Taking prescription pain medications for legitimate medical reasons, such as taking the medication after a surgery or injury from an accident, can be an important part of recovering. Unfortunately, prescription medications are often addictive and it is possible that you or a loved one can face withdrawal symptoms after the medication is no longer necessary. There is also a risk that you or a loved one may relapse on the drug in the future; however, there are ways to help reduce the risks and prevent a relapse. Relapse prevention can be the key to success.
Identify Triggers and Avoid Them
Since a medication that is taken for pain relief due to a medical condition is addictive, it is important to identify the triggers that cause cravings for the substance. According to the Psych Central, a key part of relapse prevention is avoiding temptation to use the substance by keeping triggers to a minimum.
When a substance is used for medical reasons, it can be more challenging to determine the factors that are triggering cravings. It may not relate to specific people or the person that causes the trigger might be an individual who cannot be avoided, such as a medical doctor. Even if you are not able to avoid the situation or individual that is causing the triggers, recognizing the triggers can make it easier to avoid taking the substance and commit to relapse prevention.
Live in the Present
The Huffington Posts recommends that individuals live in the present rather than focusing on the past. If you or your loved one has already recovered from the medical condition or situation that required him or her to use the pain relievers, then it is time to start moving forward without taking the substance.
Living in the present can be essential if you want to avoid a relapse. The reason is related to the triggers and cravings that may arise when you or a loved one contemplate the past. Avoid thinking about the accident, surgery or medical condition as much as possible, especially if it is no longer impacting your ability to accomplish tasks or goals. Focus on living for each moment as it happens.
Develop a New Skill
Psych Central recommends that you develop and practice new skills on a regular basis. By trying something new that takes time to master, you or a loved one is focusing on the specific task. New skills require concentration, which means that you or a loved one will not be thinking about the substance that was used to reduce pain during a medical treatment.
The new skills can vary based on your personal interests and goals. For example, you may focus on learning skills that will allow you to improve your career goals or you can focus on life skills that will ultimately reduce the interest in substance abuse by improving your overall health, like cooking or exercise.
Create a Schedule
According to Psych Central, a healthy schedule can help keep you or a loved one on track to avoid the prescription medication in the future. It gives clear instructions about where you need to go and who you are expected to interact with so that you can ensure that you are prepared for any situation. It also reduces the risk of cravings for the pain reliever because you will be focusing on a variety of tasks throughout the day.
Exercise and regular meals should always be a key part of any schedule and plan. The healthy activities and regular meal plans will help ensure that the body is strong and capable. Furthermore, certain types of exercise can help reduce cravings for the substance or make the cravings less intense for some individuals.
Ask for Help
There is nothing wrong with asking friends and family for help when you or a loved one is feeling tempted to use a prescription medication when it is not necessary. A support network is an important part of relapse prevention, especially for individuals who have used medications appropriately and accidentally developed withdrawal symptoms that made it challenging to avoid the substance.
Psych Central recommends that surrounding yourself or your loved one with positive and healthy individuals will help influence better decisions and encourage healthy behaviors. Furthermore, it allows you or a loved one to talk about any concerns and get help when it is necessary. There is nothing wrong with asking for help from friends, family or other members of the community who may be able to provide assistance in relapse prevention.
Taking a medication for legitimate reasons does not mean that you or a loved one will never facing challenges associated with chemical dependence. Even when a doctor is monitoring your situation, it is possible to accidentally develop a tolerance for the drugs. Fortunately, there are solutions that can help reduce the risk of relapsing and ensure that you or a loved one is as healthy as possible.