When you start to get sober, you’ll find out quickly that relapses are common in recovery (as they are in many chronic diseases). Approximately 65% of those trying to get sober for the first time will relapse at least once. This could be resuming active addiction or simply having a “slip.”
Some may need to go back to detox or partial hospitalization treatment. Others may be able to get things back on the right track with their sober supports. While you can expect a few bumps in the road, you should be aware if you find yourself relapsing continuously, it’s not going to turn out well and there’s obviously a void in your addiction treatment education or lack of implementation of newly learned behaviors. Here are the top five reasons addicts relapse.
Underdeveloped Coping Skills
Stress is one of the top sources of relapse. Studies show that both alcoholics and non-alcoholics respond differently to stress. For example, when addicts are stressed out, they are much more predisposed to using. In recovery, we need to know how we’re feeling or what’s transpiring when we relapse. If you’re heart’s racing and you feel agitated then, chances are, you haven’t found an effective way to handle anxiety or strain.
You Don’t have a Crucial Support Network
Those who are trying to get and stay sober will want to depend on friends and family to help them get through hard times. An important part of any continuing care program is to help recovering addicts create a strong support system. This includes finding 12-step groups who are willing to support the addict should anything go wrong. They have the playbook you need to succeed in sobriety. However, if you are a chronic relapser then look at your circle of influence. Do they answer your calls? Do they understand the kind of support you need? Most importantly, are they still using or drinking? This may play a part as to why you keep relapsing. The support we need comes from people who have gone through the exact same experience. They know the way out!You May Have an Untreated Mental Health Issue
This one is a bit awkward. Many people don’t even think that they may be battling an undiagnosed co-occurring mental health condition. This can be anything from a bipolar disorder, trauma to depression. A behavioral health problem can cause chemical imbalances in the brain that may promote self-medication of alcohol or drugs. These imbalances may trigger irresistible cravings that will be difficult to overcome without help from a psychiatrist. we believe that if the addict can recognize the underlying issue (with or without help) and treat it concurrently with their addiction treatment, the client’s odds of a successful, long-term recovery are substantially improved.
People, Places and Things
Anything that is reminiscent of drinking or using can trigger you to crave your drug of choice. In fact, it occurs to the best of us. If you think you can hang out with the same people and doing some of the same things (without using) then you will be wrong 100% of the time. Essentially, if you hang around a barbershop long enough you will eventually get a haircut! Many in recovery don’t recognize that they may need to change their habits or their situation in order to prevent relapse. Several things can be triggers and recovering addicts need to be honest about what exactly those people, places and things are. You’ll need to dodge them or learn how to have effectively handle them.
You May Need Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Another thing to consider is medication assisted treatment. This type of therapy is most popular among opioid abusers and has shown good results in preventing relapse. Suboxone and buprenorphine products can both help stabilize brain chemistry to help those who are battling cravings and withdrawals. A chemical imbalance may be one of the causes of relapse. MAT programs like Suboxone maintenance have become the most effective and life-changing forms of addiction care in decades. MAT integration can help patients overcome the craving to use heroin and other opioids. Today, the primary medications used in most MAT programs include: Suboxone, Subutex, Sublocade, Naltrexone and Vivitrol.
Simple Path Recovery is a beach side, boutique addiction treatment center located in Pompano Beach, FL. Recognized as an intimate Florida Drug & Alcohol Rehab, Simple Path is committed to individualized care, 12-step integration, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Their addiction helpline is available 24/7 at 855-467-3625.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.