Thinking About Relapse Prevention
What Weíre Going To Do Today
Talk about relapse prevention
Share knowledge and experience concerning mental illness
Weíre going to share things that are personal, and perhaps even painful
We are going to increase wellness levels

How Do I Know About Mental Illness and Relapse Prevention?
Iíve studied and researched it
But mostly I know about it the same way that you know about it
All of us in this room have close knowledge, if not first hand experience, with mental illness
I know about it because of the experiences of some of my family members, and because I have struggled with depression

What is Relapse Prevention?
It is a type of psychoeducational training
It teaches techniques to prevent recurrences of psychiatric illnesses
It is a tool that empowers consumers

Why Is It Important to Learn about Relapse Prevention?
Itís important because many psychiatric conditions are:
Chronic
Cyclical
Episodic
It can help people have fewer and shorter episodes of acute illness

Relapse Prevention is Important Because:
People can and do achieve wellness
People can and do maintain wellness
Sometimes relapses do occur
Consumers are are often afraid theyíll become acutely ill again
Multiple relapses increase the odds of permanent disability
Relapses can be prevented

Research Tells Us
Relapse prevention helps end ďthe revolving door syndromeĒ
Provides familiarity with wellness levels
Unstable:
symptoms interfere with daily life
Stable:
medications are working, activities can be conducted
Actualized:
symptoms move to the background, do not interfere

What You Can Learn from  Relapse Prevention Education
That early action at the first sign of symptoms (during the prodromal phase) CAN stop a relapse from happening before symptoms become debilitating
Techniques to SHORTEN the length of an acute episode
Having a clear plan will help you get back on your feet faster if you do experience a set back

What Weíre Going To Explore Together
General psychiatric symptoms
Identify specific symptoms you have experienced
Learn how recognize signs of relapse
Develop ways to lessen symptoms
 Explore feelings and events that might ďtriggerĒ symptoms
Develop personalized goals to achieve, maintain and, enhance wellness
Complete a personalized plan should relapse occur

Why Talk About Relapse Prevention Now?
Because you are experiencing wellness now
And thatís when itís easiest to do this kind of hard work
By doing it together weíll all be able to learn from each other
The more that you know, the less likely you are to experience a relapse

What Causes Mental Health Disturbances?
Specific conditions:
Depressive disorder
Schizophrenia
Bipolar Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Imbalances in neurotransmitter systems
Hormonal Imbalances (like in the thyroid)
Genetic Predisposition (it runs in families)
Trauma
Abuse
PTSD
Deprivation
Brain injury

What Does It Feel Like to Experience:
Depression
Hopeless
Helpless
Useless
Letís add to this list

What Does It Feel Like to Experience:
Mania
Racing thoughts
Like you could do anything
Speedy
Letís add to this list

What Does It Feel Like to Experience:
Psychotic Symptoms
Voices were talking to you
People were looking at you
You saw things that others didnít
Letís add to this list

How Did You Feel While You Were Having Symptoms?
Scared and Nervous
Like you knew things other people didnít know
Like there was something wrong with you
You enjoyed these feelings
Letís add to this list

What Did You Experience Before Your Symptoms Became Troublesome?
Withdrawal from friends and activities
Sleeping too much
Not sleeping enough
Negative or hostile attitude
Letís add to this list

How Might You Feel If You Were To Experience Symptoms Again?
Worried
Embarrassed
Like thereís nothing you can do about it
Letís add to this list

What Can You Do If You Have Troublesome Symptoms?
Call Your Therapist
Get a Physical
Have a Med Check
Seek out friends
Avoid Negative and Critical People
Letís add to this list

What Must You Do If Youíre Experiencing Troubling Symptoms?
Admit that youíre having difficulty
Be honest and clear about what  is happening, and about what hurts
Take steps to eliminate Harmful Thoughts

What Are Harmful Thoughts?
All or nothing (polarized) thinking
Everythingís Good
Everythingís Bad
Believing someone else is responsible for your actions
Blaming others
Catastrophizing
Mind reading
Letís add to this list

Dealing With Harmful Thoughts
Identify them as negative
Describe them
Refute them
Substitute positive thoughts
List your accomplishments
Letís add to this list

What Should You Be On the Lookout For?
Having trouble thinking or concentrating
Becoming preoccupied about your health
Feeling sad, anxious or irritable
Feeling like you can do anything
Hearing voices
Letís add to this list

What Else Should You Be Watching For?
Isolating behaviors
Avoiding people
Not going to activates
Increased alcohol or drug use
Letís add to this list

More Things To Watch Out For
Neglecting Yourself
Bad Hygiene
Not caring about your appearance
Not eating
Not doing housekeeping chores
Letís add to this list:

Identifying Triggers?
Family Stress
Worrying about getting or keeping a job
Alcohol or drug use
Moving
Relationship changes
Letís add to this list

Ways To Increase Wellness
Believe that you have the ability to get well and stay well
Continue taking prescribed medications
Stop smoking
Letís add to this list

More Ways To Increase Wellness
Improve your diet: more fruits and vegetables, less junk food
Exercise
Create satisfying social interactions
NEVER CHANGE OR STOP TAKING YOUR MEDS WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR DOCTOR

If You Do Have Severe Symptoms?
Contact your support people
Accept help
Understand that itís not anyoneís fault
Even healthy people get colds
Follow your personalized Relapse Plan
Be prepared to Get Back in the Saddle

Getting Back in the Saddle
Understand that even even people who do everything right still sometimes relapse
At the first sign of symptoms take action
Follow your healthy lifestyle plan
Take your prescribed medicines
Letís add to this list

Your Personalized Plan
Specified Hospital
Name of Person to be spokesperson
Names of your doctors
Current medications
Medications youíre willing/not willing to take
Treatments youíre willing/not willing to allow