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									                    RELAPSE – WARNING SIGNS
Relapses do not happen ‘out of the blue’, they can usually be anticipated. Relapses
often occur because we haven’t recognized or perhaps have ignored, the warning
signs or risk factors.

Warning Signs
Warning signs are visible in our behaviour, emotions, thoughts and attitude.
   • Increase in stress symptoms (smoking or eating increase, sleeping problems)
   • Irritability, increased conflict, poor patience with others
   • Lack of communication or defensive communication around the problem of
      gambling, finances or time management
   • Argumentativeness
   • Going to a gaming venue to ‘socialise’
   • Spending time with friends you have met through gambling
   • Forgetting to attend counselling, or use strategies you have set

  • Increased feelings of sadness or depression
  • Increased feelings of anger, annoyance or frustration
  • Increased boredom or restlessness
  • Grieving for a lost lifestyle
  • Euphoria & desire to celebrate some event or occasion

   • Thinking you have ‘beaten’ the problem because you have not gambled for a
   • Overestimating the degree of control that you have over the behaviour, e.g.
     thinking that you can just “gamble $20.00” or just “pop into the club for 20
   • Thinking you deserve to go out gambling because you have been ‘good’,
     rewarding yourself for reducing gambling, by gambling.
   • Thinking it is time to test yourself .

    • Weakened commitment to original goal of stopping/reducing gambling
    • Reduction in value placed on the original goal
    • Believing it is too hard to change

Relapse Plan

When you have identified your triggers and the warning signs of relapse you can talk
to your counselor about a relapse prevention plan because you will know when, where
and why you need to put a plan into action. A plan should include a range of
alternatives (people, places, activities, self-talk and coping strategies) to gambling.
Relapse Prevention Plan

Situation/Trigger/Warning Relapse Prevention Strategies                  Possible Obstacles &
Signs                     people/places/activities/self talk             Problem solving
Example only:

Run into ex-partner and feel   Identify the thinking behind the          At work and you don’t have
Angry and frustrated           feeling and look for evidence. Is it an   time to consciously process
                               accurate thought? Is it accurate all of   thoughts and feelings…
                               the time? Do I believe it? Do I need      So, let go of the automatic
                               to dwell on it? Is there another way to   negative thought by
                               view this relationship?                   concentrating on work to
                               Do some circular breathing and take       hand.
                               some time out.                             At work you can’t take
                                Have a hot bath.                         time out…
                                Go for a run, or to the gym.             So travel to a calm place
                                Chat with a friend(s)/current partner    you visualize in your head.
                                Remove yourself from this situation
                                Journal your thoughts and feelings

Remember to:

    §   List several of each strategies in case the person you want to touch base with
        is unavoidable, or you are too tense to do circular breathing/progressive
        muscle relaxation, or you haven’t enough money to go to the movies.
    §   Plan ahead to problem solve all obvious obstacles to your strategies, e.g.
        putting aside the money for the movies ahead of time.
    §   Remember panicking is neither helpful nor necessary. You can control an
        urge, avoid a slip and/or get back on track if a slip happens.

Recognizing warning signs does not mean you will relapse, please discuss signs with
your counsellor.

                                                  S Aldridge, S White, J Wright, 2003

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