Substance abuse is characterized by an individual’s inability to control their drug use despite experiencing negative consequences. Previously, drug addiction was thought to be a choice, but now we know that it is a disease that affects an individual psychologically and physiologically.

As serious as addiction is, there are a variety of addiction treatment programs that can help an individual to kick their addiction. These range from residential treatment programs to partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient programs. Unfortunately, no matter how good an addiction treatment is, there are cases of relapse.

Relapse refers to a return to alcohol or drug use after being sober for a while. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 40%-60% of those with an addiction will experience a relapse. Studies have shown that people undergoing treatment for addiction will relapse one or more times during their recovery journey. This often happens within a year following treatment.

What Causes Relapse?

While most addiction experts agree that these relapse rates are part of the treatment and recovery process, they are still worrying. Those who are in recovery are often worried about relapsing. That is why addiction treatment centers such as Evolve Indy include relapse prevention as part of their addiction treatment programs.

Before you can prevent relapse, you first need to know what causes it. Here are some of the most common reasons for relapse:

  1. The Nature of Addiction

Addiction is a disease that changes how the brain works. Most drugs work on the reward center of the brain, rewiring it to depend on drugs for survival. This makes it challenging for people to quit using and remain sober.

  1. Triggers

During the addiction process, the brain comes to associate certain people, places, emotions, or situations with drug use. These are referred to as triggers. When a person in recovery encounters triggers, they can experience serious cravings and an urge to use drugs again.

  1. Difficulty Coping with Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting drugs isn’t easy as it may trigger withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms experienced depend on the drugs used, the length of time used as well and the user’s physical and mental shape. Withdrawal symptoms can be so uncomfortable, painful, and dangerous that an individual goes back to using drugs to stop the discomfort.

  1. Lack of Recovery Support

Recovery is a life-long process. For it to be successful those in recovery need to have strong support systems. These can comprise their family, friends, and other loved ones. They can also find support from recovery groups and continued therapy. Without this, the individual can feel lonely and overwhelmed, becoming vulnerable to relapse.

  1. Co-occurring Disorders.

Addictions rarely exist alone. Those who use drugs often have underlying or co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety. They then use drugs to mask the effects of these disorders. To decrease the chances of relapse, these and other mental health disorders need to be dealt with through therapy and medication.

For more information on relapse and drug addiction treatment, get in touch with Evolve Indy.


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