Coping with Addiction Relapse: Treatment and Risk Factors

When you make it through the rigorous recovery process and emerge clean and sober, you have a lot to be proud of. You may, however, be afraid of relapsing, like many others who have walked in your footsteps before. 

It might be distressing to contemplate that your sobriety may not persist indefinitely once you have won that hard-fought battle. 

However, it is quite typical to relapse after you have been clean for a while. Relapse is so prevalent that it’s generally considered an element of long-term rehabilitation treatment.

Most well-known rehabs include relapse as a component of their treatment approach. You can check how effective these solutions are at this methamphetamine detox center.

What Is Relapse?

A relapse occurs when a person resumes drug or alcohol use after a period of abstinence. 

As prolonged substance use can create structural and functional brain changes that last well beyond the period when abstinence was initially achieved, many persons recovering from addiction have a significant risk of recurrence.

When someone intentionally decides to drink or use drugs, this is referred to as a Conventional Relapse. For example, after a year of sobriety, people may opt to use marijuana to reduce stress or have a glass of wine with friends because they believe they can handle it without getting hooked. 

Freelapse, on the other hand, is the colloquial word for an inadvertent relapse that occurs when a person consumes drugs or alcohol without intending to. This might happen if someone drinks alcohol while expecting to be served a non-alcoholic beverage at a party.

Unknowingly, you may start taking measures toward relapse weeks or months before you actually drink or use drugs. Certain thoughts, feelings, and situations can trigger drug and alcohol cravings and urges, which, if not appropriately addressed, might raise your chances of relapsing.

Risk Factors

  • Social and environmental signals that remind you of drugs and alcohol might be triggers. Social signals, such as seeing a drug dealer or a friend who uses drugs, and environmental cues, such as coming into touch with things, odors, or locations associated with drugs and alcohol, can trigger significant cravings and lead to relapse.
  • If you’re under a lot of stress and don’t know how to cope, you can resort to drugs or alcohol for help. Anger, worry, melancholy, and boredom are all negative feelings that might raise your chances of relapse. Workplace and marital stress, in particular, has been linked to relapse.
  • Negative emotions such as anger, grief, and frustration might arise as a result of conflict with family and friends. Relapse can occur if these feelings are not appropriately addressed. Conflict with others has been linked to more than half of all relapses.
  • If you have family or friends who use drugs or alcohol, they may put pressure on you to do so as well. Other times, merely being in the company of others who use drugs or drink alcohol might trigger intense desires and make you more vulnerable to relapse.
  • It might be more difficult to cope efficiently without taking drugs or alcohol when you have a limited or negative support structure. It means that not having the proper support of family and friends can be a risk factor for relapse.
  • Injuries, accidents, and medical conditions can all cause pain. People often relapse to drugs to escape these physical pains.
  • Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s own ability to achieve something in a particular domain. People who have low self-efficacy in their ability to stay sober are more prone to relapse, while those who have a sense of mastery over their sobriety are more likely to deal effectively, according to studies.
  • Positive emotions, not just negative ones, are risk factors for relapse, which may surprise you. This is true because when you are pleased, you may feel compelled to take drugs or alcohol to increase your sentiments. Also, because these dates are frequently connected with drinking, festivities such as anniversaries and birthdays might lead to relapse.

Coping Mechanism

  • The best coping mechanism right after relapse is to reach out for help. But, first, you must seek the help of a trusted adult, your family, friends, a mental health therapist, your sponsor, or a doctor to know about the next step.
  • You should also avoid triggers because if you can relapse once, you can relapse one more time. The best way to cope with relapse is to steer clear of the triggers.
  • You could engage in self-care practices because if you spend time improving your appearance, you may forget to think about addiction. It will make you feel good about yourself, which can help you control cravings.
  • Setting some healthy boundaries could be the way to cope with a relapse. For example, you could set a specific screen time, take some time for exercise, eat healthy meals, sleep for 6-7 hours, and your chances of relapsing will fade away soon. 

Treatment Approaches

There are a few more choices to explore following a relapse, in addition to the obvious treatment options such as medical detox, inpatient, and outpatient programs.

One sort of treatment that can help avoid future relapses is behavioral treatment. They teach you how to handle stress, cravings, and triggers, as well as how to change harmful and inaccurate views about drug use. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most popular type of this, and it focuses on understanding how your ideas lead to feelings, which lead to behaviors, and how to turn negative beliefs into good ones.

Following a relapse, it’s critical to keep a good attitude. It’s natural to feel guilty, ashamed, or disappointed after a relapse, but it’s important to realize that a relapse can be a learning experience. 

Taking the time to understand what happened during the relapse and making changes to lessen the likelihood of relapse in the future will help you get back on track to long-term sobriety.

Signing Off

Addiction relapse is one of the most common phenomena in the treatment process, but the treatment to handle a relapse is not the same as treating the addiction itself.

This is why we have elaborated on its risk factors, coping strategies, and other treatment approaches because these are specifically suited to handle a relapse.

So, if you want to know more about it, ask us in the comment section below. 

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