How the right program can help prevent relapse after rehab


How the right program can help prevent relapse after rehab

Recovering from a substance use addiction is an ongoing process that doesn’t end after attending rehabilitation. Maintaining abstinence from substances takes time, patience, resilience, and support. That’s why it is important that your rehabilitation program offers effective skills to prevent relapse, and a realistic duration of support upon program completion. 

Many people are under the misconception that one rehabilitation program will provide an end-all  solution. In reality, rehab only scratches the surface, helping patients to stabilize, collect their bearings, and develop further awareness about their addiction. It is the continuing care following rehabilitation that produces long-term results for recovery. By following through with your program’s aftercare, or enrolling in a step-down program, you can help reduce the likelihood of relapsing. 

Why does relapse occur?

A number of factors can contribute to relapse, despite completing a program for recovery. Returning to a familiar environment or social setting in which you once used a substance can trigger memories and urges to use again. This can trigger the relapse cycle, which leads to recurring substance use;

  • Stage 1: Emotional. This is where you are triggered by your environment or situation to crave substance use.
  • Stage 2: Psychological. This is where you bargain with yourself to believe that using the substance again will not lead to a relapse in your addiction. 
  • Stage 3: Physical. Once you have made peace with the idea of using again, the physical act of using drugs or alcohol becomes much easier. The euphoria that you feel from reuniting with the substance then makes it difficult for this act to be a one time occurrence.[2]

Relapse is not uncommon, in fact, research shows that the relapse rate for substance use disorder is 40-60%. This likelihood is similar to that of other chronic disorders and diseases such as asthma and type 1 diabetes. These relapses should all be recognized under the same chronic disorder umbrella, serving as a sign for resumed, modified, or new treatment. [1]

Relapse is so common that it is a frequently cited reason for seeking addiction recovery in the first place. Most individuals who seek help for substance use have already attempted to abstain on their own and are seeking a more permanent solution for recovery [2]. Understanding that you need a more structured approach to recovery means that you are prepared to find a lasting solution.

How to avoid relapse

The purpose of planning ahead for relapse prevention is to identify early warning signs and develop effective coping skills to catch relapse in its earliest stages. Addressing relapse and using a prevention plan as soon as you begin to recognize warning signs has shown to significantly reduce your risk of relapsing. [2] There are many things to keep in mind when striving to prevent relapse.

  • Avoid triggers such people or places connected to your substance use, situations which cause extreme stress, or situations in which you may witness substance use
  • Ensure that you have a positive support network, or an emergency contact person for difficult or triggering situations
  • Create a clear relapse-prevention plan and set measures to ensure accountability (such as recording progress and triggers, or checking in with a counsellor or group) 
  • Continue therapy or enrol in a program with an aftercare solution

Maintaining accountability and self-awareness plays an important role in relapse prevention. The goal of recovery programs is to set patients up for success for life, as opposed to short-term success. When seeking recovery support, consider programs that offer relapse-specific education and aftercare so that you are prepared to continue down the path of recovery.


How Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) support relapse-prevention

EHN Online’s IOP for substance use disorder provides patients with the tools they need to prevent future relapse. Beginning with eight weeks of intensive therapy, patients will virtually attend both group therapy and individual therapy each week. 

Group therapy plays an important role in continued recovery by creating an intimate support network. This allows participants to provide information and support to peers with similar experiences, while meeting one-on-one with a therapist creates an opportunity to build a personalized recovery plan and focus on their own journey.

By accessing an intensive program that does not require inpatient admission, IOP participants can learn and use coping and relapse prevention strategies in real time. Working recovery into your ongoing life and schedule helps to eliminate the shock of returning to life outside of rehabilitation upon program completion. 

Following the eight weeks of intensive therapy, the program offers ten months of aftercare support. This includes access to the Wagon app and one hour of group therapy per week. Because humans are social creatures by nature, formal therapy groups are proven to be effective in recovery as a source of persuasion, stabilization, and support. This creates an opportunity for healthy relationships, positive peer reinforcement, and way to develop new social skills. This rewarding nature of group therapy can at times produce even more positive benefits than individual therapy [3] [4]. Accessing a combination of group and individual therapy lets participants reap the benefits of both methods.

Staying on top of your recovery

Because addiction is a life-long fight, it is helpful for people in recovery to enrol in an IOP as a way to refresh their knowledge. If you have attended a form of rehabilitation in the past but fear relapse or would benefit from intensive aftercare support, an IOP is a great step-down solution. Participants in the IOP for substance use disorder can re-immerse themselves in recovery education, make adjustments to their recovery plan, and stay connected to a network of support. 

Recovery from a substance use disorder is an ongoing process, and completing a treatment program is only the first step towards healing. The journey to sobriety takes time, patience and support. Enrolling in the right program is the first step towards getting and staying sober.

