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Relapse Prevention

Feb 03, 2022

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Who Am I?
• Born and raised in Bethel • Live in Juneau • Masters Degree from Alaska Pacific University • Previously worked as a Directing Clinician/BHA Supervisor at YKHC • Licensed Professional Counselor • Behavioral Health Aide & Practitioner’s Instructor
• Passionate about training others to provide necessary behavioral health services in rural and underserved communities in Alaska
Stop me to ask questions ANY time!
Objectives
• Recognize when a client is in the Maintenance stage
• Describe common triggers for relapse to their clients
• Recognize that relapse is a process, including emotional, mental and physical relapse
• Describe common relapse warning signs to their clients
• Describe helpful coping skills to prevent relapse to their clients
• Complete a relapse prevention plan with their clients
Introductions
•Your name •Your favorite self-care activity that you do for yourself
Importance of Relapse Prevention • The relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40%
and 60%.
• The chronic nature of addiction means that for many people relapse can be part of the process.
• As a BHA, the majority of your work will be with clients experiencing issues related to Substance Abuse. First we will start by learning about the Stages of Change.
• The Stages of Change is described more in depth in your eBHAM Chapter D-2: Substance Use and Abuse
Pre-contemplation
• Definition: The client is not yet considering a change, is unwilling to change, or is unable to change.
• Primary task: Raising awareness.
Contemplation
• Definition: The client is aware of the need to change but is uncertain about the change.
• Primary task: Resolving uncertainty and helping the client to choose change.
Preparation
• Definition: The client is committed to change and planning how to change.
• Primary task: Identifying appropriate change strategies.
Action
• Definition: The client is taking steps toward change, but is not yet stabilized in the change.
• Primary task: Supporting change strategies and helping the client reduce the risk of relapse.
Maintenance
• Definition: The client has achieved goals and is working to maintain the change.
• Primary task: Developing new skills to maintain recovery.
Recurrence/Relapse
• Definition: The client has “slipped” and used the substance again.
• Primary task: Coping with the consequences and determining what to do next
Review of the Stages
Identify the Stage- Steve
• Steve is a 58-year-old fisherman. One day after a long day of fishing (and drinking beer) on the boat, he was driving home and was stopped by the police. He was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and is now court-ordered to get a substance use assessment and follow your treatment recommendations.
• During the assessment, you ask Steve if he wants to quit drinking and he says, “No, I don’t have a problem with drinking. I’m not an alcoholic, I just had a few beers with the crew on the boat and there’s nothing wrong with that. I am not quitting no matter what the judge says.”
• Which stage of change is Steve in (pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, or relapse)?
Steve- Precontemplation
Identify the Stage- Mike
• Mike has been smoking pot every day for about five years. He doesn't have a job and doesn't care to get one, so passing the employment drug test wasn’t an issue until now.
• Recently, a few of his friends moved to Anchorage and got a job, and Mike wanted to join them and work at the same company. He decided he wanted to quit smoking pot a couple of months back, but hasn’t quit yet. He is working on finding other small jobs before he quits.
• Which stage of change is Mike in?
Mike- Preparation
Identify the Stage- Paul
• Paul had an addiction to alcohol that was causing problems in all areas of his life. After losing his job, he became worried about also losing his family too, and decided to get help. That was about 11 months ago. He hasn’t had a drink since going to treatment.
• Which stage of change is Paul in?
Paul- Maintenance
Maintenance
During the Maintenance stage, you will need to help your clients learn new strategies to prevent relapse. Part of this stage is creating a solid relapse prevention plan. But first, you must help your clients identify their triggers.
Common Triggers • 1. HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired • The acronym HALT is used to describe high-risk situations for those in
recovery. • If recovery is their priority, then making sure they avoid becoming too
hungry, angry, lonely, or tired will also need to become priorities. • 2. Emotions • Perceived negative emotions often lead people to use drugs or alcohol in
the first place and can easily lead a person back to their drug of choice. • It is, however, impossible to avoid feeling sad, angry, guilty, or lonely all the
time. Experiencing these emotions is normal and an important aspect of recovery (and life) – but they are uncomfortable! Learning coping skills to manage these emotions is crucial to recovery.
