You may have heard that the relapse rate among people in addiction recovery is relatively high. Research shows that about two-thirds of recovering individuals relapse after completing initial treatment. This may seem disheartening to hear if you are supporting a loved one going through rehab and recovery. However, relapse is often part of the journey. Besides, despite this bleak picture, you can still find ways to boost your loved one’s chances of recovery.
What Factors Determine Relapse Vulnerability?
The most common reasons for relapse are stress, anxiety, mood swings, environmental triggers, lack of support, and trauma exposure. Relapses can almost always be predicted if you know what signs to look for. Before relapse materializes in physical actions, a person first goes through emotional and mental relapses.
Scientifically speaking, the changes in the brain’s autonomic nervous system may also impact a person’s chance of relapse. Through neuroimaging, researchers could detect shifting stress levels in recovering individuals’ brain regions. They identified some sensitive markers of addiction relapse. You can use knowledge of the stages of relapse and scientific information to watch out for signs of relapse in your loved one.
Overcome a Sense of Pessimism to Support a Loved One’s Chances of Recovery
Many people may be discouraged by the statistically high chance of relapse among people going through treatment. However, when it concerns your loved one, you will want to stay as hopeful for success as possible. Addiction is a chronic brain disease like any other chronic disease of the brain or body.
With scientific and statistical knowledge in your mind, you may feel compelled to become more proactive. Knowing a challenge to be an uphill battle is not necessarily bad. You can begin thinking about more effective strategies to improve your loved one’s chances of recovery. Your loved one depends on your informed support.
Strategies to Improve Your Loved One’s Chances of Recovery
There are many ways you can support your loved one so that their chances of recovery and avoiding relapse are higher.
#1. Check on Them and Actively Listen Without Judgment
Recovering individuals need a lot of emotional support. Loneliness and isolation due to stigma are often the biggest stress inducers. Make a plan to check in with your loved one regularly. Ask caring questions about how they are feeling. All you need to do is actively listen.
Active listening is characterized by showing interest in what your loved one is telling you. Although what they share might seem like mundane details of the day or something you’ve heard a thousand times before from them, they are essential to your loved one. So having you hear them out can be a tremendous help to them.
Stay engaged with eye contact, verbal affirmation, and comforting body language. Use empathy and show how much you care about their feelings. Above all, avoid being judgmental and showing any signs of disappointment.
#2. Reduce Arguments and Tension at Home
You can support your loved one by keeping peace at home. A relaxed, tension-free environment is most conducive to recovery. Learn how to lay aside petty arguments. Rally other family members to do the same. Together, you can rebuild more healthy communication and open dialogue.
Be prepared for mood swings coming from your loved one. These mental health issues are prevalent among people in recovery because their brain is adjusting to a substance-free life. Once you understand the science behind their behaviors, it may be easier not to take them personally.
#3. Create Fun and Quality Family Time Together
Spending quality and peaceful time with your loved one can be highly therapeutic. Your loved one has put a lot of hard work into following a healthy regimen. They may need help implementing sober and fun activities to relax. Intentional quality time together can also begin rebuilding family bonds.
You may not know this, but recovery should be fun. The more you support your loved one in finding a healthy distraction, such as a new hobby or a fun activity, the easier it is for them to stop dwelling on addiction-related issues. For example, you may begin regular family fun nights by playing games or watching movies together. Family trips are another great choice. Anything healthy and sober that helps them find the fun in recovery can be beneficial.
#4. Practice and Model Effective Self-Care
You cannot tell your loved one to take care of themselves if you are not taking care of yourself in the first place. Self-care is important for your loved one and you. You can model some effective self-care methods at home and reshape the family culture into a healthier one. For example, educate the family on how to eat healthily, get enough quality sleep, and exercise regularly. These activities are the building blocks to long-term health.
While you want to provide emotional and social support to your loved one, you need the same components in your self-care regimen. Find a family support group or seek a professional therapist who can guide you on becoming a more recovery-supportive family.
People recovering from addiction need a strong support system of loved ones around them. To be a part of this system, you need to understand addiction and its wide range of impacts. Supportive family members can learn more about evidence-based methods to support sobriety and accountability while helping loved ones. If you need to consult a professional team, Laguna Shores Recovery is here to help. We offer treatment plans such as detox, medication, 12-Step groups, and relationship skills coaching, all informed by scientific research. We also provide an outpatient program to support you in achieving long-term health. As much as your loved one needs support, you need it too. Call (866) 774-1532 today.
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