If you are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, it is likely that at some point in your journey you will experience a relapse. Since substance addiction is a disease, it’s no surprise that relapse rates for drug addiction are similar to relapse rates of other chronic illnesses, such as hypertension, asthma, and even Type 1 Diabetes.
A study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that there’s a 40 percent to 60 likelihood of relapse of a drug or alcohol addiction. Because of this, it is important to view such an occurrence not as a failure, but as just another challenge on your road to wellness.
Relapse will almost always trigger renewed intervention. Drug rehab centers that offer residential and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs can help you decide what level of treatment is necessary to address your relapse. It’s important also to recognize what caused the relapse.
Factors that Contribute to Relapse
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), some common personal factors that contribute to relapse are:
- Inadequate skills to deal with social pressure to use substances
- Frequent exposure to “high-risk” situations
- Physical or psychological reminders of drug use, such as paraphernalia or being in the presence of friends who abuse drugs or alcohol
- Inadequate skills to deal with conflict or negative emotions
- A desire to test personal control over drug or alcohol use
- Recurrent thoughts or physical desires to use drugs or alcohol
There are ways to arm yourself in case of a relapse:
There is no black-and-white solution for recovery from substance abuse. It’s a process that requires hard work and perseverance. You’ll need the support of a drug rehab center or a drug and alcohol treatment program to help you get back on track.
If your relapse was the result of a setback in a co-occurring issue, such as depression or an eating disorder, you’ll want to find a dual diagnosis treatment center that can help you address both your addiction and your mental and emotional state.
Form a Relapse-Prevention Plan
Have a relapse-prevention plan ready so that, once you’re back in recovery mode, you can isolate relapse triggers, learn the skills to deal with them, and avoid another relapse. Take another look at the list of common personal triggers above and use your awareness of your own personal triggers as a road map to maintaining your recovery. Think of each trigger as a “Do Not Enter” sign on your road to recovery!
A relapse should not be viewed as a failure. Statistically speaking, most people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction will suffer a relapse at some point, so you are not alone. Imagine yourself stronger and surer in your recovery, having overcome such a relapse. Be kind to yourself, and keep in mind that every experience is a learning experience.