Relapse Prevention: Strategies to Avoid Triggers

One goal of treatment is to help people learn to recognize the signs of relapse during the early stages to increase the chances of a successful recovery. Addiction Resource is an educational platform for sharing and disseminating information about addiction and substance abuse recovery centers. Addiction Resource is not a healthcare provider, nor does it claim to offer sound medical advice to anyone. Addiction Resource does not favor or support any specific recovery center, nor do we claim to ensure the quality, validity, or effectiveness of any particular treatment center.

  • There are a vast array of relapse prevention tools one can implement into their daily routine to help prevent relapse.
  • Some common options may include reaching out for help immediately, attending self-help groups, avoiding further contact with potential triggers such as alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • 3) Clients feel they are not learning anything new at self-help meetings and begin to go less frequently.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy entails examining life experiences and thought patterns, and reshaping one’s thinking positively rather than succumbing to negative self-talk.

Specific Intervention strategies in Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention (RP) is a strategy for reducing the likelihood and severity of relapse following the cessation or reduction of problematic behaviours4. One particularly notable innovation to the Relapse Prevention (RP) model is Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP). In this related approach, clinicians teach patients mindful meditation to help them cope with potentially triggering thoughts, feelings, and situations. All treatments for substance use disorder (SUD), in a way, are intended to prevent relapse. The treatment called Relapse Prevention (RP), however, refers to a specific intervention. When we practice mindfulness and grow familiar with the reoccurring thoughts that trigger us, we can make a game plan around them.

Holistic-Based Recovery Services

relapse prevention skills

A setback can be any behavior that moves an individual closer to physical relapse. Some examples of setbacks are not setting healthy boundaries, not asking for help, not avoiding high-risk situations, and not practicing self-care. A setback does not have to end in relapse to be worthy of discussion in therapy. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps identify negative thoughts that lead to substance abuse.

Relapse After Recovery

If you can hold on for just a few minutes, you can almostalways overcome your cravings. To help you with this, here’s aneasy-to-remember coping strategy (The Four Ds) to get you safely past the 20minute danger zone. Understanding what emotional intelligence looks like and the steps needed to improve it could light a path to a more emotionally adept world.

  • The results often inform contingency management programs (discussed above) of drug tests.
  • Interpersonal relationships and support systems are highly influenced by intrapersonal processes such as emotion, coping, and expectancies18.

relapse prevention skills

Manage Stress Levels

  • Discussions often revolve around dealing with everyday situations without turning to substances.
  • They also provide counseling services to teach healthier coping strategies for stress and negative emotions.
  • More research is needed to understand whether ethno-racial minorities show differential benefit, and if so, whether culturally adapted versions of RP can help address it.
  • Someone who has grown dependent on a substance may not feel “normal” without it.

Relapse Prevention Strategies and Techniques for Addiction

  • In addition to getting professional treatment, avoiding your triggers, finding social support, caring for yourself, and managing stress can help prevent future relapse.
  • In addiction, relapse occurs when a person resumes drug or alcohol use after a period of sobriety.
  • With the right support and the essential tools for recovery, the next attempt could be the one that endures.


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