Assessing Relapse Potential
Factors that may Contribute to the Potential for Relapse:
1. Self-Efficacy: The individual’s confidence in his or her ability to cope with high-risk situations. Do they have a plan in place for dealing with high-risk situations?
2. Outcome Expectancies: The individual’s expectations about the effects of a substance if he or she should use it. What need is the drug going to meet for the person?
3. Cravings: Although “craving” a drug itself is a poor predictor of relapse, it may be triggered by drug-use cues (smells, the sight of the drug, sounds, etc.) and trigger moods and memories that predispose the individual to substance use. Does the individual have a plan in place for dealing with cravings?
4. Motivation: The individual’s motivation to change his or her behavior or to return to past behaviors has been found to play an important role in successfully coping with drug-use cues. How badly does the person want to change their life?
5. Coping: This poorly understood determinant of relapse seems to reflect the individual’s ability to call on learned coping resources (behavioral, cognitive, etc.) when confronted with drug-use cues. How can the individual’s existing (healthy) coping mechanisms be strengthened? In what areas or ways are they coping poorly, and how can this be changed?
6. Emotional States: Research suggests a strong association between negative affect states and relapse. What are the events or situations that seem to trigger negative emotional states for the person, and how can they be made more resilient (shielded) against them?
7. Interpersonal Support: The individual’s access to strong social support systems during times of cravings (or stress) seem to contribute to continues abstinence. How can the individual build up or create a social support system sufficient to help them maintain abstinence?
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