Substance Abuse Relapse: How to Overcome Mental Relapse
As people work to overcome addiction, they encounter a lot of challenges. There are many obstacles and situations that can make recovery difficult. Sometimes, these challenges cause people to relapse and return to substance abuse. Many people think that relapse happens as soon as an individual takes a drink or uses a drug again. But, that’s not the case. There are three main stages of relapse. The first is an emotional phase. In this stage of relapse, an individual deals with negative emotions. Although the person may not begin thinking about using again, he or she might begin to experience feelings that could eventually lead to relapse. Things like anxiety, depression, and a lack of motivation could impact a person in this phase. If these emotions go untreated, the person could move into the stage of mental relapse. It’s hard to work through this stage, so it’s good to learn how to avoid mental relapse.
What is Addiction Relapse?
The term “relapse” literally means to deteriorate or take a turn for the worst. People who are working to overcome addiction are in the process of recovery. But, it’s critical to remember that recovery is a lifelong journey. This means that there will continue to be situations that could cause a person to relapse. There will still be challenges. Sometimes, there will be moments that seem overwhelming. In truth, recovery never really ends. But the good news is that treatment works to provide people with the skills they need in order to prevent relapse and avoid returning to substance use. Relapse isn’t necessarily inevitable. But, once the first stage or relapse shows up, it’s important to do what you must in order to avoid falling into mental relapse. It’s hard to deal with emotional relapse. But, if you address the issues that this phase presents, you can avoid further issues.
Discussing Mental Relapse
Before we talk about how to work through and overcome mental relapse, let’s talk a little more about what this stage of relapse is. Signs of mental relapse include the following:
- Changes in behavior
- Loss of interest in some activities
- Thinking about using
- Thinking about people who used to use with you
- Spending time with such individuals
If you’ve recently begun your journey through recovery, you may have been faced with some of the negative emotions we mentioned earlier. Those emotions may have caused you to struggle until you began thinking about relapsing. If this has happened, then you may have entered the second stage of relapse, also known as mental relapse. There’s still hope, however. We’ve got some tips that can help you work through this stage and get back on track with your recovery.
Overcoming Mental Relapse in Your Life
Now that we’ve talked about what mental relapse is and mentioned some of its signs, let’s talk about how to get past it! As we said a little earlier, it’s difficult to overcome mental relapse. The very next stage is physical relapse. That’s when a person actually begins to use the drug again. But, there are some things you can do in order to avoid this from happening. If you’ve found yourself in a stage of mental relapse, you can:
- Find a healthy distraction. Spend time with family. Exercise or take a nice walk. By distracting yourself, you may be able to get past the urge of using.
- Think about the repercussions. What will happen if you use again? Is it worth it?
- Take some time and step away. Allow yourself to think and relax for just 30 minutes or so. This will help to relieve any stress you may be feeling, help you to practice mindfulness, and give you time to get past the urge to use.
- Talk about your emotions. Remember that emotional addiction relapse is characterized by bottling up emotions. Now that you’re in the mental phase of relapse, it’s important to find a way to release those emotions so that you don’t move into physical relapse. Speak to someone who can help you work through this stage in your life.