What Is Addiction Relapse And How Does It Happen
Drug addiction relapse is when a person continues or starts to use drugs again after having stopped. This is why it is so important that addicts continue with treatment and stay consistent with a proper detox program. Understanding the cycle of addiction can give even more insight as to how drug misusers feel and think when going through treatment.
When youre fighting drug addiction, relapse is a word you dont want to hear at any time. But relapse can be a reality for recovering addicts trying to adjust to a new life without their substance of choice. A first relapse often comes as a total surprise because while many people know that relapses are common, they arent prepared for one themselves.
There are many reasons why an addiction relapse could happen. Relapse triggers are any stimuli that can prompt the desire, temptation, or craving to act on a compulsion, like binge drinking. Relapse triggers can be events, emotions, thoughts, surroundings, people, and even feelings.
The two most given reasons for relapse are when they go back to places related to their original addiction and being around people who are using drugs.
Whether it be familial, financial, academic, psychological, or other reasons that may lead to relapse, it helps to understand the root causes of the affliction. Understanding these causes can help people meet their needs more successfully.
Rule : Don’t Bend The Rules
The purpose of this rule is to remind individuals not to resist or sabotage change by insisting that they do recovery their way. A simple test of whether a person is bending the rules is if they look for loopholes in recovery. A warning sign is when clients ask for professional help and consistently ignore the advice.
Broadly speaking, once clients have been in recovery for a while, they can be divided into two categories: non-users and denied users. Non-users say that using was fun but acknowledge that it has not been fun lately. They want to start the next chapter of their life.
Denied users will not or cannot fully acknowledge the extent of their addiction. They cannot imagine life without using. Denied users invariably make a secret deal with themselves that at some point they will try using again. Important milestones such as recovery anniversaries are often seen as reasons to use. Alternatively, once a milestone is reached, individuals feel they have recovered enough that they can determine when and how to use safely. It is remarkable how many people have relapsed this way 5, 10, or 15 years after recovery.
Clients are encouraged to identify whether they are non-users or denied users. A denied user is in chronic mental relapse and at high-risk for future relapse. Clinical experience has shown that everyone in early recovery is a denied user. The goal is to help individuals move from denied users to non-users.
What Is A Drug Relapse
Many people ask, What is a drug relapse? There is no standard definition because people experience setbacks in different ways. Each persons recovery is unique, and not everyone will experience a relapse after treatment ends. Setbacks are a reality of recovery for many people because addiction is a lifelong condition that does not have a permanent cure.
- A relapse can mean:
- A person uses drugs or alcohol after abstaining from them for some time
- A person experiences a slip-up, or uses drugs or alcohol once, and then returns to sobriety
- Someone resumes drug or alcohol use after treatment and then returns to rehab
- Someone experiences a full relapse and slips into old patterns and habits
Recovery is possible for everyone, regardless of whether theyve faced a setback. Setbacks are common and many people can get back on track with sobriety after experiencing a setback. A healthy way to frame a relapse is that instead of viewing it as a failure, view it as a learning opportunity that teaches how to manage life in sobriety.
You May Like: Why Do Some People Have Addictive Personalities
Reasons That Lead To Relapse
The analysis of the content from the respondents speeches resulted in different reasons pointed as triggers of relapse, those ones being clustered in categories. Table 1 shows these reasons, disposed according to the decreasing quotation order and combined in big categories: User Related Reasons , Drug Related Reasons , Environment Related Reasons .
Looking For A Place To Start
Reach out to a treatment provider for free today.
However, if youve fallen back into a continued pattern of substance abuse, you might need to get back into a strict treatment program. If you find yourself talking about using substances, hang out with people who encourage you to drink, or fall back into substance abuse to cope, this is a sign of a bigger problem needing immediate treatment.
Ive relapsed many times but this was the longest Ive stayed sober. If I could do this, anyone could. I almost died, almost went back to jail, almost lost everything I worked so hard to protect. But you can make it back. I did.
Upon returning to treatment, this time should have a deeper emphasis on therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy , which has been successful in teaching recovering addicts new behavioral responses to distorted thinking. Other forms of therapy to explore that are available at many treatment programs include art and music therapy, yoga and relaxation techniques, physical fitness and even equine therapy. After treatment, you can continue to use these strategies and tools to maintain a stress-free life, additionally using these methods to cope with depression, grief, anxiety or anger.
Get Help During COVID-19
With just 30 days at a rehab center, you can get clean and sober, start therapy, join a support group, and learn ways to manage your cravings.
