Life Events that Can Trigger Relapse
The journey towards long-lasting opioid recovery is filled with twists and turns for many patients in treatment. One of the focuses of a well-balanced opioid recovery treatment program is relapse prevention counseling. This form of counseling helps patients navigate the road before them more smoothly. As those in outpatient treatment begin to rework their lives and better their overall wellbeing, they will still come across certain life circumstances and situations that pose as road bumps or detours on their path. The best way to prevent stalling positive recovery progress is by becoming aware of potential relapse triggers and learning to prepare for them and handle them successfully.
Rebuilding a life after addiction often involves establishing financial independence and re-entering the workforce. This step is vital for so many with substance use disorder as it gives them an opportunity to feel like they’re once again a functioning member of society. However, the loss of employment and other forms of economic insecurity can lead to potentially triggering anxiety and stress, making the threat of relapse must stronger.
Illness or Injury
When working hard to improve mental and physical health, those in opioid recovery may face some medical-related consequences of prolonged substance misuse and addiction. An injury, dual diagnosis, or other advanced or terminal condition can bring with it much emotional and mental despair. These strong emotions combined with the complication of managing chronic pain while in opioid recovery could become a threat to a patient’s long-term sobriety.
Many people in opioid recovery will struggle to rekindle friendships, repair relations with loved ones, and rebuild or pursue romantic relationships. These intrapersonal connections often carry some baggage caused by addiction and the experiences it brought upon for all parties involved, making them complicated. Managing turbulent emotions can be difficult in recovery when basic human needs like feeling loved and accepted are not being met, making these conflicts a looming threat for relapse triggers.
Loss of a Loved One
Death is difficult to process for anyone, whether they’re in opioid recovery or not. The loss of a loved one may trigger those who have turned to substance use in the past as a coping method for their untreated trauma or emotions, even those well into long-term recovery. While death is something a person can never fully prepare for, the emotional struggles that mourning brings can pose as relapse triggers.
Every patient in treatment or opioid recovery will find themselves in substance counseling to address relapse prevention for the future. Working on these coping skills and raising awareness with frequent therapy can better prepare a person to overcome hardships that may come along the way. Each of these potentially relapse-inducing situations is possible, making relapse prevention counseling an integral part of the recovery process. While all relapse triggers are impossible to avoid in life, building the correct tools to handle these stressful and emotionally trying events could be a life-saving measure for those in opioid recovery.