Each year, just over a quarter of a million adults in the United Kingdom seek treatment for a substance addiction. In addition, a large number of British adults will secure treatment for behavioural addiction.

As addiction treatment is secured, many successfully overcome their struggles with substances and behaviours.  However, up to 80% of individuals who secure treatment are thought to be at risk of relapsing.

Sadly, this means that less than 20% of patients that complete a rehabilitation treatment programme go on to make a long-term recovery.

Although relapses arise from various factors, many individuals are believed to relapse as they find it challenging to cope upon leaving rehab and returning to their everyday lives.

Others in recovery sadly find themselves at risk of relapsing when appropriate aftercare support is not provided.

If you have previously sought treatment for a substance or behavioural addiction and wish to uncover relapse prevention techniques that can help mitigate your risk of relapsing, you have come to the right place.

In this blog, we discuss the signs and symptoms associated with relapse and share several relapse prevention techniques that we are confident will assist you.


The Signs and Symptoms Associated With Relapse

Before delving into the relapse prevention techniques you can employ as you continue to recover from your addiction at home, you must understand the signs and symptoms that may arise if you are at risk of relapsing.

To assist you, we have outlined the physical and psychological symptoms associated with relapse below.


Physical Signs Of An Impending Relapse

  • Isolation from other
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Intense cravings


Psychological Signs Of An Impending Relapse

  • Changes in your attitude
  • Heightened stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of judgement


Our Top Four Relapse Prevention Techniques

If upon reviewing the signs noted above that often highlight that relapse is impending, you hope to take advantage of relapse prevention techniques, we have shared four techniques that we are confident will help you below.


1. Identify The Triggers That May Cause You To Relapse

Unbeknown to many, there are three stages of relapse.  These stages include mental relapse, emotional relapse and physical relapse.

Emotional and mental relapses see many provoked to return to old habits, ultimately putting them at risk of physically relapsing.

However, emotional and mental relapses are often the first signs that indicate an individual has been triggered.  If acted upon appropriately, mental and emotional relapses can be overcome.

If you have come to experience an emotional or mental relapse, as touched on above, something will have likely triggered you.  In turn, the symptoms you encounter will essentially act as a signal that you could be at risk of experiencing a physical relapse.

To mitigate your risk of physically relapsing, you must identify the triggers that are likely to cause you to relapse.

Although this can be somewhat tricky, you will have likely worked with a relapse prevention specialist or a recovery specialist during your time in rehab to uncover the factors that trigger you.

These factors may include stress at work, stress at home, being around substances such as drugs or alcohol, or coming into contact with someone that may have influenced your addiction to initially arise.


2. Take Advantage Of The Benefits Journaling Affords

Much research conducted by medical professionals has highlighted that journaling effectively mitigates and alleviates mental health problems such as stress and anxiety.

As heightened mental health problems, such as increased stress levels, can lead to mental, emotional and physical relapses, journaling has proved to be a highly successful relapse prevention technique.

To truly take advantage of the benefits journaling affords, it is essential that you make a note of your thoughts and feelings, irrespective of whether they are positive or negative.

For example, if you encounter an emotional or mental relapse, writing down exactly how you feel and what has caused you to feel that way will provide you with the opportunity to reflect and understand how you can avoid a physical relapse.


3. Find A Way To Distract Yourself

Distractions from cravings and behaviours can effectively act as a suitable relapse prevention technique.  However, you must not use distractions to ignore the symptoms experienced if a relapse is imminent.

Instead, you should combine distractions with techniques such as journaling to ensure that you can address and overcome the factors that put you at risk of relapsing.

When considering the distractions that can be employed, exercise continues to have many positive outcomes.  In fact, studies have concluded that exercise can be used as a treatment for reducing the risk of relapse to both substances and behaviours.

In addition to participating in exercise, taking up a new hobby, such as painting, or taking advantage of the benefits yoga and meditation afford can also assist you.


4. Attend A Recovery Support Group

Although there are various relapse prevention techniques that you can employ independently, attending a recovery support group will provide you with the support you need to overcome the risk of relapse.

Across the country, there are a number of recovery support groups that are ready to support you.  These include, but are not limited to, Alcoholics Anonymous, Club Drug Clinic, Cocaine Anonymous UK, Gamblers Anonymous, Gamcare and Narcotics Anonymous.


Seek Immediate Help If You Are Concerned About Relapsing

Although you may be hesitant about admitting that you believe you are at risk of relapsing, please do not be afraid to seek immediate help and support.

Failure to seek help as and when you need it will put you at greater risk of once again needing to attend a drug and alcohol rehab for treatment.

Instead, seeking immediate help as and when the symptoms associated with relapse begin to surface will enable you to successfully overcome the risks and continue your recovery.

If you have been unable to secure help, please call us today on 01235 847 553. Alternatively, text HELP to 83222 and our team will respond to you immediately.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: March 15, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.