How to Build a Long-Standing Relapse Prevention Plan

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What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

Substance use disorder is a disease, and just like with many chronic illnesses, experts believe relapse is a part of recovery. Although patients work hard to battle triggers and rebuild what addiction has taken from their lives, relapse can happen even to the most dedicated people. It’s of most importance to recognize that relapse is only a setback, not a failure, however. Equally vital is for all people in recovery to prepare a relapse prevention plan to help prevent these devastating roadblocks on their journey towards long-lasting recovery.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

Crafting a strategy in case things become difficult in recovery can be an invaluable way to recognize and fight through emotional, mental, and eventual physical relapse. With a prevention plan in place, those in recovery have time to acknowledge they may be struggling emotionally and mentally before it becomes so overwhelming that they resort to substance misuse.

Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

The steps involved in creating such a plan are usually discussed with a substance use counselor during individual sessions through a comprehensive medication-assisted treatment program.

Substance use history.

Most effective when written down, patients are asked various questions about their history with drugs and alcohol with specific details such as specific times, people involved, and other patterns that can be followed. Previous relapse events are also taken into consideration during this portion of the process to pinpoint details that can be deemed red flags for the future.

Determine the signs.

Patients are tasked with brainstorming a list of possible scenarios that may lead them to potential relapse while also keeping typical relapse warning signs in mind. Many feel that they begin to think, feel, and act differently when struggling with their sobriety, and relapse could be on the horizon.

Make a plan of action.

It can be nearly impossible to stop a speeding train when dealing with troubling thoughts and emotions before relapse. With a pre-planned action plan ready, it’s much easier to go along with established steps. Instead of substance use, patients are encouraged to have a list of most trusted people to call, a safe place to go away from harm, and most importantly, what to do if relapse occurs.

In case physical relapse happens, patients who include a “bounce back” plan are more likely to get right back on track with treatment without spiraling into months-long dangerous misuse. Treatment centers encourage patients to contact their facility or medical provider immediately should relapse occur so they can be assisted immediately to prevent possible overdose or further use.

BAART Programs provide those struggling with substance use disorder with an opportunity to address and treat their addiction using evidence-based methods in professional and private outpatient facilities. With the help of compassionate and specialized medical providers and nursing staff, patients are treated with respect and dignity while working to achieve long-lasting recovery. Our experienced and knowledgeable intake coordinators and administrative staff are prepared to answer any questions about receiving opioid addiction treatment at our facilities, so message or call the closest BAART location today.

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Medically Reviewed By:

Cris Villalon

Cris Villalon