We can help you or your loved one get on the right path to recovery.
Call us for a free and confidential consultation.


Not sure if this program matches where you are in your own journey to recovery? We’ve got you covered. Check out these group therapy options. 

Socialization and Stabilization Group Therapy

Eight week group designed to support individuals, regardless of their position on the recovery continuum. Suitable for those at the precontemplation stage, who are resistant to “formal” programming, or are looking for a starting point to explore available recovery options

Relapse Prevention Group Therapy

Eight week group primarily for those who have undergone treatment before. Individuals will be introduced to practical skills, create their own high risk prevention plan, develop a personal commitment statement and participate in exercises that will empower them to live a life without alcohol, drugs and/or other unhealthy behaviours.


[1] NIDA. (2020). Treatment and Recovery. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.

[2] Melemis S. M. (2015). Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 88(3), 325–332.

[3] Scheidlinger S. (2000). The Group Psychotherapy Movement at the Millennium: Some Historical Perspectives. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 50(3), 315-339, DOI: 10.1080/00207284.2000.11491012

[4] McRoberts, Chris et al. (1998). Comparative Efficacy of Individual and Group Psychotherapy: A Meta-Analytic Perspective. Group Dynamics Theory Research and Practice 2(2):101-117, DOI:10.1037/1089-2699.2.2.101


3 simple steps to support your company’s mental health initiatives

3 simple steps to support your company’s mental health initiatives

The overall health and success of a workplace relies on both the physical and psychological well-being of its employees. By supporting a healthy and informed environment at work, organizations can set themselves up for success. According to the World Health Organization, the estimated cost to the global economy as a result of anxiety and depression in the workforce is US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity. Organizations can play a strong and effective role in promoting positive mental health in the workplace, “for every $1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.” [1]

Providing mental health services to employees results in increased productivity and retention, and a decrease in healthcare costs. But with a wide variety of mental health services becoming more available to the public, how can you determine which solution will be the most effective for your employees and your business? 

Supporting mental health in the workplace – the bottom line

EHN Online has created intensive virtual programs for individuals struggling with mental health and/or addictions. The virtual and flexible nature of the programs allows for patients to continue to work while they access treatment that is intensive enough to create lasting results. With high completion rates and a clear return on investment, intensive outpatient programs can help reduce common costs such as absenteeism and turnover. [2]


Circle graphic - 500,000

Canadian workers miss work every week as a result of poor mental health [2]

circle graphic - 2 times

On average, leaves due to mental illness are roughly double the cost of leaves due to physical illness [3]

Average return on investment in company mental health initiatives after three years [2]

Completion rate for EHN Online’s Intensive Outpatient Program

By setting your employees up for success with their mental health, they will thrive personally and professionally. After all, a company is only as healthy as its employees. 

3 steps to supporting mental health and addiction at work

An important component to an organizational mental health strategy is offering readily available external therapy and rehabilitation to employees. By identifying a need within your company, and determining the best solution for recovery, you can set up your employees and company for success. It is important to recognize that mental health does not come with a one-size-fits-all formula. The best way to ensure that your employees are accessing the necessary resources to improve their mental health is to identify where their needs lie, and how to best address them. 

Step 1: Recognize your employee’s struggles and needs

Do you know how to recognize the signs that your employee’s mental health symptoms are increasing? Mental health resides on a spectrum, and identifying where an employee (or an aggregate of employees) stand is a great first step to knowing how you can best help them. Start by looking at the following chart to consider the types of symptoms, the severity and the frequency in which these may be displayed at work.   


Mild Symptoms Moderate Symptoms Severe Symptoms
Function Functioning at work Developed functioning at work and outside of work; absenteeism; presenteeism; increased sick days Low functioning at work or not working
Intensity Mental health symptoms triggered by an event or a situation (work stress, death, divorce, etc.) More frequent and intense mental health episodes Chronic mental health conditions
Use of Services Accessing support services for the first time or again after a break Has accessed or is accessing individual counsellor or digital solutions, but requires more intense and/or more frequent treatment Has accessed intensive mental health support and requires a day program or residential care


Step 2: Know your options for offering mental health support

Now that we understand that mental health is a spectrum, it is clear that different approaches need to be taken to experience optimal results for each severity classification. The chart below is a non-exhaustive list of potential solutions that best suit different severities.  


Mild symptoms Moderate Symptoms Severe Symptoms
Service options
  • Individual Counselling
  • iCBT
  • Self guided therapy 
  • Wellness apps
  • Peer support groups 
Combination individual and group therapy program with corresponding digital component (Intensive Outpatient Programs)
  • Partial Hospitalization program 
  • Residential treatment 


Step 3: Identify the most effective treatment 

Making the right choice for treatment can significantly affect your ROI. If your offering matches the needs of your company, you will see more success from treatments and increased productivity at work. Intensive Outpatient Programs at EHN Online allows employees to get treatment that fits into their home and work lives. 