Common Triggers • 3. Stress
• Stress could possibly be the number-one addiction relapse trigger because of its broad range of effects on the mind and body. Losing a job or loved one, increased responsibility at home or work, and health problems can all create increased stress.
• 4. Over-confidence
• Becoming over-confident in recovery puts people at risk for relapse. After some time in recovery, as life starts to even out, they may begin to feel like they no longer need to follow their relapse prevention plan. Always remind them that addiction is a chronic disease; no matter how strong they feel they will likely never be able to have “just one.”
Common Triggers • 5. Mental or physical illness
• Depression, anxiety, and other underlying mental illnesses can trigger drug or alcohol relapse.
• Physical illness and pain can also put people at risk for relapsing, as their body is stressed.
• 6. Social isolation
• Reluctance to reach out to others can lead to social isolation and loneliness. The more they become socially isolated, the easier it is to rationalize drug or alcohol use to themselves.
Common Triggers • 7. Sex and relationships • A common, but often ignored suggestion is to avoid dating in recovery for the first
year. There are many reasons for this, one being that new romantic relationships can put people at risk for relapse. A break up with a new partner could lead them back to using due to emotional stress.
• If they are already in a relationship or married before being in recovery, focus needs to be on the relationship and ensuring it is healthy and supportive of recovery.
• 8. Positive life events/Celebrations • Positive life events are often overlooked as relapse triggers. People may fall into
the false idea that celebrating with a drink or drug ‘just this once’ will be ok.
• While positive life events are exciting and can boost confidence, it may also come with added responsibility, pressure, and stress. That’s why it is important to make a plan for how they will celebrate without drugs or alcohol in advance of actually being in this situation.
Common Triggers • 9. Reminiscing about or glamorizing past drug use • Relapse is a process. If you find your clients reminiscing about times when they
used to drink or use in a way that overlooks the pain and suffering their addiction caused, this is a major red flag.
• Reminiscing can lead to the addictive brain taking over once again. Talking about past use can lead to thinking about future use, and quickly turn into action.
• 10. Social situations or places where drugs are available • Another one of the most common relapse triggers is putting themselves in
situations where drugs and alcohol are available
Three Types of Relapse
• Emotional
• Mental
• Physical
Who has an idea of what an emotional or mental relapse might be?
Emotional Relapse In emotional relapse, they’re not thinking about using. But their emotions and behaviors are setting them up for a possible relapse in the future. Examples:
• Restless, Irritable
• Poor eating habits
• Poor sleep habit
Mental Relapse In mental relapse there's a war going on in their mind. Part of them wants to use, but part of them doesn’t. Examples:
• Thinking about people, places, and things they used with
• Glamorizing their past use
• Fantasizing about using
• Thinking about relapsing
• Planning their relapse around other people's schedules
It gets harder to make the right choices as the pull of addiction gets stronger.
Physical Relapse Physical Relapse are actions and behaviors that lead to relapse. Examples:
• Driving to the liquor store
• Asking someone for booze
37 Relapse Warning Signs by Terrence Gorski & Marlene Miller
Concern about well being Loss of planning Irregular sleeping habits Conscious lying
Denial of the concern Plans begin to fail Loss of daily structure Loss of control
Believing “I’ll never use again”
Daydreaming Major depression Unreasonable resentment
Worrying about others instead of self
Feelings that nothing can be solved
Irregular attendance Infrequent treatment attendance
Defensiveness Immature wish to be happy Development of “I don’t care “attitude
Overwhelming loneliness or anger
Compulsive behavior Periods of confusion Dissatisfaction of life Loss of behavioral control
Impulsive behavior Easily angered Feelings of powerlessness Acute relapse period
Loneliness Irregular eating habits Self pity _________?
Minor depression Irritation with friends Open rejection of help _________?
Tunnel vision Lack of desire to take action Thoughts of social using _________?
Preventing Relapse
• Now that you are familiar with the common triggers and warning signs, and the process of relapse, it is now time to learn about coping skills for relapse.
