This section is to help you prepare for the return of the loved one and also provide useful information on what happens if the patient were to relapse and how you can approach them if they do. The detox is just the first stage of the programme, the Consolidation and Relapse Prevention stage is so important to ensure your loved one stays on the path of recovery.
Once the detox programme is complete
Top tips for helping a loved one after detox
- After 7-14 day inpatient detox is complete, we strongly advise all patients to undertake a Consolidation and Relapse Prevention phase, for up to 12 months. If you don’t undertake this at The BONDS Clinic, it is really important you make arrangements with your chosen providers.
- The home environment is important after detox. As far as possible, you should try to remove temptation to previous substance/alcohol misuse. This may include having no alcohol in the house or getting a new mobile number.
- Your social circle is also important after detox: it is best to totally avoid the company of people with current substance/alcohol misuse problems because otherwise this will increase the risk of relapse.
- Make a plan to keep the mind occupied.
- Healthy habits can really support recovery: exercise and healthy diet are important. Make a plan for physical activity but remember to minimise risks to relapse such as avoiding the patient going out alone in the very early stages after detox.
- Continue individual therapy.
- Continue family therapy if needed.
- Regularly check in with the patient to see if they are ok mentally and physically, especially where mental health or physical problems would increase the risk of relapse
- Keep a look out for cravings and seek early review with The BONDS Clinic team if cravings come back or are a concern.
- If there is a relapse, it is critically important to allow the patient to share this with us and for us to be non-judgemental and supportive, without being enablers or brushing it under the carpet. If there is a relapse or a near-miss, it is important to arrange an early review with the BONDS team to assess and make a plan.
- Relapse can be minimised by undertaking a comprehensive relapse prevention programme that incorporates medical, psychological and social treatments and that these all run alongside each other.
Worried about relapse at home
We would expect that there may be challenging situations when the patient gets home which may lead to temptation, cravings or even substance use. Isolated incidents that are dealt with openly, honestly, respectfully and without judgment may not necessarily lead to relapse if the team is alerted and a support plan can be put in place.
Every relapse is different and by no means an admission of defeat, and we advise a positive and constructive approach to see what can be learned from the relapse for the future. This can improve the chances of future abstinence by working on areas that contributed to the relapse. The BONDS Clinic is passionate about practical therapy sessions to help increase your chances of long-term success The BONDS team are here to help you, never to judge or criticise, and we will do our best to support you on the path of recovery.
We recommend that The BONDS Clinic is contacted as soon as possible if there are significant challenges, vulnerability, substance misuse or relapse. In such situations, you can bring your planned outpatient review appointment forward so that a clinical review can take place sooner. This may mean an intervention is needed such as a medication change, a change to talking therapy, change to frequency and duration of future clinic appointments, or new inpatient treatment is needed, for example. Relapse may form part of the recovery process and the most important thing is to be open and honest when it happens, access the help and support that may be needed, learn and hopefully move forward.