For people who have a drug or alcohol addiction, relapse triggers are ever-present. The mere sight of an old haunt or the company of certain people could compel someone to use again. It could be a cherished memory, such as a romantic fling or an amazing night out. A stressful situation or the sudden death of a loved one could also cause someone to relapse.
Relapse is a common occurrence with addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that between 40 to 60 percent of people with a substance abuse disorder (SUD) will return to old usage patterns. This is particularly true for those who choose to go “cold turkey” by quitting abruptly and on their own.
Thus, seeing, hearing, or even remembering things can trigger the urge to use. It also does not matter how far along you are in your recovery, relapse triggers can endure for years. Take the case of Adam Goldstein, the celebrated disc jockey better known as DJ AM, who died from a drug overdose in 2009 after 11 years of sobriety.
Goldenstein hosted an MTV reality show in which he helped users who struggled with addiction. In the wake of his death, observers wondered if doing the show exposed him to relapse triggers.
Cases like Goldstein’s prove that relapse triggers can be powerful, compelling, and difficult to ignore.
Still, there are techniques and strategies that can be employed to serve as a hedge against relapse. Professional addiction treatment also features therapeutic and educational components to help people in recovery avoid the urge to use. Read on to find out more.
Addiction is a chronic disease that profoundly rewires your brain, impacting the reward, self-control, and stress areas of the brain. Because the threat of relapse is always present, it is best to develop a proactive plan to prevent any opportunity for it to arise. Here are six prevention strategies and one coping mechanism that can aid your recovery.
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If you or a loved one has relapsed, it does not mean it is the end of the world. Relapse can still be a beneficial stepping stone to recovery. One of the ways you can counter a recent episode of relapse is by returning to professional treatment. It is prudent to consider treatment if you have a severe addiction and had an extreme episode of relapse.
“If the relapse consisted of a single night, you may be able to veer back to your recovery path somewhat seamlessly. If you went on a multiple weeklong bender, another round of treatment may be in order,” according to SMART Recovery.
A reputable treatment program will offer you the services, therapy, and counseling necessary to help you reclaim your sobriety, especially after a concerning relapse episode. A residential or outpatient treatment program can provide you access to treatment modalities that can help you reclaim your sobriety. Inpatient services include:
If you opt for an intensive outpatient program where you can continue to live at home (or at a sober living facility), expect these areas to be covered in treatment:
6 Common Relapse Triggers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/heartache-hope/201202/6-common-relapse-triggers-0
Life After Relapse – How to Bounce Back and Start Over. (2019, January 08). Retrieved from https://www.smartrecovery.org/life-after-relapse-how-to-bounce-back-and-start-over/
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 23). What Does It Mean When We Call Addiction a Brain Disorder? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2018/03/what-does-it-mean-when-we-call-addiction-brain-disorder
White, D. M. (2018, July 08). 5 Ways to Avoid Addiction Relapse. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-ways-to-avoid-addiction-relapse/