• Teach your clients about the importance of coping skills.
• Help them brainstorm coping skills to try.
• Include effective coping skills in their relapse prevention plan.
Coping Skills for Relapse
Relapse Prevention Coping Menu-Youth
Relapse Prevention Planning Session
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuzjPZPZtJs (8 minutes)
• This video shows how a session can look between you and your client: • Review where they’re at in recovery • Identify triggers • Identify coping skills to use • Put the plan on paper
Relapse Prevention Template #1
Relapse Prevention Template #2
Relapse Prevention Template #3
• Choose 1 of the 3 templates
• Decide a behavior you’d like to stop or have stopped recently
• Complete a RP plan for that behavior on paper
• Be prepared to share it with the class
Share With The Class
• Volunteers to share their thoughts on any of these questions?
• 1) What was it like to complete a RP plan?
• 2) Will this plan be helpful to you?
• 3) How will doing this plan today help you with your clients?
Any questions?
• https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com/blog/10-most-common-addiction- relapse-triggers/
• https://www.addicitonsandrecovery.org
• https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
Provided by TherapistAid.com © 2014
Coping Skills: List activities or skills you enjoy that can get your mind off of using.
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Social Support: Who are three people you can talk to if you are thinking about using?
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Consequences: How will your life change if you relapse? How about if you stay sober?
Outcomes of Relapse Outcomes of Sobriety
Tips to avoid relapse:
Cravings will eventually pass. Do your best to distract yourself and ride it out.
Don’t become complacent. Relapse can happen years after you’ve quit using. It
probably won’t ever be safe to “just have one”.
Avoid situations that you know will put you at risk of relapse, such as spending time
with friends who use drugs or going places that remind you of your past use.
The decision to relapse is made when you put yourself in risky situations, long before
you actually use.
Don’t view relapse as a failure. Falling back into old patterns because of a slip will
only make the situation worse.
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Five people who I can call to help me get through a craving:
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Five things I can do to get my mind off of using:
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http://www.therapistaid.com/
37 Warning Signs of Relapse- by Terence Gorski and Marlene Miller
1. Concern about well-being: The addict feels uneasy, afraid and anxious. At times s/he is afraid of not
being able to stay drug-free.
2. Denial of the concern: In order to tolerate these periods of worry, fear and anxiety, the addict
ignores or denies these feelings in the same way s/he had at other times denied being addicted. The
denial may be so strong that there is no awareness of it while it is happening
3. Believing “I’ll never use again”: The addict convinces self that s/he will never use again and
sometimes will tell this to others, but usually keeps it to self. Believing this causes the addict to not
work as hard in recovery.
4. Worrying about others instead of self: The addict becomes more concerned with the recovery of
others than with personal recovery. S/he doesn’t talk directly about these concerns, but privately
judges the recovery programs of other recovering persons.
5. Defensiveness: The addict has a tendency to defend themselves when talking about personal
problems, feelings or his/her recovery program even when no defense is necessary.
6. Compulsive behavior: The addict becomes compulsive (“stuck” or “fixed” or “rigid”) in the way s/he
thinks and behaves. There is a tendency to do the same things over and over again without a good
reason. There is a tendency to control conversations either by talking too much or not talking at all.
7. Impulsive behavior: Sometimes the rigid behavior is interrupted by actions taken without thought or
self-control. This usually happens at times of high stress. Sometimes these impulsive actions cause the
addict to make decisions that seriously damage his/her life and recovery program.
8. Tendencies towards loneliness: The addict begins to spend more time alone. S/he usually has good
reasons and excuses for staying away from other people. These periods of being alone begin to occur
more often and the addict begins to feel more and more lonely. Instead of dealing with the loneliness
by trying to meet and be around other people, he or she becomes more compulsive and impulsive.
9. Tunnel vision: Tunnel vision is seeing only one small part of life and not being able to see “The big
picture.” The addict looks at life as being made up of separate, unrelated parts. S/he focuses on one
part without looking at other parts or how they are related. Sometimes this creates the mistaken belief
that everything is secure and going well. At other times, this results in seeing only what is going
wrong. Small problems are blown up out of proportion.
