Relapse after addiction treatment may be setback but not lifetime failure

Thursday, May 7, 2015 | By JP Emerald Coast

You’re not alone if you are struggling with relapse, even following addiction treatment. It takes time and consistent care following an intensive addiction treatment program. The chronic tendency of the disease of addiction makes relapsing a likely outcome following addiction treatment. Although relapse is a disappointing result, it is exceedingly common for individuals struggling with addiction. Like any chronic disease, addiction treatment involves altering deep-rooted behaviors. Relapse is never a personal failure and it does not mean that addiction treatment has failed. When an individual who has undergone treatment experiences a relapse, it simply means that therapy needs to be reinstated, adjusted, or another method needs to be utilized.

Relapse Can Be Part of Recovery

Did you know that the relapse rates of drug addiction are 40 to 60%? There are many reasons that people relapse back to their addiction. Some of the common causes are:

  • Not being prepared to transition from an inpatient facility to a home environment.
  • Lack of aftercare therapies.
  • Individual was never fully committed to the idea of recovering.
  • Not receiving treatment for a dual diagnosis.
  • Maintaining unhealthy relationships with other substance abusers.
  • Not possessing an active support system following rehabilitation.

Get Help Now

Although you can take the appropriate steps to avoid relapse—sometimes it is a realistic part of the journey to recovery. Relapse can be a major disappointment following an extended addiction treatment program, but don’t give up. There are relapse warning signs that are easy to spot so you can quickly get the help you need to avoid a potential disaster.

  • If a recovering addict starts to cut themselves off from others—this is an enormous warning sign. Generally, the individual will stop attending group therapies and avoid any type of accountability.
  • Everyone experiences problems in their new life away from addiction. If an individual is denying any and all difficulties, relapse is very likely. Problems that are not appropriately dealt with will cause major obstacles during the recovery process.
  • Again, life after rehab is very difficult and includes new complications. These unexpected issues can lead to feelings of resentment towards the recovery process—which can lead individuals to start using again.
  • Inability to cope. Addiction is often a way for people to cope with their feelings, and once substances are eliminated, past addicts can have difficulty dealing with their emotions. This will lead the individual to desire an escape from their discomfort—making relapse a likely coping mechanism.
  • Spending time with old crowds. Recovery can involve leaving parts of your old life behind. If an individual starts spending time with past groups of users and engaging in risky situations, there is a high risk of using again.


Actions You Can Take to Avoid Relapse

Acknowledging the signs of an oncoming relapse early is a critical step for prevention. If you are beginning to notice these warning signs in your life, there are some steps you can take to attempt to ward off any potential set backs.

The first and most important step you can take is to ask for help. Reflect on your personal goals and aspirations you set during recovery, and if you wrote in a recovery journal—go back and reflect on it. Make maintaining sobriety and self care your absolute top priority and allow everything else to take a backseat until your symptoms subside. Share your fears of relapse with people in your trusted circle and avoid any tempting situations. If you still maintain your oncoming relapse symptoms, it is important to contact a professional.

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