Every person’s relapse prevention plan must be different and specifically catered to their needs, just like an addiction treatment program. However, it is important to take into account the facts presented above and to know when an individual is most vulnerable to the possibility of relapse. Important parts of your relapse prevention plan may include:
- Knowing any and every trigger you have and making your friends and family members aware of them
- Attempting to remove as many of these triggers as possible from your home and day-to-day life
- Having a place you can go or person you can call, day or night, whenever you feel the need to use again
- Attending a support group or another type of aftercare program to remind yourself that you must continue to actively prevent the possibility drug abuse
- Knowing exactly where to go for help if you do relapse
In addition, amphetamines are stimulants and, like other similar substances, can cause cravings long after addiction treatment has ended. This is just another reason why having a relapse prevention plan is so incredibly important.