In this contemporary era, drug addiction is a serious issue and relapse is a real concern. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in the year 2009, 23.5 million people aged 12 and up required treatment for the use of alcohol or an illicit drug. In many cases, addicts recognize the need to attain professional help and enroll in a recovery facility for treatment services. However, many of these individuals then relapse into their former world of drug abuse after being released from the treatment facility. So, when a relapse happens does it mean recovery is over? Learn more about the issue of a relapse here.
Drug recovery is a process that transpires when a substance abuse addict attains treatment services that help her or him cease using the illicit substance. The ideal recovery happens in an inpatient facility and can incorporate a broad range of therapy services. Some of those services might include:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Nutritional counseling
- Restorative exercise
When the patient has successfully participated in recovery services and establishes a pattern of sobriety, she or he is typically released from the inpatient facility to begin a healthier, happier life. Hopefully, they have learned the skills and have the tools necessary to remain drug-free. However, often something will happen in the individual’s life which will cause them to have a setback, and they will return to their drug of choice which is called a relapse. Relapse happens often, but it is not a reason to think that recovery is over. When a relapse happens, the individual must start again on their road to recovery.
What to do When a Relapse Happens
While many recovering addicts remain free from drugs following enrollment in a treatment facility, this is not always the case. In fact, some individuals relapse. Although defined broadly, the term relapse refers to the recurrence of the drug addict’s dependence on an illicit substance. Relapse can also refer to the recovering addict breaking the cycle of abstinence by using the illegal substance once or a few times without becoming dependent on it. As many drug addiction experts know, the recovering addict may be exposed to a wide range of risk factors and triggers that make returning to the world of substance abuse more likely.
What Does a Relapse Mean for the Addict?
Although relapse marks the addict’s return to a world of drug use, it does not mean that the recovery process is over. As a condition that is classified as a chronic disease, drug addiction often entails periods of relapse. This means that recovery is an ongoing, long-term process that can and often does incorporate the addict’s return to the world of illicit substance use. When this happens, the individual may return to inpatient treatment for more counseling and treatment programs if they feel this is necessary. Many times, outpatient treatment can get them back on the right track.
Can a Relapse Be Prevented?
While relapses are common, it’s important to know that there are strategies recovering addicts can employ to decrease their likelihood. For example, recognizing signs which indicate that a relapse could transpire can empower the recovering addict to seek help from various support networks to remain abstinent. Some signs that a relapse may take place include:
- Compulsive behavior
- Destructive thoughts
- Neglect of coping skills
- Return to unhealthy environments and behaviors
- Neglect of healthy habits
- Isolation from groups and activities
- Mood swings
If you note one or several of these behaviors manifesting in your life, speaking with a mentor or reconnecting with counselors from your inpatient treatment center can be an excellent way to prevent a relapse.
Aftercare treatment is a way to help prevent relapses. When the individual returns home and back in their normal environment, they can continue outpatient counseling a couple of days a week. Another way to help avoid relapse is to join a support group where you attend meetings with other recovering addicts. Others who are also in recovery understand better than anyone what you are going through in your battle to remain sober and drug-free every day. This can be a tremendous help, especially when first returning home from the inpatient treatment facility.
What Else Can I Do to Prevent Relapse?
One of the best ways to prevent relapse is by leading a healthy lifestyle. When you eat well and exercise regularly, you maintain the mood stability and optimized thinking which increase the likelihood that you will make life-giving decisions that promote progress and positivity. There are numerous health optimization strategies you can implement to reduce the risk of relapse, and some of them include:
- Hiring a personal trainer
- Drinking a green juice each morning
- Spending fifteen minutes in the sun each day
- Investing in a pampering activity (massage, manicure, pedicure, etc.)
Summing It All Up
If you’re serious about recovering from drug addiction, it’s important to note that relapse is a reality that many addicts may have to grapple with once or even several times. To ensure that you can decrease the likelihood of relapse, refer to the information and advice found in this quick reference guide.
Recovering from drug addiction is a long process. You don’t just come out of the inpatient addiction treatment facility free from your cravings for drugs or alcohol. Remember, this is an ongoing process which you may have to contend with for the rest of your life. You will continue to have cravings at certain times, but you can find the strength with the knowledge you now have of ways to fight off the cravings and remain healthy and happy. Remember, when a relapse happens, learn from the mistake and get back on track right away.