Scroll to Find Your Insurance
Read Also: What Do Addicts Need To Recover
Relapse Warning Signs In Recovery
When a loved one is in recovery, there are many relapse warning signs to watch out for to keep yourself or another on the right track. In some cases, these signs will be on the surface but in others, he or she will hide them from sight so they can resume old habits without alerting others to their fall from grace.
Former substance abusers might be ashamed of having relapsed, which will only make the situation worse. Its your responsibility to stay on top of someone close to you whos in recovery, particularly if theyre in an early stage.
Coping With The Disappointment Of Relapse
Addiction recovery isnt always successful the first time. Relapse is common, but it doesnt mean you failed or wont have a chance at living a sober life. Despite the possibility for eventual success in addiction recovery, relapse often creates feelings of disappointment. You didnt live up to the expectations you had for recovery, which resulted in relapse. Its natural to feel let down or disappointed.
In some cases, relapse happens after a turning point in recovery. Everything clicks. You worked through the detox phase. Recovery seems easy. You feel a sense of joy, but sometimes that joy can cause disconnect from reality. You convince yourself that recovery is easy. When you hit a road bump that suddenly makes you remember that recovery is a process that requires hard work, you may feel deflated or disappointed. Some people slip back into drug or alcohol use at this point, because they feel that recovery isnt working.
When you feel disappointed with your relapse, you may struggle to see any good in your life. You likely feel exhausted and may feel increased stress. Some people blame others for the relapse or for the feelings of disappointment. These reactions interfere with your ability to bounce back after the relapse and once again work toward addiction recovery.
How should you deal with the disappointment of relapse or disappointment in general during addiction recovery? Here are some healthy methods of dealing with those feelings:
You May Like: How To Forgive An Addict
Warning Signs Of Relapse
As people progress through the stages of relapse, they exhibit various warning signs. By recognizing warning signs that you or a loved one may be headed for relapse, you can take steps to prevent it from occurring.
Signs that relapse is about to occur include:
- Romanticizing previous alcohol or drug use
- Thinking one slip will be OK
- Lying and being dishonest
- Skipping therapy or support group meetings
- Interacting with friends or other people who drink or use drugs
Some people can overcome physical dependence to a drug without committing to living a healthy life in recovery. Dry drunks, for example, are sober people in recovery who continue to engage in risky behaviors that increase their risk for relapse. Signs of a dry drunk include attending bars, refusing to seek therapy and obsessing over alcohol.
Friends and family members can recognize outward warning signs and try to intervene before a full relapse occurs.
Getting A Promotion Or New Job
Positive life events are often overlooked as relapse triggers. Getting a promotion or new job can lead to an urge to celebrate. You may fall into the false idea that is celebrating with a drink or drug just this once will be ok. Increased income can also trigger thoughts of being able to afford your drug of choice.
While a promotion or other positive event is exciting and can boost your confidence, it may also come with added responsibility, pressure, and stress. Thats why it is important to make a plan for how you will celebrate without drugs or alcohol in advance of actually being in this situation.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does It Take To Stop Nicotine Addiction
What To Do When You Relapse On Cocaine
Cocaine relapse is not the end of the line. Should a relapse occur, people shouldnt react as if theyve been given a green light for unbridled cocaine use. Rather, relapse is a stumbling block to longer-term recovery and should signal to the individual that some changes need to be maderenewed engagement with various treatment outlets can get someone immediately back on track. Diligent aftercare program participation following cocaine addiction treatment can make a big difference for someone struggling with fears of relapse and can help that individual create a plan of action for what to do in the event of an actual relapse.
If you have recently relapsed on cocaine, do not give up. Here are some steps you can take to get back on track toward long-term recovery 3,7:
Seeing Or Sensing The Object Of Your Addiction
Reminders of your addiction can trigger relapse during recovery. A whiff of cigarette smoke, watching people sip cocktails in a bar or restaurant, or a couple locked in an erotic embrace are reminders that seem to be everywhere in the early stages of quitting.
Wanting to fall back into your addiction is normal. After all, it’s a familiar place for you. But, recovery is not just about “quitting” and “abstaining” as much as it’s about building a new life in which it is easierand more desirablenot to use.
Focus on the new life you’re building and the changes you’re making. Think about the negative consequences that you experienced while participating in your addictionthe people you hurt and the relationships you lost. You may think you miss your old life when you see these reminders, but in reality it only brought you pain and hardship.
Embrace the idea that you’re creating a new, healthier version of yourself with no room for the things of the past.
