What Does Relapsed Mean
When a person struggling with addiction goes in for treatment, they typically spend that time drug-free. This drug-free state may continue for a while through recovery as well. However, relapse is fairly common throughout the treatment and recovery phases. Many people go back to treatment several times before they are finally truly able to change their habits and lifestyle. When someone is said to have relapsed, it means that they have gone back to using drugs or alcohol as they did before. Relapsing can be very dangerous in some cases as the person may go back to using the same amount of drugs or alcohol that they did before. However, without tolerance in place, this may put them at high risk for overdose.
Rule : Change Your Life
The most important rule of recovery is that a person does not achieve recovery by just not using. Recovery involves creating a new life in which it is easier to not use. When individuals do not change their lives, then all the factors that contributed to their addiction will eventually catch up with them.
But clients and families often begin recovery by hoping that they dont have to change. They often enter treatment saying, We want our old life back without the using. I try to help clients understand that wishing for their old life back is like wishing for relapse. Rather than seeing the need for change as a negative, they are encouraged to see recovery as an opportunity for change. If they make the necessary changes, they can go forward and be happier than they were before. This is the silver lining of having an addiction. It forces people to reevaluate their lives and make changes that non-addicts dont have to make.
Recovering individuals are often overwhelmed by the idea of change. As part of their all-or-nothing thinking, they assume that change means they must change everything in their lives. It helps them to know that there is usually only a small percent of their lives that needs to be changed. It can also be assuring to know that most people have the same problems and need to make similar changes.
Examples of Change
What do most people need to change? There are three categories:
Warning Signs You Need To Seek Help Now
You can learn to manage triggers. Theres no way to remove all of the stress from your life, but you can learn to recognize whats happening and then get help. Some warning signs you may need to reach out for help include:
- Thinking about your past drug use in a positive way, as if remembering a good time
- Feeling cravings or thinking about using the drug again, even knowing the risks
- Experiencing the onset of anxiety or feeling like you are always worried about something
- Being overconfident in your sobriety to the point that you stop doing the necessary self-care
- Taking on way too much and then feeling overwhelmed and unable to manage everything
- Changes in your behavior, such as wanting to revisit locations where you used to use substances or talking to people you used to use substances with
- Lying, being dishonest with yourself, or simply neglecting your friends and family even though you may not be using substances right now
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Most Common Reasons For Addiction Relapse
Unfortunately relapse rates for individuals who enter recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction are quite high. Studies reflect that about 40-60% of individuals relapse within 30 days of leaving an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center, and up to 85% relapse within the first year. It is important for individuals who struggle with an alcohol dependence or other substance dependence to acknowledge the high risk for relapse, have an awareness of what their own personal triggers are, and learn to cope with their triggers and emotions in a healthy way. Through an understanding of common risks for addiction relapse, individuals can be better equipped and better able to maintain their recovery. Here are a list of 10 common triggers that contribute to addiction relapse.
2. Mental Health
6. Poor Self-Care
7. Relationships and Intimacy
8. Pride and Overconfidence
9. Boredom and Isolation
10. Uncomfortable Emotions
For more information on addiction treatment, therapy and mental health, sober coaching, sober companions, or to inquire about our private concierge therapy services and/or our teletherapy services in New York City please contact our undisclosed therapy office location in the Upper East Side of NYC today at 220-2912.
Becoming Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
More broadly speaking, I believe that recovering individuals need to learn to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. They often assume that non-addicts dont have the same problems or experience the same negative emotions. Therefore, they feel it is defensible or necessary to escape their negative feelings. The cognitive challenge is to indicate that negative feelings are not signs of failure, but a normal part of life and opportunities for growth. Helping clients feel comfortable with being uncomfortable can reduce their need to escape into addiction.
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What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Things That You Should Avoid Saying To A Person With Addictions Who Relapsed
Again, your objective is to help guide the person back to a place where they feel the courage to get back on track with their recovery. You might need some time to let your emotions settle a bit before engaging in such a discussion. Here are some examples of things that you should avoid saying to a person with addictions who has just relapsed
- How could you do this?
- I am so angry at you right now.
- Dont you want to get better?
- Stop being so selfish. Look at what this is doing to our relationship?