10. Minor depression: Symptoms of depression begin to appear and to persist. The person feels down,
blue, listless, empty of feelings. Oversleeping becomes common.
11. Loss of constructive planning: The addict stops planning each day and the future. S/he often
mistakes the slogan “One day at a time” to mean that one shouldn’t plan or think about what s/he is
going to do. Less and less attention is paid to details. S/he becomes listless. Plans are based more on
wishful thinking (how the addict wishes things would be) than reality (how things really are)
12.Plans begin to fail: Because s/he makes plans that are not realistic and does not pay attention to
details, plans begin to fail. Each failure causes new life problems. Some of these problems are similar to
the problems that had occurred during using. S/he often feels guilty and remorseful when the problems
occur.
13. Daydreaming and wishful thinking: It becomes more difficult to concentrate. The “if only”
syndrome becomes more common in conversation. The addict begins to have fantasies of escaping or
“being rescued from it all” by an event unlikely to happen.
14. Feelings that nothing can be solved: A sense of failure begins to develop. The failure may be real,
or it may be imagined. Small failures are exaggerated and blown out of proportion. The belief that “I’ve
tried my best and recovery isn’t working” begins to develop.
15. Immature wish to be happy: A vague desire “to be happy” or to have “things work out” develops
without the person identifying what is necessary to be happy or have things work out. “Magical
thinking” is used: wanting things to get better without doing anything to make them better.
16. Periods of confusion: Periods of confusion become more frequent, last longer and cause more
problems. The addict often feels angry with self because of the inability to figure things out.
17. Irritation with friends: Relationships become strained with friends, family, counselors and
fellowship members. The addict feels threatened when these people talk about the changes in behavior
and mood that are becoming apparent
18. Easily angered: The addict experiences episodes of anger, frustration, resentment and irritability for
no real reason. Overreaction to small things becomes more frequent. Stress and anxiety increase
because of the fear that overreaction might result in violence.
19. Irregular eating habits: The addict begins overeating or undereating. There is weight gain or
loss. S/he stops having meals at regular times and replaces a well -balanced, nourishing diet with “junk
food.”
20. Lack of desire to take action: There are periods when the addict is unable to get started or get
anything done. At those times s/he is unable to concentrate, feels anxious, fearful and uneasy, and
often feels trapped with no way out.
21. Irregular sleeping habits: The addict has difficulty sleeping and is restless and fitful when sleep does
occur. Sleep is often marked by strange and frightening dreams. Because of exhaustion s/he may sleep
for twelve to twenty hours at a time. These “sleeping marathons” may happen as often as every six to
fifteen days.
22. Loss of daily structure: Daily routines become less organized. The addict stops getting up and going
to bed at regular times. Sometimes s/he is unable to sleep, and this results in oversleeping at other
times. Regular meal times are discontinued. It becomes more difficult to keep appointments and plan
social events. The addict feels rushed and overburdened at times and then has nothing to do at other
times.
23. Periods of deep depression: The addict feels depressed more often. The depression becomes
worse, lasts longer, and interferes with living. The depression is so bad that it is noticed by others and
cannot be easily denied. The depression is most severe during unplanned or unstructured periods of
time. Fatigue, hunger and loneliness make the depression worse. When the addict feels depressed,
s/he separates from other people, becomes irritable and angry with others, and often complains that
nobody cares or understands what s/he is going through.
24. Irregular attendance at fellowship and treatment meetings: The addict stops attending fellowship
meetings regularly and begins to miss scheduled appointments for counseling or treatment. S/he finds
excuses to justify this and doesn’t recognize the importance of fellowship and treatment. S/he develops
the attitude that meetings and counseling aren’t making me feel better, so why should I make it a
number one priority? Other things are more important.
25. Development of an “I don’t care” attitude: The addict tries to act as if s/he doesn’t care about the
problems that are occurring. This is to hide feelings of helplessness and a growing lack of self-respect
and self-confidence.
26. Open rejection of help: The addict cuts self off from people who can help. S/he does this by having
fits of anger that drive…