Having a substitute behavior like going to a yoga class or taking a long bath also can be helpful when you’re feeling triggered. Even reciting positive mantras or doing relaxation exercises, may help you resist these urges as well. For additional ideas, work with your counselor or therapist about how to effectively deal with these reminders.
You May Like: What Drugs Are Used To Treat Drug Addiction
Why Do Some People Become Addicted To Drugs While Others Don’t
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:
- Biology. The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person’s risk for addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence risk for drug use and addiction.
- Environment. A persons environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a persons likelihood of drug use and addiction.
- Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a persons life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.
Tips For Finding The Best Drug Addiction Treatment For You
Remember that no treatment works for everyone. Everyones needs are different. Whether you have a problem with illegal or prescription drugs, addiction treatment should be customized to your unique situation. Its important that you find a program that feels right.
Treatment should address more than just your drug abuse. Addiction affects your whole life, including your relationships, career, health, and psychological well-being. Treatment success depends on developing a new way of living and addressing the reasons why you turned to drugs in the first place. For example, your drug dependency may have developed from a desire to manage pain or to cope with stress, in which case youll need to find a healthier way to relieve pain or to handle stressful situations.
Commitment and follow-through are key. Drug addiction treatment is not a quick and easy process. In general, the longer and more intense the drug use, the longer and more intense the treatment youll need. And in all cases, long-term follow-up care is crucial to recovery.
There are many places to turn for help. Not everybody requires medically supervised detox or an extended stint in rehab. The care you need depends on a variety of factors, including your age, drug-use history, medical or psychiatric conditions. In addition to doctors and psychologists, many clergy members, social workers, and counselors offer addiction treatment services.
Also Check: How To Withdraw From Tramadol Addiction
Limitation Of The Study
The work is based on a qualitative research, so the authors recommend wariness with the data extrapolation to other contexts. Although the authors haven’t perceived any interference of the treatments in connection with the reasons which lead to relapse cited by the interviewees, we do not exclude the possibility that this interference may happen in studies of such kind. The sample is predominantly consisted of men which does not allow us to assert that the reasons of relapse, cited in the manuscript, would be the same for women.
Cocaine Relapse Warning Signs
Fortunately, there are many warning signs that typically occur during the relapse process. Those completing addiction treatment should be aware of the warning signs of cocaine relapse to help prevent one from occurring. Some of the most common warning signs include 3,5,7:
- Not following up with aftercare programs .
- Feeling overly stressed and not dealing with it effectively .
- Experiencing an increase in drug cravings.
- Engaging in other compulsive behaviors such as gambling, overeating, overworking, and overexercising.
- Spending time with drug-using friends or going to places or events where you once used.
- Feeling a lack of support from your family and friends in your desire to stay sober.
- Return to addictive thinking and negative thoughts.
- Bottling up emotions and isolating oneself from others.
- Having a poor self-care routine .
- Glamorizing past use and minimizing the reality of negative consequences.
- Lying to others or engaging in secretive behavior.
- Planning a relapse or looking for a relapse opportunity.
Don’t Miss: How To Control Video Game Addiction
Overdose Risk During Relapse
When a person uses a drug regularly, they develop tolerance to it, which means they need to use more to get the same effect. If a person then doesnt use it for a while, their tolerance to the drug may drop, so when they take their usual amount after a break from using, it could be too much for the body to cope with and lead to an overdose.
Overdose due to changed tolerance is a specific risk for people who return to using a drug after a period of non-use, at times such as post-release from prison, during detoxification and/or rehabilitation. Someone on naltrexone, for example, can be at risk if they use soon after stopping oral medication, or skipping a dose, or when the effects of a naltrexone implant have ceased.8
If an overdose is suspected, seek medical assistance immediately.
How Are Substance Use Disorders Treated In The Criminal Justice System
The recent National Academy of Sciences report on Medications for Opioid Use Disorder stated that only 5% of people with opioid use disorder in jail and prison settings receive medication treatment.13 A survey of prison medical directors suggested that most are not aware of the benefits of using medications with treatment, and when treatment is offered, it usually consists of only behavioral counseling, and/or detoxification without follow-up treatment.13
Effective treatment of substance use disorders for incarcerated people requires a comprehensive approach including the following:
- Behavioral therapies, including:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps modify the patients drug-use expectations and behaviors, and helps effective manage triggers and stress
- contingency management therapy, which provides motivational incentives in the forms of vouchers or cash rewards for positive behaviors
Recommended Reading: Why Is Smoking Weed So Addictive
Don’t Miss: How Many Americans Suffer From Addiction