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Why is Relapse Prevention Important?

Why is Relapse Prevention Important?

Whether you’re recovering from a mental illness or substance use disorder (SUD), relapse can affect your health, performance at work, and your personal life as well. Returning to work after spending some time in treatment can be daunting, and not establishing an action plan for your return could set you up for additional challenges in the future. If you’re about to leave a treatment program, it’s best to work closely with your healthcare team to identify ways that you can continue to seek support in order to maintain your recovery. Recovery is ongoing, and treatment should not be considered a “one-step” solution – each and every day, you must continue to employ the coping mechanisms and strategies you developed while in treatment.

A concern of many is that relapse equates failure, but that is simply not true. Relapse provides you with an opportunity to learn more about what is working for you and what isn’t, as well as what needs to be emphasized more. Workplace stressors can add more to work through in your recovery, so it’s important that you slowly ease back into your position once you leave treatment. There are some basics to establishing a relapse prevention plan, including:

  1.    Assessing your history with mental illness/substance abuse, and how you’ve generally reacted to triggering events in the past.
  2.    Identifying your triggers – this could be a person, place, situation, emotion, song, etc. Knowing what affects you can help you better act if discomfort arises.
  3.    Set goals for yourself and follow through with them. Although you’re returning to work, perhaps you want to set a goal to maintain your recovery by attending support groups weekly. Whatever your goals, be sure not to miss them. Make them a top priority in your life.
  4.    Construct a plan if relapse occurs. Who can you call? Where will you go? What additional steps will need to be taken in your recovery to ensure that you get back on the right track? By creating a plan, you are holding yourself accountable – and you are much more likely to follow through with your recovery maintenance plans.

A 2015 study published in The Lancet found that the practice of mindfulness could be incredibly beneficial to maintaining recovery and relapse prevention; mindfulness has been used for centuries and can help you overcome challenging urges while staying grounded in the present moment.

For more information on our treatment programs and services for professionals, call us today: 855-422-4129.

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