By offering a combination of individual and group therapy with evening and daytime options, an IOP can:

  • reduce the cost of treatment 
  • improve outcomes
  • achieve higher completion rates and; 
  • help patients maintain long term progress. 

What is Intensive Outpatient Therapy?

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) at EHN Online are eight weeks of intensive treatment, four times a week, with both individual and group therapy. For ten months following treatment, patients participate in aftercare, with one virtual group meeting per week and access to the outpatient app, Wagon. This allows patients to track daily progress, achieve their goals, and better communicate with their counsellor. Our in-house clinical team ensures full cohesion across the network, so designated counsellors can join their patients throughout their entire journey to recovery. For corporate and healthcare referrals, our client care specialist is dedicated to ensuring that all reporting requirements are met and open communication exists.

Virtual and intensive therapy offers more structure than individual therapy or wellness apps, and more flexibility than in-person rehabilitation. This allows employees to immediately practice and be held accountable for using the skills learned in therapy to cope and stay at work while they heal. With specialized streams for a variety of disorders, family workshops, a corresponding app with clinically integrated content, and access to registered mental health professionals who are trained in effective online therapy, EHN Online’s IOPs are a high-ROI approach to achieving company workplace health goals. 

Finding success with IOPs

EHN Online’s IOPs for mental health, addiction and workplace trauma are accessible solutions with proven results. Referring an employee to an IOP can help you to continue supporting both your employees and your business.

“We’ve appreciated the high quality of service and the skilfulness of the clinicians to manage complex clients struggling with addictions and mood and anxiety disorders.” – Public mental health service provider

“Bob (EHN Online clinician) supported our client who has struggled in the past to connect with and get treatment from various other providers.” – Law enforcement partner

“EHN has been responsive to our requests to create a treatment schedule that best suits our clients.” – Insurance provider partner

Getting started 

Taking the time to research and understand your options for providing comprehensive mental health solutions to your staff demonstrates that you value your employees and want to see them thrive alongside your business.


Edgewood Health Network and EHN Online are dedicated to ensuring that every patient has access to a personalized recovery process, a therapeutic community, and ongoing treatment to prevent relapse. Call our referral relations team to learn more about our Intensive Outpatient Programs and how we can help you. 

We can help you or your loved one get on the right path to recovery.
Call us for a free and confidential consultation.



[1] World Health Organization. (n.d.). Mental health in the workplace.

[2] Deloitte Insights. (2019). The ROI in workplace mental health programs: Good for people, good for business. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

[3] Dewa, Chau, and Dermer (2010). Examining the comparative incidence and costs of physical and mental health-related disabilities in an employed population. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52: 758-62. Number of disability cases calculated using Statistics Canada employment data, retrieved from

Online Therapy and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)- Find the best online recovery solution for your mental health

Online Therapy and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)- Find the best online recovery solution for your mental health

Healthcare providers across Ontario can now incorporate digital support for substance use disorder into their programs affordably and efficiently.

Technology has enhanced how individuals can get mental health support, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet with so many options for recovery, it can be overwhelming finding a solution that’s best for you. Identifying your symptoms and how severe they are will help narrow your search and find a virtual therapy solution to help you thrive!

What is online therapy?

Online therapy, also known as virtual therapy, teletherapy or e-therapy provides internet-based mental health support via secure web platforms. Users can communicate with mental health professionals in real time via messaging, video, or phone. For those who live in remote areas, have busy schedules, childcare responsibilities, or limited access to quality in-person support, online therapy is an accessible solution for mental health needs.

Which type of therapy is best for me?

It is important to understand the severity of your symptoms in order to find the best mental health support for you. Think back to the last seven days and answer the questions below. How frequently did the listed symptoms occur?

For each question, give yourself a score of 0-4, with 0 being “I have not experienced this symptom at all” and 4 being “I experienced this symptom non-stop.”

Questionnaire #1: Depression

Reminder: answer each question on a scale of 0-4 (0 means you did not experience this, and 4 means you experience it constantly).

In the past seven days, I…

  • Found little interest or pleasure in doing things
  • Felt down, depressed, or hopeless 
  • Had trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Felt tired or had little energy 
  • Had a poor appetite or over-ate 
  • Felt bad about myself – that I am a failure or have let myself or my family down 
  • Had trouble concentrating on things, such as reading, working or watching television 
  • Moved or spoke so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite—was noticeably fidgety or restless
  • Thought that I would be better off dead, or of hurting myself in some way

Add up your score and divide it by nine to find your average. View the severity chart below to identify where your symptoms land.

