Addiction to any substance can be harmful, but its relapse can be more detrimental to both physical and mental wellbeing. Relapse is a common phenomenon but it can only be avoided by a clear understanding of the factors that trigger it. A recent study by the McMaster University sheds light on the factors that make some addicts relapse so frequently, despite making efforts to lead a drug-free life.
According to the study, those who start addictions very late in their life usually prefer injections to release drugs into the body — a habit that makes them prone to relapses during treatment. More often than not, addicts increase their drug use before enrolling into a treatment program, which extensively contributes to their vulnerability to relapses. On the contrary, long-time abusers usually don’t have any chance of a relapse.
The study, published in the journal Substance Abuse Research and Treatment in April 2016, gives a ray of hope to those who seek treatment from this devastating habit through medical intervention. As part of the study, lead author Dr. Zena Samaan, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at the McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, reviewed 250 individuals who undertook methadone treatment for nearly four years.
The findings revealed that those who used injections to take drugs were twice as likely to relapse during treatment compared to those who did not inject drugs. It was also observed that the relapse incidence increased by 10 percent for every year rise in age of starting opioid abuse. While a 7 percent rise in relapse was seen due to daily benzodiazepine intake in a month prior to the study, there was a 7 percent drop in the risk for older adults.
Samaan said, “We can improve our tailoring of treatment to each patient if we know who among patients taking methadone treatment is at high risk for opioid relapse.”
The aim of the study was to determine the factors that can allow opioid addicts to abstain from drugs for a longer period. Most of the addicts receive methadone maintenance treatment as a preferred treatment option, but it isn’t always recommended for those who are prone to relapses – nearly 46 percent of patients have been found to carry on with opioid addiction, even after getting methadone treatment.
The researchers believed that caregivers can use this as a warning sign and look for aggressive therapies for high-risk patients.
An addict faces numerous challenges when he or she attains sobriety after a long battle with substance use. After a successful treatment session in a rehab, a person may still feel the urge to use drugs that have long been discontinued. So, it is important to stay away from such temptations and continue to lead the life of sobriety inside a rehab or outside of it. An addict on the road to recovery often undergoes emotional upheavals, such as anxiety, stress, frustration and fear. Family members need to be vigilant in understanding the important triggers to help their loved ones adopt different methods to cope with feelings that may increase the risk of a relapse.
Substance abuse is considered a mental problem, but the good news is that it can be prevented and treated. The United States has been fiercely fighting “war on drugs” for the last 25 years, but unfortunately, drug abusers continue to play with their own lives by adopting newer methods of addiction. So, fighting the drug menace is not just the duty of the government or the caregivers, but every individual needs to get involved in this long battle.
If you or your loved one is in the grip of an addiction, the 24/7 Recovery Helpline can help you find one of the best drug rehab centers. For counseling and support to tackle social factors that could contribute to an addiction problem, you can speak with one of our representatives at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405. Selection of the right rehabilitation center from various drug abuse treatment centers will ensure a long-term recovery.