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Relapse Prevention


Relapse prevention is a plan that is developed by the therapist and the client in order to help ensure that symptoms do not recur. Most of us are familiar with this term for the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse or dependence. "He relapsed," is a commonly used phrase. But relapse is just as much a concern for mental illnesses as it is for drugs and alcohol.

Relapse prevention occurs throughout the course of theapy. As you participate in therapy, you will learn new ways to cope with problems. Ideally you will take these new coping skills with you and use them to prevent relapse of symptoms in the future.

It is important to understand that most everyone's symptoms of mental illness will relapse at some point. How you deal with the symptoms as they re-appear is very important. For example, ignoring sypmtoms may not be effective at making them go away. If you feel that you need "skills," or "tools," to deal with stress or manage symptoms independently, be sure to ask you therapist.

Mental health problems are part of the human condition. If normal means, "common," then depression and anxiety are surely normal. However, just because something is common, does not mean it is okay. For some people, depressive symptoms come and go with very little concern. But for others, depression can be more severe and long lasting. It can be very difficult for others to really understand what it feels like to be suffering from mental illness. So, determining who you can get good support from is a very important part of a relapse prevention plan.

Sometimes Maintenance therapy is included in the relapse prevention plan. Lifestyle changes may also be a part of relapse prevention, as well as medications.Putting your relaspe prevention plan in writing is highly recommended. Studies have shown that people are nearly 60% more likely to follow-through with an activity if they have it written down. Having it readily available to read and review is also important.


Don't end therapy without a Relapse Prevention Plan.