Learn All About Drug Relapse Prevention

September 11, 2020 | addiction treatment

Drug relapse can happen in different ways and at different rates

Completing a rehabilitation program feels like a significant success. But many feel the fear of a possible relapse shortly after completing rehab. It’s a genuine possibility, and the idea of everything you’ve worked to achieve slipping away can inspire a sinking feeling in anyone.

Many recovering addicts will return to their old ways, but it doesn’t have to be you. Drug relapse prevention can be tough, but you can make it through with the same strength you used to check into rehab.

Drug relapse can happen in different ways and at different rates

What is Drug Relapse?

To relapse is to fall back to former ways. For addicts, it means to return to using the drugs and living the way that they tried to escape from.

Drug relapse can happen in different ways and at different rates for each individual. It rarely happens overnight, though, and many signs may be present. That means you have plenty of time to take steps that will keep you on the wagon.

So what are the signs of relapse? Drug addiction recovery is an emotional process and many of the steps taken in your addiction treatment program focus on this element.

How you feel, and the actions you take based on these emotions are often dead giveaways that the possibility of relapsing increases.

Self-isolation, mood swings, feelings of anger, and frequent urges or fantasies of using substances again are some common signs to watch out for.

Is It Normal to Relapse?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that 40-60% of those who went through drug addiction programs will relapse. Unfortunately, this tells us that it is common.

What’s important to remember is that this isn’t because rehabilitation is impossible or that treatment programs don’t work. It also means that it is normal to feel urges and desires to return to your old ways.

Don’t forget, that half, if not more, of the people who complete rehab achieve a successful recovery. That can be you.

What can I do to avoid Relapse?

The stresses of daily life often inspire relapse. Hurdles that every individual will regularly overcome can be considerably more difficult for recovering addicts as they may encourage the thoughts to return to their former ways.

If typical situations can lead to relapse, you’re likely wondering what you should try and avoid. While some situations are inevitable, you can work to minimize their impact.

Below are some of the things you should try to avoid as part of your relapse prevention techniques:

  • Stress/Anger
  • Financial Problems
  • Relationship issues
  • Boredom

You’re likely to deal with these problems regularly, but that doesn’t mean they must lead to relapse. Instead, if you have doubts or urges, you may be able to link it to these issues. This allows you to identify the root of the problem and take steps to solve it.

Don’t Forget Your Support System

Regular attendance to support group meetings is a great way to help you cope with stress and overcome the urge to fall back to your habits. The group effort to recover is highly inspirational, and it gives you the ability to connect with those who can relate to your struggles.

This doesn’t mean these are the only people to turn to. Surrounding yourself with positive and motivational loved ones will help you work through stress and the urge to relapse. We highly recommended that you call your emergency contact for support when if you feel you may relapse.

12-Step Programs Are Your Best Measure

The best way to prevent relapse is by working a 12-step program on a regular basis. These programs are specifically designed to aid you along your path to a true recovery.

By admitting to yourself that you are struggling with the problem, and what you can do to make yourself the best version that you can, you will find the motivation to ward off the temptations of a relapse.

In a 12-step program, you will also have a support system that is unbiased nor has an emotional attachment to your struggle. This does not mean they will be cold. Instead, they can give you advice on how to deal with emotional hardships and what actions to take with an outside perspective. 

It’s important to remember that even though there will be help from others, a level of self-discipline is how this works. You must constantly remind yourself you are doing it to be a better person. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Each person will need to build a relapse prevention strategy that works best for them. While looking to others for inspiration can help, it doesn’t mean what works for them will work for you. Though, in every case, it’s essential to take steps that increase positivity and reduce stress.