Addiction Relapse – What Is It and How to Tackle It?

Nowadays, addictions are more common than you can imagine. It’s estimated that almost 20 million Americans suffer from substance use disorder (SUD) right now. Unfortunately, just 1 in 7 addicts worldwide receives any form of treatment for their addictions—however, some addicts “relapse” after their recovery. But what is relapse? Clinically speaking, it’s defined as the worsening of a condition treated previously. Therefore, a patient relapses when consuming drugs after maintaining sobriety for several months or years. 

It’s uncomfortable for an addict to relapse and go through their painful experiences all over again. So, let’s see how addicts can overcome it.

Relapse prevention strategies

Interestingly, most addicts fail to stay sober after rehab. Statistics indicate that 85% of addicts relapse a year after their treatment. That’s why it’s important to prevent relapse even after your addiction has been treated. In addiction recovery, we describe relapse as the condition where an addict resumes consuming a substance they were addicted to before recovery. What causes a relapse? When former addicts don’t make sobriety a priority, they may relapse.

Similarly, when addicts aren’t sincerely committed to getting treated, they may relapse. Here, we’ll discuss some methods to prevent addicts from relapsing. 

  • Approach a treatment facility

First and foremost, contact a reliable treatment facility for preventing relapse after recovery. They can suggest possible methods (medication or counseling) for former addicts according to their individualized needs. 

Therapists can recommend many strategies ranging from cognitive therapy sessions to some holistic treatments (e.g., exercise) for preventing relapse. So, it would help if you continue visiting your therapist even after you’ve recovered. That’s how you can avoid relapse from ruining the outcome of recovery.

  • Know the signs

Relapse manifests itself with some signs. A former addict should remember these symptoms to prepare themselves for addiction relapse. Experts have identified “bargaining” as the first stage of relapse when former addicts find excuses to resume taking drugs or drinking alcohol. They often try to find ways to control abusing that substance (and become addicted to it again). 

We urge individuals to consider these symptoms. Here’s a breakdown of some chief signs of addiction relapse:

  • Mood swings
  • Becoming isolated
  • Glamorizing their addiction
  • Doubting the process of recovery
  • Hanging around the places associated with their addiction
  • Attend group meetings

Sometimes, it appears tempting to pass over a group meeting. However, skipping one session may increase your vulnerability to addiction relapse. 

Therefore, resist the urge to skip and attend these gatherings religiously. Remember that your lack of motivation to participate in a meeting may compel you to indulge in drugs again. So, attend these meetups to remain accountable. It lets you face criticism for your actions, thereby keeping you sober.

  • Work out regularly

A study shows that only 22.9% of Americans are getting enough exercise today. Exercise can help an addict prevent post-recovery anxiety/depression. It stimulates the release of endorphins from your brain, thereby promoting happiness and self-confidence. 

Adopt habits such as walking and jogging to keep your body moving. Moreover, avoid sticking to a sedentary lifestyle after recovery as it may force you into relapse. Give yourself some space where you can move around frequently.

  • Gather some support

Create a support network to hold yourself accountable since it’s difficult to stay sober on your own after recovery. Your support group helps you prevent addiction relapse and emotionally “supports” you when you feel pressured by temptations. 

So, don’t forget to include group therapy in any aftercare plans you’ve made. Converse with members and exchange their numbers so you guys may contact each other during emergencies. Produce a list of emergency contacts, as explained below. 

  • Keep the list

Whenever temptations overwhelm you, call your trusted contacts for emotional assistance. How do you prepare yourself for calling these contacts? We suggest creating a list of emergency contacts you can rely upon during addiction relapse. Write down these numbers on paper or keep them on speed dial for emergencies. 

If you think your addiction has returned – and there are strong chances that it’ll return – prepare yourself to contact these people.

  • Start journaling now

A 2001-2002 survey shows that one-third of Americans battling alcoholism recovered completely in recovery. How can you make this happen today? Well, you must find a multipurpose strategy to stay sober. We propose journaling as a pastime for assessing your objectives and planning post-recovery activities. 

Journaling can prevent addiction relapse and motivate former addicts to maintain sobriety after recovery. You can pen down your thoughts the old-fashioned way or get yourself a computer.

  • Keep boredom away

Boredom often leads to addiction relapse. When former addicts don’t have any activities to distract themselves, they may find solace in the substances they were addicted to before recovery. So, the solution involves keeping yourself busy and finding pastimes that don’t involve substance abuse. 

Fill your free time with healthy hobbies that enhance your mental/physical well-being. A healthy pastime helps former addicts maintain sobriety and prevent relapse from overtaking them.

 

Conclusion

We’ve discussed how most addicts relapse after recovery. It’s common for your addiction to return after recovery. So, how do you prevent addiction relapse? We’ve discussed some methods for former addicts to avoid relapse. You should know the signs and learn what may trigger you to relapse.

Moreover, avoid boredom by amusing yourself with some hobbies. Get professional assistance and undergo therapy/counseling. Likewise, it’s important to keep a list of emergency contacts to call whenever you feel overwhelmed by your feelings. Also, we suggest exercising regularly and attending support group meetings. That’s how you can prevent addiction relapse while walking on the course of recovery. 

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