Research conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse estimates about 50% of drug addicts who had previously sought treatment relapse. The high occurrence of drug relapse comes as no surprise. By definition, drug addiction is a disorder in which individuals cannot restrict themselves from the urge to use or abuse drugs. The drug users slowly become dependent on the drug to a point where they cannot function without using it. This phenomenon is known as physical dependence. Additionally, as they continue using the drug, the quantity needed to maintain the initial high. This is known as drug tolerance.
Causes Of A Drug Relapse.
Drug relapse among drug addicts is a common occurrence. This may be attributed to:
Lack Of A Proper Support System And Exposure To Triggers.
Once an individual is out of a drug rehabilitation center or after completing a rehabilitation treatment program, they must join a support group that will help to ease the transition back to society. Recovering drug addicts are advised to join support groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Additionally, recovering drug addicts can sign up for sponsors and AA Meetings. When recovering addicts lack the proper support group, it becomes easier for them to fall back to substance abuse. When a recovering addict is in the rehabilitation center, they are in an enclosed environment free from triggers. However, once they step back to society, they are faced with societal pressures and stress that may facilitate their relapse.
Accidental relapse and Peer Pressures.
This occurs when prescription addicts are given medication without their knowledge. Medics need to be careful about who they administer pain medications as it may trigger a drug relapse. Coming back to society and adjusting one’s lifestyle can be difficult. This is because a drug addict still has the same environment, friends, and family that may be taking the substance of addiction leisurely. Drug addicts are constantly faced with temptations, and it is only those with strong will power that they will be able to overcome.
What Are The Early Warning Signs Of A Drug Relapse?
Signs of a drug relapse are divided into three, which are:
Emotional signs manifest earlier than when the addict takes the substance of abuse. This stage is characterized by:
- Emotional distress.
- Isolation from friends and family.
- The addicts starts missing the support group meetings.
- They become emotionally withdrawn and tend to deal with the stressful condition in an unhealthy manner.
- They may develop poor sleeping or eating habits.
- Self-neglect, especially of personal hygiene.
During this stage, the recovering addict is in a constant battle between taking the drug of abuse and resisting the urge. The mental stage is characterized by:
- Relaxation of the self-imposed rules and restrictions.
- They may develop drug cravings and remember how easy life was when they were always high.
- They may start associating with old friends and gangs.
- Addicts are in denial that they are slowly returning to their old ways.
After fighting the emotional and mental urges, the addict eventually falls into temptation. At this point, they are filled with shame, guilt, and self-disappointment.
What Happens After A Relapse?
Although you may feel guilty and ashamed, the first step on the road to recovery is acceptance. Drug addicts should take drug abuse relapse as a hindrance on the journey but not the end of the journey. They should seek assistance from family, friends, or support groups. On the other hand, family and friends should not judge the person in question but talk to them.
They should take this as an opportunity to identify the triggers and eliminate or prevent them. A proper assessment should be done to determine if the drug addict should resume rehabilitation in the rehab center or stay at home while attending the support group meetings. Depending on the extent of the relapse, the addict may require to undergo the detoxification process.
Therapies That Help In Drug Relapse.
Research has indicated that when an addict goes through cognitive behavioral therapy, they are more equipped with techniques and behaviors to mitigate a relapse in the future. The recovering addict needs to re-evaluate themselves, identify the triggers and signs of relapse, and set healthy self-boundaries. Also, they should be involved in creating a relapse prevention strategy.
The strategy should cater to their emotional, mental, and physical needs. It should outline goals, no matter how small they are. Addicts should celebrate the small wins because a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you know someone or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction, please contact us on 772-266-5320.