Qualification : BA PSYCHOLOGY
Wednesday August 29 2018 12:31 PM Comments 0
Part of recovery is knowing that it is not going to be a straight road. Relapse/Setbacks can occur and if you have a care plan in place, you are able to get back on track. A relapse/setback happens when symptoms return or get worse. However, it is possible to prevent a relapse/setback or prevent symptoms from exacerbating. When you create a care plan to help deal with symptoms, it reduces the chance of a full-blown relapse/setback. It is important to take charge of your health and put contingency plans in place to help you function day to day while dealing with ongoing symptoms. Knowing your early warning signs can help prevent a full-blown relapse/setback from happening so it’s vital to be self-aware and understand your triggers.
Medication management is extremely essential in preventing a relapse/setback. If you take medication, it is important to always heed the recommendations of your doctor. Even if you feel well, you should not stop taking your medication. Stopping medication suddenly can be one main reason for a relapse/setback. Here are some steps you can take to stop a relapse/setback. Firstly, we can look out for early warning signs. Early warning signs are signs that indicate that your mental health is on the verge of getting worse. These signs are first to appear before prominent symptoms emerge and affect your life. It is important to be able to identify these early warning signs because it will help you take early actions and stop things from getting worse. The act of identifying these early warning signs provide some form of control over your health and mental wellbeing. You have to reach a level of self-awareness to be able to identify these signs and take power to stop major symptoms from upsetting the normal course of your life.
To begin identifying these early warning signs, you need to remember what it felt and looked like before one of your episodes. Look at how your behavior changed throughout the course of the episode and ask loved ones if they notice any changes particularly before a major episode. Reflect on what was going on in your life when you were experiencing these signs, these are called triggers. Some examples are poor sleep or not getting enough sleep, loss or grief, conflict in relationships, stressful events and any unpleasant events. Once you figure out your early warning signs and triggers, you can map out a timeline that can help you take action.
Building healthy coping skills can help with early warning signs. When you or loved ones start noticing that your behavior is changing (early warning signs), you can start using the coping skills that you have learnt. Some of these are sleeping well, eating well, exercising and doing activities that you like. It is also important to be able to identity stressful situations like starting a new school or job and use coping skills to manage these stresses. When you are able to deal with these stressors, it is unlikely that a relapse/setback will take place.
Sometimes, however, we need extra professional help to deal with our symptoms when they get worse. Warning signs can crop up suddenly and sometimes self-management is not enough. This doesn’t mean that you are weak or you are not capable, it just means that you need extra help and have the awareness that you understand that you cannot do this on your own. To help prevent relapse/setbacks, you need to come up with a care plan and share this plan with loved ones so that when situations get worse, your loved ones can step in and take appropriate actions. But the first point of defense is your own coping skills, you understanding yourself and identifying early warning signs. Take control and prevent the next relapse/setback from happening by coming up with a solid care plan.
Handout for RWS session 7: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vwz1xi54mo1p4q1/2. 051114 Julius' Sample Care Plan.pdf?dl=0
This handout is a sample care plan. You can use this as a template for your own care plan and take control over your mental wellbeing.
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