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7 Relapse Tips During The Pandemic Season

September 28, 2021

The onset of COVID-19 has been rough on everyone, and particularly on recovering addicts. Patients are forced into isolation which means a spike in depressive episodes, loneliness, and an overall lack of hope.

Recent statistics revealed that relapse cases have increased. There are more emergency calls to suicide hotlines, increased alcohol sales, and overdose-related deaths.

The pandemic doesn’t mean that patients should give up hope for a full recovery. There are measures that can be taken to ensure that they stay sober. These tips will help strengthen their resolve to resist the temptation to fall back into old, toxic behaviors so that they won’t undo their progress.

Relapse Prevention Tips

Stay Connected

Just because we are all mandated to physically distance ourselves from one another doesn’t mean that we have to cut off contact with everyone else. Technology allows people to stay connected digitally, from phone calls to video chats. Make time to talk and stay connected with your loved ones.

Regular calls allow recovering patients to stay updated about their loved ones. It establishes a sense of connectedness so that they won’t feel alone. Aside from calls, there are other online activities that one can do with friends and family. These include Netflix parties, games, and more.

Continue With Treatment

Just because the pandemic happened doesn’t mean that the treatment should stop. Some rehab centers still accept in-patient treatment as long as the patient complies with requirements like a negative swab test result and agrees to complete isolation.

Outpatient treatment often includes support group sessions and therapy. These can be continued online in the form of video conferences. 

It’s very important to find a way to proceed with treatment since abruptly quitting may undo all of the progress so far. These periodic check-ins may feel insignificant but they are very impactful on the continuity of the treatment. It establishes an accountability system that prevents the patient from relapsing.

Establish A Routine

Routines are important for healing. They give the patient a sense of stability and purpose for each day. 

These routines must be composed of activities that enforce healthy habits. Healthy habits enforce a good lifestyle which is a recovering patient’s first line of defense against temptations. When they have a healthy body and a sound mind, they are less likely to make irrational decisions that can undo their progress. 

Set a routine which involves waking up early each day, some sort of physical activity, meditation, eating three healthy meals, and doing productive activities that nourish the mind like reading. 

Fill Up Your Schedule

Boredom is perhaps the biggest relapse trigger. Too much available time allows the patient to wallow in their negative thoughts. This can quickly spiral into a depressive episode which then results in a relapse. They will feel like alcohol or addictive substances are the only viable escape from their sad reality.

There are countless ways to stay engaged while staying indoors. These activities include reading, creating art, picking up a new hobby, and more. These activities are productive and they establish a healthy routine for the patient. They also provide a sense of accomplishment which is a great motivator for recovering patients.

Cut Off Contact From People From The Past

During the dark time of the pandemic, it is tempting for recovering patients to call their old suppliers or other people that enabled their past. It is important for them to remain cut off from these people. Their contact information must be deleted from their phones and they should be prohibited from communicating with the patient.

An accountability buddy can also help. This can be a trusted friend or loved one who will check the patient’s phone records and other modes of communication to ensure that they are indeed isolating themselves from these toxic individuals.

Do Not Hesitate To Call For Help

There will definitely be days when the isolation and loneliness will get to the patient to the point of them wanting to relapse. It is very important for them to recognize that help will always be available and that they just need to know how to reach out.

Loved ones can practice availability and openness so that they will come off as approachable. Additionally, it helps to have a copy of the emergency hotlines’ contact numbers so that the patient can easily call them when necessary.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most underrated yet impactful defenses against a relapse. This mindset reframes the patient’s worldview. Their ability to be thankful for another shot at life makes them appreciate each day more. This also instills positive psychology which compels them to care for themselves better.

One effective way to practice gratitude is through gratitude journaling. This is the act of listing down at least three things that the patient is thankful for. This should be done every day, preferably in the morning as soon as they wake up.

Gratitude journaling in the morning sets them off on the right foot. The act of listing down the things they are grateful for allows them to really appreciate all the good things in their lives. This could be anything, from the good weather that day to the supportive family that they have. These things give them a reason to fight and live a clean life. This also makes them aware of the good things that they will lose the moment they choose to relapse.

Relapse is a challenging issue to combat, especially in an era where everyone is advised to stay at home and be by themselves. However, it can be avoided with the relapse tips mentioned above. 

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