Relapse is a common step in addiction recovery. Up to 60% of patients who receive substance abuse treatment will relapse within one year. Addiction recovery is an extremely difficult process, and for many, it takes several attempts to completely stop using drugs or alcohol. It’s important to understand why drug addicts relapse and how to avoid it.
People recovering from addiction often have one or more relapses along the way. Drug addiction is a chronic disease which means it stays with the person for a long time, sometimes for life. Recovery from addiction means you must stop using drugs and learn new ways of thinking, and dealing with problems. Recovery from addiction is a lifelong effort.
What is a relapse?
For drug abuse, a relapse is the recommencement of drug use after a period of self-restraint. The causes, or triggers, of a relapse are often similar regardless of the specific drug that was used. A relapse can be a single slip which can cause the recovery addict to spiral back down into addiction.
Drug addiction is known as a relapsing disease because to relapse is common among people in recovery. Repeated drug use can cause changes in the brain that may affect an addicted person’s self-control and ability to resist cravings. Drug relapse prevention is an essential part of the recovery process because people remain at increased risk for many years. Researchers debate whether drug relapse is a process or an outcome in and of itself. It’s the process that leads people in recovery to return to their drug abuse.
What causes a relapse?
Many relapses of drug or alcohol use are caused by triggers; situations in a person’s life that causes stress, depression or unhappiness. Other reasons someone may relapse can include overwhelming feelings previously masked by drugs or alcohol or craving the physical sensations that drugs or alcohol provided such as calmness or happiness. Returning to an environment that causes drug use, such as a home, work or social situation is very common. It’s important to understand that recovery is a process, a journey, and relapses happen. It’s equally important to know what to do to avoid them, and what to do when they happen.
What to do when you suffer a relapse and how to avoid it
As stated before, it’s a common and expected part of the recovery process. Here’s what to do if you suffer a relapse. First, take responsibility for the relapse and the actions to stop it. Next, reach out to a drug addiction treatment center immediately to get help. Involve your support group and let them know you’ve had a relapse and need their support before the relapse becomes more severe.
To avoid a relapse in the future, you may need to change the people who are negatively influencing you. You may also need to change your environment, even if it’s a workplace if drugs or alcohol are present. If the issue is in your home environment, you may consider a sober living facility until you are back in control again to avoid temptation. And last, come up with a plan to avoid such a relapse in the future. Many addiction recovery centers offer life skills and coaching to help with these situations. Once you understand why drug addicts relapse and how to avoid you, your path to addiction recovery can be successful.
If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s important to seek help early. Contact the Arizona Addiction Recovery Center now by visiting https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/ or calling 602.346.9130.
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