Relapsing is a common condition faced by many people who battle an addiction. Some might relapse during treatment while others might relapse several times before finally becoming sober. According to global studies, 40 to 60 percent individuals relapse within a month of leaving a rehab center and more than 85 percent relapse within the first year. Always remember that recovery and relapse go hand-in-hand.
So what is relapse? Relapse is when an individual starts reusing drugs or alcohol. To prevent relapse it is important to understand relapse meaning, your personal triggers, how to respond to them in a positive manner, and how to manage them. Here we present the top 7 reasons why you might relapse and why. See if any of these reasons are common to you.
- Withdrawal: Withdrawal symptoms can be tough and most people start using drugs again to avoid these. While the initial withdrawal symptoms can be easily managed via a medical detox in a rehab center, post-acute withdrawal symptoms, which may last from six to 18 months, can become unbearable causing you to relapse.
- Mental disorders: Though an addiction is a condition in itself, it may be caused because of an underlying condition, like a mental health disorder. When you seek treatment from a certified rehab center, the counselor treats you for the addiction as well as the underlying problems like depression, anxiety, poor mental health, trauma, etc. However, when these underlying conditions are left untreated, the chances of relapsing become high.
- Stress: Most researches show that stress is also a cause why people turn back to the choice of their drug to cope with it. This is especially true in cases where using drugs was the initial way of coping with the stress.
- Negative emotions: Anybody can face negative emotions and feelings, but you do not need alcohol or drugs to cope with them or face them. If you do not know of positive ways to overcome these negative emotions and feelings, then chances are that you will relapse. This is known as emotional relapse.
- Things, places, people associated with addictive behavior: Another major reason for relapse can be the things, smells, sounds, people, places and behaviors associated with addictive behavior before. For example, the old drinking circle, the smell of weed, the sound of a beer can opening, a dark corner, anything associated with your drinking behavior can lead to a relapse. When you are in abstinence, these things affect you more profoundly.
- Unhealthy lifestyle and poor self-care: Following an unhealthy lifestyle can lead you back to the addiction in no time. When you do not take proper care of yourself, your brain gets the message that you do not care. When you eat an unbalanced diet or do not exercise regularly, your body feels deprived and starts craving the substance or alcohol you abused earlier.
- Isolation, loneliness, and boredom: These three have proven to be one of the top reasons why a person relapses. A newly sober person has a lot of time on their hands and when you are unable to engage in something creative, fruitful or appealing to yourself, you tend to reach out to substance or alcohol. Similarly, when you are over-busy with one engagement after the other, you tend to use substances to cope. So, while avoiding boredom is important, not being over-busy is also important.
Managing addiction and relapse
If you feel that some of these triggers might make you relapse, then talk about preventing relapse to your addiction counselor. They will be able to provide you with a positive strategy to manage, overcome, and prevent relapse.
If you do not want to go back to your counselor and are looking for a new place, then get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline. We can connect you with the best addiction counselors, who can help you understand your triggers and why they lead you to relapse. You can either call our 24/7 recovery helpline 855-441-4405 or chat online with a trained representative for further assistance.