Clinical Tip #5 - Prevention of Relapse in Mental Illness

Clinical Tip #5: Life is a dynamically changing process, and just as health can improve, it can also deteriorate. Relapsing after a period of wellness happens when the amount of energy for maintaining health and well-being has been depleted so completely that there is no longer a way for the person to keep functioning adequately, even with all the intelligence and resources that the body has at its disposal.


Why do people relapse after being “healed” from their mental illness? The simplest answer is that the person has become stressed beyond what he or she can endure.  When this happens, the “Achilles heel” of the person’s health condition will be the first to express its displeasure.  If a person’s Achilles heel is inflammation, then aches or pains, eczema or psoriasis may appear.  If a person’s Achilles heel is mental dysfunction, then distractibility, depression, mania, or psychosis may appear.  This is the way the body tells us, “Ouch, I’m hurting!”

To get back to a true state of health then, would necessitate a reduction of stress.  Stress comes from various aspects of life: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and social.  For many, social stressors are the most difficult to prevent and address, because they are often due to the choices and actions of others.  In order to maintain the healed state, however, the person must have the ability to overcome stressors, through coping strategies that they have learned, to keep their energies up.

There are as many ways to relapse as there are ways to heal.  Here are just a few common reasons why people relapse after being “healed”, so avoid them like the plague:

1) Overconfidence in one’s ability to maintain one’s health when going back to past, unhealthy habits: e.g. smoking, marijauna, dieting and restrictions on food, eating junk food.

2) failure to continue to support one’s health nutritionally after stopping one’s medication(s).  Sometimes nutritional supplementation may be necessary for the rest of the person’s life.

3) Social stressors not being dealt with appropriately when they occur: e.g. using EFT, getting support from others/professionals, increasing nutritional support.

4) Cutting back on treatment prematurely as soon as one feels well, rather than continuing to strengthen the foundation of health through ongoing integrative healing.

5) Stopping or tapering medications inappropriately and prematurely.  An incomplete withdrawal process often results in a relapse of old symptoms a few months later.

6) Overdoing, overstretching, or trying to “catch up” on  missed opportunities or activities. Ease into life after a long period of recovery and give the body a chance to gradually get accustomed to the stress of a full day of activities. Piling too much on one’s plate will end up punishing, rather than invigorating, one’s life.

Prevention of relapse should be part of one’s learning process during medication withdrawal. It relies on the understanding that health can only be maintained through the continued care and nurturing of one’s life. It is an an ongoing process that is dependent on a person’s daily choices.  Hopefully this clinical tip will help you to stay on course in your maintenance of health and well-being.