Understanding Relapse Risk Factors

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Understanding Relapse Risk Factors

Your recovery plan has two vital components. 1. Reduce the symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders and 2. prevent relapse. There are numerous threats along the way that must be conquered to maintain your long-term recovery. Consider the following risk factors: 

Intrapersonal Factors of Relapse include your mood, attitude, and approach to treatment. Many people have a high level of determination, but also recognize their vulnerability to urges and temptations. Physical illness and reaction to pain are also internal factors and add to the possibility of relapse. 

Interpersonal Factors of Relapse might include conflict with others, social and relational pressure, and the expectations and demands of others. Past abusive and neglectful treatment—or the fear of future violence, neglect, or abandonment—can add to interpersonal strife and increase the chance of relapse. 

Situational Factors of Relapse. Difficult circumstances and demanding situations increase fear, anger, and anxiety symptoms. Many people dwell on their fears, avoid reality, and medicate their depression with drugs and alcohol. Substance use provides an almost instant relief and means of escape. As continued addiction brings further conflict and negative consequences, the desire to escape escalates and adds to relapse risk. 

Responding to the Signs

Most people do not like to be pushed into treatment and become resistant, oppositional, and defiant. It is obviously difficult to get anything out of any treatment program when you spend time fighting it. The same is true in your recovery progression. Acceptance is the key. Become a keen observer of even subtle changes in your motivation or emerging signs of the risk factors mentioned above. Be ruthlessly honest with any slips or changes in your goals, thought life, mood, and behavior. Confide in a trusted, supportive friend, sponsor, or treatment professional. You can get better, become more responsible, increase your self-esteem, and cope with problems more effectively. Having a positive attitude is the necessary first step in maintaining recovery and decreasing relapse potential. 

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the ride!