Recovering from opiate addiction is a challenging process. Aside from the fact that addiction to opiates is considered as one of the most complicated and life-threatening addictions, putting a stop to this habit is a difficult and painful process. The addiction tendency remains in spite of successful treatment and various triggers are real challenges that need to be addressed.
Causes of relapse
According to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, there are several triggers or risk factors of relapse. They vary from person to person, depending on the situations, degree of addiction, length of treatment, root cause of addiction and so forth.
Relapse triggers include the following:
1. Curiosity to test the ability to control drug use
2. Drug cravings
3. Emotional/ Psychological condition: Anger, stress, trauma, loneliness, psychological problems and other emotional factors that increase the propensity to go back to drug use. Sometimes an argument with a significant other prompts a former addict to use drugs again.
4. Occasions/ parties
5. Withdrawal pains and other physical discomforts
The successful completion of drug treatment or a rehabilitation program is not the end of the recovery phase. Recovery is a life-long process for a former addict because of the temptations to succumb to drug use. However, it is possible to avoid relapse and to live a drug-free life by using tested and known method to avoid them.
Seven steps to avoid relapse
Most of the drug treatment programs incorporate relapse prevention in its educational series from the initial process of treatment until the day the recovering addicts finish the program. There are also aftercare treatment programs that offer a comprehensive and detailed procedure to avoid relapse.
Most of the substance abuse professionals suggest the following steps:
1. Forget the past.
It is important to have a new mind set. Remove the clutters from your memories and the things that remind you of pain, struggles and emotional conditions that once caused you to seek for comfort in drugs. It may require you to move to a new house or city if you have the chance to do it. A change of setting may open new doors of opportunities for you and help you forget about the things that once made you feel miserable. Wherever you go, ensure that you are happy to be in that new place. Be sure to contact the nearest recovery clinic so that you will have a continued evaluation and support treatment if needed.
If moving to a new city or town is not possible, try to make some minor changes to your place. Replace the paint of your walls, change the colors of your linens and beddings and other minor things. If there is any item in the house that remind you of unpleasant feelings or uncomfortable events that led to drug use, throw it away.
2. Break off unhealthy relationships
It is a big mistake to hang out with old drug buddies. It may mean staying away from significant others who are unsupportive of your new lifestyle. It may be difficult to do this at first, but in the long run, you will realize the benefits of ending unhealthy relationships. Avoid going out with people who like to go to bars or clubs. Drinking weakens a person’s resolve to refuse offers of drugs and it may start a new cycle of addiction.
3. Build a supportive social network
Stay with people who will have good influences upon your life. Join a support group, a church or a community that strongly resists any type of addiction. It is imperative to have friends who are not drug addicts or alcoholics. People who have successfully recovered from drugs and alcohol are also good influences because they can inspire you to get ahead of life without major setbacks caused by substance abuse. You can learn from their stories and be inspired to face the hurdles of continuous recovery without the fear that you can’t make it.
4. Exercise caution with medications
Be honest with your dentist or doctor about your drug history in order to receive alternatives or minimum dose of medication if needed. In case of surgery and other medical procedures, it is important to find a medical professional who will understand your condition and exercise caution in prescribing medications.
It is also indispensable to avoid prescription drugs that have drug abuse potential like anxiolytic drugs, painkillers, sleeping pills and the like. If taking them is necessary, inform your provider about your drug history for a strictly supervised medication.
5. Learn stress reduction techniques
Consider the things that stress you out. Then, find healthy ways to cope up with them without turning to drugs. How do you calm down after an argument? Or, how do you unwind after a very bad day? Analyze these scenarios and think of the things you can do to face these situations positively.
6. Keep yourself busy
There is a saying that an idle mind is an evil mind. Fill your mind with creativity and positive interests like new hobbies that you will be passionate about or new projects that will utilize your imagination. Get into sports, or try an additional job that will make you happy and satisfied.
7: Keep the line of communication open with your recovery doctors
Tell your methadone doctors or recovery doctors about your issues, fears, difficulties and the like. They have to know what issues you are facing in order to provide you with a sound advice and proper medical intervention. Though you want to keep some things for yourself, remember to call them when these issues trigger drug use again.
Recovery doesn’t happen overnight and not everyone who seeks treatment fully recovers. Therefore it will take a lot of self-discipline on your part to stick to the relapse prevention program. Nonetheless, if you fail take courage to rise up again. Talk to your recovery doctors in times of failures. They may prescribe relapse methadone maintenance or other alternatives. When you’re sober, discuss with them the things that triggered your relapse. Upon a careful analysis of the situation, you and your recovery doctor or therapist can look for alternative ways to deal with the situation in a positive manner to avoid resulting to drug use. Before you know it the opiate addiction relapse incidence diminishes until you fully live a drug-free life.
Visit http://www.sober.com for more helpful articles on alcoholism, drug addiction and recovery. Search our directory of over 20,000 treatment centers, recovery doctors, halfway and sober houses.
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