Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing, neurological disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. Relapse is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), “as the recurrence of behavioral or other substantive indicators of active disease after a period of remission.” A hallmark of any chronic condition, including addiction, is the potential to relapse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40% to 60% of people relapse after drug treatment. Addiction can wreak havoc in all areas of one’s life. The development of substance use disorder does not occur immediately, nor will recovering from addiction be achieved instantaneously. Clinical treatment studies estimate that more than two thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment. While there is a plethora of relapse prevention tactics, it is also helpful to know what to do if one should happen. To effectively navigate a relapse, consider the following suggestions, provided by Verywell Mind, and act as soon as possible:
- Reach out for help: lean on the network of people (e.g., family, friends, your sponsor, etc.) that you have created to support you through your recovery and allow them to help you cope with a relapse.
- Go to a support group meeting: recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART Recovery, hold easily accessible sobriety support group meetings all over the country that are free of charge. They can provide a nonjudgmental place to talk about your relapse and an opportunity to learn about how other people have coped with similar situations in the past.
- Avoid triggers: while there are certain triggers that may be unavoidable, it is important to try and avoid the ones that are, as being around triggers shortly after a relapse can increase your drug cravings.
- Use it is as a learning experience: reflecting on the relapse and taking the time to consider the surrounding circumstances can help illuminate what you could have done differently and what changes you can make to increase your chances for a different outcome in the future.
Psychology Today asserts that relapse is not an indication of failure, but rather is simply a typical component of addiction. It is important to note that an individual that relapses had successfully attained sobriety at one point, and he or she can do so again. With the proper support, any individual can successfully move past one or more relapse experiences.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.