Substance Abuse Disorder is a chronic disease that takes a constant effort to address. Recovery is not linear and is unique to each person, and as a result, some people experience relapse. Some experience it multiple times. However, understanding relapse as part of the journey to continued sobriety is vital in supporting a patient through recovery.
What is Relapse?
Relapse occurs when an individual has a sustained return to their previous drug use habits after a period of sobriety. This is different from a lapse in that lapses are temporary and can be avoided after a temporary intervention.
A person who relapses has an increased risk of overdosing. As they have a reduced tolerance to the drug, when they use it at their previous levels, the body could be overwhelmed, resulting in an overdose.
Relapse can occur in the following stages:
- Emotional Relapse: Patients isolate themselves emotionally and physically. They neglect self-care and exhibit emotional and behavioral changes.
- Mental Relapse: Individuals start thinking about their drug use again and start justifying using the drug again.
- Physical Relapse: Individuals physically start using the drug again.
A relapse does not mean that recovery is set back to square one but it does require intervention, perhaps in the form of an intervention or a drug rehab Austin.
What causes relapse?
Several factors can lead to a relapse. Stressful circumstances, such as a loss of a relationship, a job, pressure at work e.t.c., can lead to a patient turning to drugs as a way to escape. In some cases, patients with other health conditions, such as chronic pain conditions, tend to take a lot of painkillers, which could lead to an abuse of those medications. In other cases, societal pressures, such as celebrations or holidays, could lead to an individual being put in a circumstance where they might indulge. Being around places or people who enable a patient’s drug use also can contribute to a relapse.
In most cases, it is a lack of a support system and a lack of coping skills that lead to a patient being more susceptible to drug relapse.
How to prevent relapse?
Relapse is a part of the journey to recovery and solutions to rehab should aim to facilitate long-term growth and sobriety. These can include avoiding places or people who have been associated with past drug use. Keeping an active lifestyle and self-care, i.e., introducing healthy lifestyle behaviors. Building up the person’s interest and stake in their daily life, i.e., making sure they have fulfillment at work and in their home. Introducing a set of coping mechanisms and positive thinking can also have a huge preventative impact.
Seeking professional help or other alternatives, such as sober living austin, can also help with establishing a protocol that can help prevent relapses in the future.