Pathways Wellness

4 Ways to Avoid Relapse During Outpatient Treatment

4 Ways to Avoid Relapse During Outpatient Treatment
Raul Haro
May 1, 2023
Many people think of relapse as a part of the recovery process. However, relapse is not an inevitability. You can use preventative strategies and techniques to avoid relapse and cope with stressors. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), "Within the relapse process, there are many opportunities for the individual to intervene, reengage with […]
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4 Ways to Avoid Relapse During Outpatient Treatment

Many people think of relapse as a part of the recovery process. However, relapse is not an inevitability. You can use preventative strategies and techniques to avoid relapse and cope with stressors. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), "Within the relapse process, there are many opportunities for the individual to intervene, reengage with recovery-oriented behaviors, and get back on track with recovery." Outpatient treatment provides clients with the tools they need to manage a potential relapse. 

What Can Cause a Relapse?

Relapse or a lapse in routine can cause someone to misuse substances during recovery. In many cases, a relapse follows moments of high stress. Individuals with a low-stress threshold may struggle to cope with intrusive thoughts or cravings during rehabilitation and early recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), "Science has taught us that stress cues linked to the drug use (such as people, places, things, and moods), and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse." 

Some of the triggers people encounter during treatment and ongoing recovery include: 

  • Witnessing or hearing about others taking part in substance misuse 
  • Being in environments where substances are misused 
  • Interacting with friends or loved ones who actively misuse substances 
  • Being reminded of past substance misuse 
  • Flashbacks, cravings, or intrusive thoughts 
  • Acute or chronic stress at home, school, or work

A relapse can be caused by anything that makes someone want to misuse substances. Relationships issues, workplace pressure, and chronic stress can contribute to a return to maladaptive behaviors. 

Outpatient Treatment at Pathways Wellness Center: Reduce Your Risk of Relapse

You can take specific steps to control your environment and protect yourself from the dangers of relapse. Prevention strategies play an essential role in aftercare and early recovery. However, some people have a higher risk of relapse and require additional support, such as outpatient treatment, to maintain sobriety. 

Some common risk factors that can contribute to emotional or physical relapse include: 

  • Access to alcohol and other substances 
  • High-stress environments 
  • Inability to cope with minor stressors 
  • Trauma and emotional triggers 
  • Lack of a support system 

You can reduce your risk of relapse by holding yourself accountable, using your resources, and practicing regular self-care. 

Outpatient Treatment: 4 Ways to Prevent Relapse

Preventing relapse takes more than a desire to remain sober and healthy. You need to anticipate potential problems and think of possible solutions to help you overcome them. Below are four things you can do to reduce your risk of relapsing during recovery. 

#1. Use Your Resources

Outpatient treatment at Pathways Wellness Center provides you with a long list of support services and coping tools you can use to recognize the signs of relapse and avoid falling back into old routines. You can use these resources to monitor your progress, increase self-awareness, and reduce stress. Examples of things you can use to protect your sobriety during outpatient treatment include: 

  • Peer support 
  • Individual therapy
  • Prescription medication 

#2. Listen to Your Support System

Your support system consists of the people who care deeply about your health and recovery. If you worry about relapsing, you can take advantage of their outside perspective by doing the following:

  • Asking if they notice any shifts in your behaviors that you may not have noticed 
  • Spending more time together to keep you accountable for your behavior 
  • Asking for their advice on changes you can make to decrease the risk of relapse 

#3. Identify and Avoid Potential Triggers

Part of outpatient treatment involves learning to identify and overcome potential triggers or stressors in your environment. Your therapist can help you learn how to recognize the signs of triggers and come up with healthy solutions for avoiding or coping with them. 

#4. Stay Accountable for Your Actions

Self-accountability is essential to maintaining sobriety. However, in early recovery, you can benefit from remaining accountable to your support system and care team. By honoring their trust, you will feel more confident about your ability to remain sober using the tools you learned in treatment. 

Relapse Is Not a Moral Failing

People do not relapse because they lack moral character or want to fail. If you lapse into old habits, you can still successfully achieve and maintain sobriety. A relapse is a symptom of a disorder and not an indication that you want to continue misusing substances. 

Outpatient Treatment Provides Essential Skills

Our treatment program provides essential skills development. In addition, our care team ensures every client has a comprehensive relapse prevention strategy in place before they transition to aftercare. We also offer alumni services to help people maintain sobriety after completing our programs. You can recover from substance use disorder (SUD) and build a healthier future for yourself. 

Relapse does not invalidate all your hard work or your recovery. By educating yourself and the people around you about the realities of addiction and recovery, you can combat stigmas that imply relapsing is a moral failing.

At Pathways Wellness Center, we understand that you might have additional responsibilities such as work and family. Therefore, our outpatient treatment's formal structure and flexible schedule allow you to continue receiving the support you need to maintain sobriety without shielding you from real-world situations. You can recover from substance misuse and mental health issues with the help of our outpatient treatment plans. We can help you and your loved ones heal and grow. Recovery does not have to limit you from achieving your personal or professional goals. To learn more about our programs and services, you can reach out to our office today at (888) 771-0966 to speak with a representative. 

About the Author

Raul Haro
Raul Haro is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with sixteen years of experience working in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. As an LMFT, He has trained in trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR. Raul has furthered his training in the drug and alcohol field by obtaining a Masters in Drug and Alcohol Counseling through CCAPP. Raul has a background in nursing where he has been an LVN for over 25 years. Recently, he has returned to school to complete a degree in Registered Nursing. Future plans are for Raul are to eventually complete a degree as a Nurse Practitioner combining his therapy practice with his nursing skills.

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