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Avoid Relapse Overview

Avoid relapse overviewDrug addiction is considered a “chronic relapsing disorder.” An individual becomes addicted to drugs, enters a detox and rehab treatment program, and maintains an ongoing support system. However, relapse rates for addictive diseases usually are in the range of 50% to 90%, thus placing drug addiction in a category referred to as a chronic relapsing disorder. It is useful for an former addict to realize that they may get treatment, relapse, and then have to start the rehabilitation process all over again; in fact, they may have to go through this cycle many times before they can avoid relapse and live a healthy lifestyle.

Relapse and Recovery Facts

The following provides a list of facts that have been accumulated from several different research studies:

  • Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful effects on the brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.
  • Relapse rates vary by definition of relapse, severity of addiction, which drug of addiction, length of treatment, as well as other factors.
  • Studies show that women in treatment relapse less frequently than men, partly because women are more likely to engage in group counseling.
  • Triggers to relapse can include anger, frustration, stress, positive emotional states, overconfidence, psychiatric co-morbidity, severity of addiction, and social pressures in environment.
  • To avoid relapse, it is important to change one’s lifestyle to include maintaining abstinence; involving oneself in healthy relationships; getting good nutrition, rest, and exercise; and working to resolve one’s personal problems.

Common Drug Relapse Signs

Because drug addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder, it is best to avoid stressors that could initiate a relapse, including:

  • Being in the presence of drugs or alcohol, users, or places where you used or bought drugs
  • Feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness, guilt, fear, boredom, or anxiety
  • Physical pain that suggests the use of prescription drugs with high abuse potential
  • Listening to others’ past drug use stories and dwelling on getting high
  • Suddenly having a lot of cash
  • Believing that you no longer have to worry, and therefore it may be safe for you to use occasionally

Relapse Prevention Tips

The following suggestions help prevent relapse:

  • Identifying high-risk situations: Symptoms are often initiated by particular times, places, people, or events. An essential key to preventing relapse is to be aware of the specific situations where one feels vulnerable.
  • Learning alternate ways to respond to high-risk situations: Find new ways of coping with those situations. The easiest coping mechanism for high-risk situations is to avoid them altogether. If you cannot avoid the situation, you can engage in alternate activities during that time.
  • Plan for healthy living: Incorporate things such as balanced nutrition, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, health education, caring relationships, productive and recreational interests, and spiritual development.
  • Develop a support system: Research suggests that support systems are most effective when they are naturally occurring—in other words, when a circle of family and friends who genuinely care about the individual is already in place. However, artificially created support systems are certainly better than none at all.
  • Prepare for possible relapse: Acknowledging the potential for relapse is important, because many people consider a relapse as evidence of personal failure and give up completely. Instead, should a relapse occur, you need to forgive yourself and then move on.

Relapse Help

For many drug addicts, relapse is a very real possibility. In fact, between 50 – 90% of addicts relapse. However, you can avoid relapse and we can help. Please call our toll free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about drug addiction, treatment, and relapse. We are here to help.