- Why wont you just stop doing drugs?
- Didnt you follow the steps that you were given in therapy?
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Sober Living Programs For Relapse Prevention
A lapse or relapse is not the end of your recovery. Its just a brief hiccup in the lifelong journey and you can use the experience to become even stronger in your sobriety. If youve recently relapsed and youre looking for additional support in your recovery, Eudaimonia Recovery Homes can help.
We have sober living houses located in Texas and Colorado and designed for adult men and women in recovery. Our transitional living programs also include several recovery support services, such as a personal monitoring program, regular drug and alcohol testing, tiered recovery programming, and employment and educational assistance.
Sober living programs can help you achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle while youre learning to live a life of sobriety. Whether youve recently relapsed or youve just completed a drug and alcohol rehab program, Eudaimonia sober living homes can provide the support you need to maintain your sobriety.
What To Do When Someone Has Relapsed
If you are fairly certain your loved one has relapsed, you should revert to the plan you developed if your loved one did not successfully complete treatment. That may mean withdrawing financial support, other types of help, or ceasing contact altogether. These are all difficult things to do, but at the end of the day, you asked your loved one to take a test out of concern for them and to set your mind at ease. Anyone in recovery should understand that and, even if it is frustrating, recognize that it is not that big of a deal. Someone who has relapsed and is willing to fight for his or her recovery may seek further treatment after experiencing consequences. Others, while not lost causes by any means, may take a while longer before seeking help.
Suspecting a loved one has relapsed is very different than knowing for sure. Determining the truth is a complicated task that requires careful consideration, honesty, nonjudgmental conversations, and courage. Addiction professionals can help you navigate this emotional minefield. It is important to note that whether your loved one relapses or not is their decision and out of your control. However, the support group Al-Anon can help you get the support and encouragement you need regardless of the decision your loved one makes.
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What To Do When Signs Of Relapse Occur
If these warning signs are apparent, it is a good time to put cognitive therapy and relaxation techniques learned during recovery training into action.
Cognitive behavior training helps to offset negative thoughts that often underlie addictive thinking. They can lead to anxious feelings, resentment, stress, and depression. And these can lead to drug and alcohol use.
The person in recovery can also the warning signs mentioned above and turn them 180 degrees.
- Work toward a positive attitude, be grateful.
- Seek to lower stress levels.
- Admit the reality of the situation and be honest with oneself.
- Take good self-care get adequate sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise.
- Spending time with friends and family.
- Volunteer, get involved with people
- Avoid high-rise situations if possible.
- Look for opportunities and be open to them.
What To Do If Your Loved One Relapses
If you think our loved one truly has relapsed, dont panic. It can be easy to see relapse as a failure, to lose faith in the treatment process and turn to catastrophic thinking. But in reality, relapse is often a part of the recovery process research suggests that 70-90% of people who try to get sober experience at least one mild to moderate slip. A relapse doesnt mean that treatment has failed or that recovery is not achievable, it means that recovery is not complete. The reasons for this lack of completeness of recovery can vary from person to person and may include:
- Skills learned in treatment were not fully integrated
- Duration of treatment was too short
- The environment was not conducive to healing
- The continuing care plan was inadequate
- A co-occurring mental health disorder remains untreated
Relapse is an opportunity to identify the areas of recovery that must be strengthened to support ongoing sobriety and modulate the recovery plan to attend to unmet needs.
Matching your loved one with a program that is right for them is instrumental in creating transformative treatment experiences that will continue to buoy them as they learn to successfully manage their addiction as a chronic illness. With the right care, they harness their inner resources to create a new, more purposeful life free from the bonds of addiction.
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When Relapse Occurs It Does Not Have To Last For Very Long
This relapse could be a small blip in the middle of many successful years. Chronic relapsing is a part of the condition of substance use disorder.
Also, the experts are now recommending that we stop referring to people who do not use drugs as being clean. To say that someone is now clean implies that they were previously dirty. How would you feel if your family called you dirty when you were sick?
Warning Signs Of Addiction Relapse In A Loved One
It’s important to know how to identify the warning signs of addiction relapse when you have a loved one who is in recovery from addiction. There are some telltale signs that a person in recovery is moving toward an addiction relapse, even before they actually use drugs or drink again. When you are able to identify those signs, you may be able to help your loved one avoid relapsing and get his or her feet firmly planted back in recovery.
