Medically assisted treatment (Suboxone, Subutex, Vivitrol, etc.) is only one part in maintaining abstinence from drugs and alcohol. There are many psycho-social factors that need to be addressed to be successful in recovery and to prevent relapse. These factors include, but are not limited to, mental and physical health, transportation issues, lack of financial resources, lack of employment, and housing issues. Addressing these aspects of your life is critical to be successful in recovery. Any life stressor not addressed could be a trigger to relapse.
Maintaining good physical and mental health are extremely important in recovery. Ignoring previous high-risk behaviors that could lead to bloodborne illness, such as HIV or Hepatitis C, could lead to a higher risk of relapse if discovered later in the disease process. Early identification leads to much better outcomes and less stress. Obtaining cognitive behavioral therapy to treat addiction and associated mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, leads to an easier recovery and decreased risk of relapse.
Transportation issues lead to missed appointments and frustration leading to relapse. Many insurances, including Medicaid, will pay for your transportation to and from your appointments.
Lack of financial resources, housing, and lack of employment are huge stressors leading to relapse. Adequate employment is paramount in addressing all three of these factors. Full-time employment also leads to improved self-esteem. There are many resources in the community to aid with obtaining employment.
Lastly, an especially important factor in a successful recovery is avoiding boredom. Boredom leads to thoughts of alcohol and drug use. Having structure and keeping a schedule that has limited “free time” is immensely important to a successful recovery. You can accomplish this by maintaining full-time employment, going to peer-based help groups such as NA or AA meetings, and scheduling time with family and friends to avoid “free time.” Another tactic is to obtain a second job, which also addresses financial stability in addition to combating boredom.
South Jersey Medical Associates is located at 1580 Route 9 North in Cape May Court House. For more information, visit southjerseymedicalassociates.com or call 609-451-1125.