Relapse prevention, or the prevention of relapse, is an important part of proper guidance or a self-help program. We try to explain to you shortly what to pay attention to after stress, depression, anxiety, or burnout.

What is relapse?

Relapse is to - after having learned a new behavior - return to your own (painful) habit, which caused your problem. You start repeating this behavior, while you feel that you have failed, and forget that you can choose your new behavior at any time. Relapse is thus not defined by just doing something which is negative. To relapse, you must experience this situation as failure, which is experience by you as something which you cannot overcome. Otherwise, one is not speaking of relapse.

What is a habit?

A habit is a set pattern of thoughts, feelings, and actions which always return in the same situation.

What is a solution?

A solution is finding something which helps you to get out of the old, painful habit which caused your problem. In short, it is something which helps you to behave in such a way that you feel better or reach useful goals.

What is a desirable habit?

A desirable habit is the repetition of a new 'set' of thoughts, feelings, and actions in a situation which used to cause your undesirable habit in the past.

Relapse prevention: How do you prevent relapse?

Relapse prevention is developed by learning to see that relapse is not just the repetition of an old undesirable behavior, but mainly that it is defined by giving up because you see yourself as a failure. By, at that moment, still choosing to practise your new desirable habit, you learn to prevent relapse, step by step.

Self-test for burnout, stress, anxiety, or depression

Would you like to know to what extent stress, anxiety, tension, or even depressed feelings play a role in the lurking relapse, then you can easily test this by taking a short test with 21 simple questions.

Paul Koeck, MD