Addiction recovery is an extremely difficult process that is filled with an array of emotional episodes of success and failure. When your patients have successfully recovered from their addiction, they are still vulnerable to relapsing. Relapsing can be caused by multiple factors in the individual’s environment after they have left the treatment center. It is vital that you create a preventative action plan for the recovering addict to use in moments that may elicit destructive thoughts and behaviors.
To help your patients avoid a relapse, it is necessary that you recognize the warning signs and take preventative measures.
1. Stopped attending therapy sessions. When clients stop attending their individual or group therapy sessions, they have already begun to isolate themselves from the people who support them. It is vital that you continue to check in with your patients and make a convenient time to meet. Additionally, make yourself available to take their call and talk them through difficult moments that they may be experiencing.
Be empathetic and show that you are invested in their recovery process beyond the inpatient program. Encourage your clients to continue attending individual group therapy sessions and highlight positive milestones. Additionally, check in with your patients and be invested in their group therapy sessions by stressing the importance of connection and understanding within a supportive social circle.
2. Experiencing mood and behavior changes. When confronted with inquiries about the individual’s progress, activities, or emotional state, individuals may become defensive and aggravated. Having a defensive attitude is an important warning sign to recognize because it can cause individuals to lie or avoid the people that supported them throughout their recovery process.
Clients may harness thoughts of using substances again and may begin denying these thoughts to loved ones. Individuals will begin skipping therapy sessions and will no longer participate in the activities that brought them joy. Additionally, individuals might show signs of selfishness and frequent mood shifts that may be triggered by thoughts of using the substance again.
3. Having an inability to maintain stable employment. If your patients struggle to show up to work on time or have an inability to complete professional duties, this may be a sure sign of a potential relapse. Not being able to carry out professional responsibilities or jumping from job to job is a warning sign that the recovering addict may be reverting to old, destructive behaviors.
4. Reverted back to old social groups. A pivotal warning sign that your clients may be relapsing is when the recovering addicts begin to engage with the people who they initially used the drug with. Communicating and engaging with the social group that use the drugs together is a monumental sign that your client may have also reverted to using the drug to cope with the social or environmental pressures from daily life.
5. Experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety. The recovering addicts may have slipped into heightened levels of stress and anxiety. This can be caused by a mental health disorder or the process of getting acclimated to everyday life and the responsibilities that they must adhere to.
When relationships, jobs, or school begin to overwhelm individuals and they donot use their productive coping mechanisms learned in therapy, they may revertback to their substance to self-medicate and escape from their daily routine.
6. No longer using coping mechanisms. Whether it is for their addiction or a co-occurring disorder, when productive coping mechanisms cease to be used by the recovering addicts, they are replaced with negative thoughts and urges to use the drug.
A significant sign that your clients may be relapsing is when they stop engaging in activities that were intended to be used as productive coping mechanisms or self-soothing techniques. They may stop going for walks, connecting with family members, writing, meditating, or engaging in activities that were once enjoyable.
7. Neglected the mind, body, and spirit. Abnormal changes in sleep, diet, and appearance are significant signs that the recovering addicts have not made their health a priority.
Your clients may have stopped attending church or may have stopped connecting to their faith. By ceasing to pray or connecting with people in the church community, the individual becomes isolated and may compensate with the use of drugs. Without taking care of oneself in body, mind, and spirit, it becomes easier for the addict to succumb to the effects of the substance and may lead into a cycle of depression.
It is absolutely crucial that you and your client create an individualized, comprehensive relapse prevention plan. This plan should include a scope of potential environmental and social stressors in the person’s environment that may elicit unwanted thoughts and behaviors. Establish a sense of normalcy with your client and make a schedule of daily responsibilities that must be completed every day with room for enjoyable activities. Recognizing the warning signs and following up with your client’s progress can make the difference in helping your client avoid a relapse.
Covenant Hills Treatment Center offers an extensive aftercare program that ensures a preventative relapse plan is individually designed to meet the needs of every client. Their professionally trained staff of therapists, counselors, and pastors are equipped in helping patients continue on the path of recovery when integrated back into their daily lives. With a foundation of faith and a committed staff, patients will learn to understand their difficult moments and avoid a relapse by using techniques learned in the Christian-based treatment approach. Call today at (800) 662-2873 to speak with a treatment specialist and receive a free evaluation.