According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse after drug addiction is a likely occurrence even with a comprehensive drug treatment program. This means that it is important to understand what you can do about an addiction relapse. The best things that you can do are prevent the relapse before it happens and practice good relapse after care in the event of a relapse.
Preventing a relapse is always preferable to treating a relapse after it has happened. There are several things to consider when attempting to prevent one. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that the chances of relapse are similar to those of most chronic illnesses such as hypertension, asthma, and diabetes. Knowing this, you can prepare yourself to face the possibility of a relapse and recognize behavior that can lead to one. To avoid relapse there are several things you should do.
Removing or avoiding the things that trigger the desire for the drug that you are addicted to can help. You can avoid some triggers but there are ones that are unavoidable. Avoidable or removable triggers are usually environmental and social instances such as:
There are some unavoidable triggers. Most unavoidable triggers relate to emotion and circumstance. Some examples of unavoidable triggers are:
You may not be able to completely avoid these triggers but you can lessen the chance of a relapse because of them. You can do this by exercising, keeping fit, hanging out with understanding friends and family, having a sponsor or other trusted person, and by eating right and engaging in healthy behaviors.
There are some things that you can do that help avoid a relapse aside from removing triggers.
Psychology Today mentions that there is no black or white when it comes to relapsing. There are many shades of gray and relapse behaviors for some might not trigger others. Some of these behaviors are simple such as adding another addiction in place of the original, isolating yourself, giving into fear, not having a self-change strategy, and not recognizing the relapse process.
The relapse process starts with emotional relapse. Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and self pity have a deep impact on mental state. Asking for help at this stage is crucial. Although you might not initially feel on the verge of relapse, you could be heading in that direction.
Next is mental relapse. During mental relapse you may think about the past, the good feelings and friends you had, or dream of using. In this stage, you are actively thinking of relapse.
The final stage of relapse is physical relapse. In physical relapse, you drive to your dealer or acquire your drug of choice. This stage leads to actual relapse. By recognizing these stages you can stop a relapse before it starts.
If you do not take steps to prevent relapse, which is the best course to take when attempting to do something about addition relapse, you will probably end up using again. If you do use again, the first thing that you need to do is forgive yourself. Most addicts relapse at least once during their treatment. The key is to remember that relapse does not mean failure. It is estimated that 60% of addicts relapse. The feelings of failure and guilt could cause you to continue using as can fear of going through withdrawal.
It is important to understand that addiction is very powerful but the longer you remain abstinent the less of a chance you will relapse. Addiction relapse may be common but there are ways to prevent it by recognizing the triggers, signs, and stages of relapse. Remember after a relapse recovery is still possible. It does get easier as time goes on.