Questionnaire #2: Anxiety

Reminder: answer each question on a scale of 0-4 (0 means you did not experience this, and 4 means you experience it constantly).

In the past seven days, I…

  • Felt moments of sudden terror, fear, or fright 
  • Felt anxious, worried, or nervous 
  • Had thoughts of bad things happening, such as family tragedy, ill health, job loss, or accidents
  • Felt a racing heart, sweaty, trouble breathing, faint, or shaky 
  • Felt tense muscles, was on edge or restless, or had trouble relaxing or sleeping
  • Avoided situations about which I worry
  • Left situations early or participated only minimally due to worries
  • Spent lots of time making decisions, putting off making decisions, or preparing for situations, due to worries
  • Sought reassurance from others due to worries 
  • Needed help to cope with anxiety (e.g. alcohol or medication, superstitious objects, or other people)

Add up your score and divide it by ten to find your average. View the severity chart below to identify where your symptoms land.

Severity Chart

Once you have added your scores together and divided them by the number of questions you answered, you should have a number between 0 and 4. Find your place on the chart for a general estimation of your symptom severity.

Average Score 0 1 2 3 4
Symptom Severity None Mild Moderate Severe Extreme

Keep in mind that the results of this exercise are not conclusive, but are a great starting place for understanding your mental health. Speaking to a doctor or counsellor for a professional opinion will offer more concrete answers.

Types of online therapy

Online therapy exists in many forms. This method can be beneficial to those struggling with mild to moderate mental health symptoms. In order to participate in online therapy, patients will require access to technology such as webcams, laptops and a reliable WiFi connection. Online therapy, especially groups, are most effective when using a tablet or laptop, not a smart phone.

Most effective for mild symptoms or immediate relief

  • Individual counselling – One on one counselling with a therapist via secure video platform.
  • Individual text or telephone counselling – One on one counselling with a therapist via your phone, with more opportunity for immediate support.
  • Self-help groups – Meet virtually with peers who have had similar experiences and offer each other support.
  • Mental health and wellness apps – Access mental health and wellness resources to improve your mind and mood.

Most effective for moderate symptoms

  • Group counselling – Therapeutic support with peers led by a licensed therapist via secure video platform.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) – Intensive online treatment on a secure platform with a combination of individual and group therapy. EHN Online’s IOP also includes access to our Wagon app.

Most effective for severe and extreme symptoms

  • If you’re experiencing severe mental health symptoms, you may benefit from an intensive outpatient program or a residential treatment stay. Following inpatient treatment, many patients benefit from maintaining their recovery with solutions appropriate for moderate symptoms, such as group counselling or intensive outpatient programs.

How to know if an intensive outpatient program is right for you

EHN Online offers a virtual IOP for those who are experiencing moderate mental health symptoms. A flexible and affordable solution, IOPs allow patients to work around their personal and work schedules, but still maintain a level of intensity that supports accountability in your recovery. Visit our mood and anxiety page to learn more about intensive outpatient therapy, or book an assessment with one of our counsellors.

Some of the most notable benefits for mood and anxiety IOPs are:

  • Skills-based sessions for immediate results
  • Minimal disruption to work and family
  • Affordable option as compared to individual counselling alone
  • Convenient
  • Evidence-based therapy with proven results
  • Compatible with an easy-to-use online platform and app

The IOP at EHN Online is eight weeks of intensive treatment, four times a week, featuring both individual and group therapy. Studies show that group therapy plays an important role in recovery by creating an intimate support network for sharing information and support with peers who have similar experiences.[1] [2]

Following the intensive treatment, patients participate in ten months of aftercare for two hours/week. These groups are offered online and include use of the Wagon app, which allows you to track daily progress, achieve your goals, and better communicate with your designated counsellor.

Just as mental health isn’t uniformly experienced by everybody, no method of recovery is equally beneficial to all. Reflect upon your symptoms and try to determine which solutions will provide the most value to you. Understanding your severity is a great place to start, so you are already on the right track!

Speak to a professional today to determine which course for recovery is best for you.  Call us at 888-767-3711 to start the process.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified mental health professional.

[1] Fogger, S. A., & Lehmann, K. (2017). Recovery Beyond Buprenorphine: Nurse-Led Group Therapy. Journal of addictions nursing, 28(3), 152–156.

[2] Epstein, E. E., McCrady, B. S., Hallgren, K. A., Gaba, A., Cook, S., Jensen, N., Hildebrandt, T., Holzhauer, C. G., & Litt, M. D. (2018). Individual versus group female-specific cognitive behavior therapy for alcohol use disorder. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 88, 27–43.