Recovering from an addiction can take time, effort, and treatment. When you or a loved one has completed a treatment program and has returned to normal activities, temptations to use a substance can arise. Although it can be challenging at first, there are ways to reduce the risk of relapse.

Avoid Triggers

During treatment, it is likely that you or a loved one will explore potential triggers that can make substance use tempting. By taking steps to avoid those triggers, you can decrease the likelihood of relapse.

Relapse prevention starts with determining the triggers that may lead to substance use. When you avoid or limit your exposure to those triggers, the risk of relapsing is reduced.

Find Healthy Coping Strategies

The best way to face temptations or cravings for a substance can depend on the individual. Coping strategies that work for one individual may not always work for another person; however, learning healthy and safe ways to deal with stress, anxiety, or any mental health disorders that may be causing an addiction can reduce the risk of relapsing in the future.

During treatment, you or a loved one will explore different methods of coping with stress. Since a personalized treatment plan is developed, the methods that may be introduced during treatment can vary.

After leaving the treatment program, you can use those coping strategies to help reduce your risk of relapse. The National Institutes on Health suggest that coping plays a key role in temptation. When you or a loved one turn to the substance to cope with difficult or stressful situations, it can result in addiction. On the other hand, using strategies to reduce stress like exercise can be a healthy way to cope and reduce cravings as well.

Develop a Schedule

Psych Central suggests that you or your loved one create a schedule to help reduce the risk of relapse. A schedule will give clear instructions on where you are expected, what you should be doing, and when you should accomplish specific tasks. It keeps you distracted from any cravings or temptations that may arise, and helps you avoid any situations that can make a substance seem tempting.

Scheduling is a simple way to avoid boredom and potential temptations. It ensures that your mind is occupied with your responsibilities, and it gives you a way to limit your exposure to potential risks.

Continue Treatment

Never skip aftercare sessions, therapy, or other treatment services. Continue seeking treatment in the form of counseling, group therapy, or family therapy after the initial treatment is completed.

Psych Central explains that complacency is a major cause of addiction relapse. When you let your guard down and assume that you have fully recovered, it is easy to return to old habits or patterns. You need to remember that addiction is a complicated disease and that it can take time and effort before you fully recover. The initial treatment is the first step, but it is only the first phase of recovery.

When you are going through an aftercare program, ask about different treatment services that are available. Stay up-to-date with therapy and ask about additional solutions that may be available in your situation. If it is necessary, then continue treatment for any mental health disorders that were identified during addiction treatment. In many cases, addiction can stem from a mental health disorder and refusing treatment for the condition can result in a relapse.

Get Help Immediately

Addiction Treatment Magazine explains that relapse can happen at any time, but that does not mean you cannot persist in your recovery goals. Do not allow a relapse on a substance to prevent you or your loved one from trying to recover.

When a relapse occurs, seek professional help immediately. Get back into inpatient treatment or start an intensive outpatient program to get back on track. It is always possible to start over when you or a loved one makes a mistake, but the first step is admitting that a mistake occurred.

There are ways to reduce the risk of relapsing or to recover from a relapse when it happens. By finding realistic solutions, you or your loved one can continue working toward recovery goals.