While its often said that addiction relapse is a part of recovery, it doesnt have to be when you know the warning signs of addiction relapse to look for in your loved one. The following are some of the common signs that an addiction relapse is looming:
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Do You Know What To Do When Someone Relapses
When you suspect that a loved one has returned to old, self-destructive behaviors, do not start by beating them up over it. They have enough sorrow, guilt, and remorse as it is without you adding to it. Making things more difficult is not going to get them to listen and do what you want them to do. More likely, you are going to push them away and back to using drugs.
If you want to know what to do if someone relapses, think about how you deal with impossible situations where you felt trapped with no way out. Do you also have your coping mechanisms? There is nothing different about a person who has relapsed. They have simply found a way to cope with highly stressful situations where they see no other solution.
Unfortunately, addiction to drugs is physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually damaging to the individual. It takes a long time to heal from active addiction.
Cognitive Therapy And Relapse Prevention
Cognitive therapy is one of the main tools for changing peoples negative thinking and developing healthy coping skills . The effectiveness of cognitive therapy in relapse prevention has been confirmed in numerous studies .
This is a short list of the types of negative thinking that are obstacles to recovery and are topics for cognitive therapy : 1) My problem is because of other people 2) I dont think I can handle life without using 3) Maybe I can just use occasionally 4) Life wont be fun I wont be fun without using 5) Im worried I will turn into someone I dont like 6) I cant make all the necessary changes I cant change my friends 7) I dont want to abandon my family 8) Recovery is too much work 9) My cravings will be overwhelming I wont be able to resist them 10) If I stop, Ill only start up again I have never finished anything 11) No one has to know if I relapse and 12) Im worried I have been so damaged by my addiction that I wont be able to recover.
The negative thinking that underlies addictive thinking is usually all-or-nothing thinking, disqualifying the positives, catastrophizing, and negatively self-labeling . These thoughts can lead to anxiety, resentments, stress, and depression, all of which can lead to relapse. Cognitive therapy and mind-body relaxation help break old habits and retrain neural circuits to create new, healthier ways of thinking .
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Warning Sign Of Relapse #: You Convince Yourself That Its Okay To Just Have One Drink
Although you may convince yourself that you can control your use and just have one drink or one dose of drugs, that is a very dangerous state to be in. A single drink can easily turn into two, three or six, and all of a sudden, you may realize you no longer have control. On the other hand, just because youve had one lapse, doesnt mean you have completely ruined your sobriety. That single lapse doesnt have to spiral out of control and become a full-blown relapse. You can still come clean with your support group and get the additional support you need to continue with your recovery journey before things get worse.
What If The Warning Signs Of Addiction Relapse Are Present
If you recognize one or more of the signs in your loved one, its important to talk to him or her about what is going on. If he or she has a sponsor or other friends in recovery, you may want to enlist their help in discussing it. If relapse hasnt happened, you may be able to help your loved one avoid it altogether. If he or she has already relapsed, further treatment may be needed to address underlying issues.
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Why Catching Relapse Early Matters
Knowing how to tell if an addict has relapsed or is at risk of relapsing is an important way you can support them through their recovery process. Relapses are exceedingly common, and catching them as early as possible helps your loved one stay on the path to healing. As Tim writes in a moving series published in The Guardian:
Addiction has a way of making these REALLY compelling arguments toward self-destruction and isolation. Even in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, addiction will convince you that you dont deserve to live a good life. Then, once youve relapsed, and are in this shame spiral and youre creating more damage and living more lies it becomes harder to ask for help again. The life you once had in recovery seems like someone elses life.
In a few words, Tim hits at the heart of why early assessment of relapse risk and early relapse intervention mattersit interrupts that cycle of self-destruction and can drastically limit the damage done.
If your tendency is toward hypervigilance, on the other hand, knowing the signs of relapse can help you reality-check your worries and evaluate whether you have cause for concern. After all, constant, unfounded accusations of relapse can damage your relationship and cause your loved one to close themselves off to you. As such, it is imperative to separate your fears from the facts.