According to statistics, nearly 40-60% of the people in substance abuse recovery relapse at least once. The important thing is not to consider this moment a failure. Relapse is possible during addiction recovery, and the best solution is to be prepared not to let it become permanent. Knowing relapse definition and understanding what it entails can provide the necessary guidance.
This blog post will explain what relapse means in addiction recovery, provide common causes, and give tips to avoid it.
Relapse refers to a deterioration in health condition after signs of improvement. Addiction recovery refers to a patient succumbing to external or internal temptations and using the substance again. The point isn’t to suggest a former addict should never touch the source of their addiction.
Several former alcoholics fully recover and feel comfortable around drinks a few years into their recovery. The problem is when the former addict isn’t in perfect control of their consumption, and a single user can send them spiraling back into addiction.
Understanding this distinction is critical for preventing relapse or taking corrective measures to prevent it from worsening.
Causes of Relapse
It is challenging to pinpoint all potential causes of relapse, but experts have prepared a helpful guide. They have divided relapse causes into two categories, external and internal. External causes are when the prompt comes from outside, while internal factors refer to your emotions and the state of your well-being.
The first four entries of the following list mention external causes of relapse, while the remaining four are internal.
1. Encounter With Former Dealers
Former dealers are a natural part of your addiction and can trigger reactions even if they don’t try to sell drugs. The case gets even worse if they try to get you to start using again because you’ll find it difficult to resist the earlier phases of recovery.
The best solution is to avoid seeing them at all costs. You can also change your number to prevent unwanted communication and block their numbers if necessary. Your recovery is your primary concern; everything else takes a backseat until you feel stable.
2. Being Among a Crowd That Uses Substance
You will likely have friends and family who still use the substance you are addicted to. Depending on your case, this statement can refer to drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication. The problem is that being in their company will become a trigger, especially if they continue using in front of you.
It will be painful, but you’ll need to distance yourself from them until your recovery makes it possible for you to remain in control in the presence of drugs or alcohol.
3. Interacting With Items Associated With Drug Use
Some people are sensitive about interacting with items they associate with addiction and can relapse if they encounter them for extended periods. Some common examples include needles, pill bottles, decanters, etc. Requesting a friend or family member to remove them from your home before you return from the rehab facility is best.
4. Being in a Location You Associate With Drugs.
Sometimes, even being in the location where you used drugs or associate with drug consumption can trigger a relapse. If your home fits this description, moving to a different location or having it remodeled is better. The longer you expose yourself to the memory, the higher your risk of spiraling back into addiction.
The one thing drugs and alcohol never fail at is taking your mind off your problems. They stimulate the brain, making you forget about the routine hassles of life, making it easier to cope. Unfortunately, this characteristic and’ feel good quality comes with addiction concerns and a horde of medical problems for addicts.
Hence, boredom can pull you back into dangerous patterns and push you towards relapse.
6. Turbulent Relationships
Your relationships affect your moods and emotions, and turbulence can cause an imbalance in your mental health. There will be conflict, but try to communicate your needs and find a peaceful solution to misunderstandings or disagreements.
Consistent negativity will put unnecessary pressure on your recovering mind and can lead to you seeking comfort in drugs or alcohol.
7. Stress or Other Negative Emotions
Stress is bad for people without an addiction but is hazardous for recovering addicts. It can cause their anxiety to spike, creating mental health turbulence and making them seek solace in substances.
Other negative emotions, like despair and fear, can have the same reactions, and you need to be careful lest they cause a relapse. You can return from relapse through conscious efforts, but it isn’t easy or ideal.
8. Irregular Sleeping Patterns
Lastly, poor sleeping patterns can also cause a decline in your mental and physical health, weakening your resolve against your addiction. Sleep is necessary for daily physical and psychological recovery. You need the designated hours to ensure your body is well rested.
Talk to your therapist if you struggle with insomnia or other sleep issues. They will prescribe the most suitable meds considering your case history, which might help you.
Tips to Avoid Relapsing
It takes a solid mind to avoid relapsing, but there are also some precautions you can take to be careful.
1. Create a Support Network
Firstly, establish a close and trustworthy support network of people to support you through the recovery process. They will offer strength when you need it and provide the balance you need.
2. Continue Seeking Therapy
Continue going to your therapist to explore yourself. The more you know about your personality, the easier it will be to avoid dangerous settings.
3. Take Up Hobbies and Interests
Boredom is a simple and routine reality, but addicts see it as an aspect that pushes them towards addiction. Try to take up new hobbies and interests to practice them to prevent boredom from changing your mind.
We hope this blog clarifies the relapse definition and helps you understand how to manage such an event. You can also learn more about drug addiction from our other blogs, so give them a read. If you or a loved one is struggling, check out our substance abuse rehab directory for help near you.