Why do some people relapse?

Why Do Some People Relapse?

People who have a substance use disorder can relapse back to either drinking or drug use. However, other people never relapse back to the chemicals that they were using before entering a drug rehab program. So, what causes a person to relapse?

The simple answer is that there are three types of people that enter a substance use disorder treatment program. The three types of people fall into these classifications.

  • Recovery-Prone
  • Briefly Relapse Prone
  • Chronically Relapse prone

When you choose to enter Summer Sky Treatment Center® we will help you discover which distinct subgroup you belong to so that we can properly teach you the skills to prevent a relapse from occurring in the future. We empower people to learn effective ways to intervene in their substance use disorders.

Substance Use Disorder Are Chronic Conditions:

Once a person realizes that substance use disorder is a lifelong condition that must be managed just like all other medical conditions then the individual is ready to begin learning techniques, solutions, and skills to help them keep their substance use disorder treated.

This is good news for people who need treatment that there is a way to help keep a person actively involved in the recovery process. You can learn effective skills to keep you safe and participate in the recovery lifestyle. Don’t be fooled by the word chronic because all it means is if a person does not get help for a substance use disorder, then the symptoms of addiction will persist and continue to re-occur for a long time without proper treatment.

The first thing to realize is that the problem is people with substance use disorders are dealing with a chronic illness. When a person has a chronic illness, it means it can persist for a long time. There are many chronic illnesses that people deal with daily. Some of the most common are cardiovascular (Heart attacks, Stroke, High Blood Pressure) or diabetes, and different cancers.

Substance Use Disorders Are Similar to Other Chronic Medical Conditions:

Substance use disorders are no different than these chronic illnesses because when you have a chronic illness a relapse or return to a previous state can take place if the person does not follow the recommended treatment plan.

Most chronic illnesses have the same common denominator, and that is a person must treat the chronic condition and follow medical and psychological advice to keep the illness from returning or progressing after you initially treat the condition.

People who have developed substance use disorders are no different; a person must follow a recommended health solution to keep the condition from returning, or relapse will take place. For people with a substance use disorder, we call this a recovery plan. The recovery plan keeps a person on a path of recovery. When you choose to attend our addiction treatment programs, we can help you to develop a treatment plan, recovery plan, and relapse prevention plan (RP) which are all three components to help prevent a relapse from occurring.

Acute Abstinence Syndrome for Substance Use Disorders:

For a person who is actively using addictive substances, the priority is to stabilize the addiction in our medical detox & stabilization program. This is important because, without proper stabilization of the acute abstinence syndrome, a person is not ready for the psychological component of addiction treatment.

The acute abstinence syndrome must be stabilized, or a person’s risk of relapse will increase due to lingering symptoms. Acute abstinence syndrome is made up of a group of symptoms that emerge once addictive substances are discontinued. The most common acute abstinence symptoms are listed below.

Acute Abstinence Syndrome or AAS Symptoms:

Restlessness Irritability
Anxiety Agitation
Anorexia (lack of appetite) Nausea
Vomiting Tremor (shakiness)
Elevated heart rate Increased blood pressure
Insomnia Intense dreaming
Nightmares Poor concentration
Impaired memory Impaired judgment
Increased sensitivity to sound Increased sensitivity to light
Tactile sensations Hallucinations (auditory, visual, or tactile)
Delusions Paranoid or persecutory delusions
Seizures Delirium Tremors (DT’S)


This is a sample listing of the acute abstinence syndrome as not every symptom will emerge, however people with severe substance use disorders may experience the more intense symptoms listed above. This is also not a comprehensive listing of all acute symptoms.

The above is a rough overview of some Acute Abstinence Symptoms, and each addictive chemical has a group of known withdrawal symptoms that must be monitored to be prevented during detoxification. The good news is the above symptoms can be addressed by participating in a medical detox program. Again, failure to properly detox from addictive substances increases the likelihood that a relapse can occur.

Summer Sky Offers Relapse Prevention (RP)

Our addiction treatment centers are well equipped to offer first-time individuals in treatment relapse prevention planning, treatment planning, and recovery planning before discharge from our treatment programs. Relapse Prevention Planning is an important component of addiction treatment services.


For those with a history of relapse, we offer these individuals a specialized relapse track so that these individuals can learn where they went wrong in their past recovery programs. The Summer Sky Relapse Track™ was specifically designed to help men and women with a history of relapses.

During relapse prevention training, an individual in treatment will explore high-risk situations, coping skills, outcome expectancies, and the abstinence violation effect to better prepare them for their recovery ahead. When an individual is educated on the Developmental Model of Recovery™ they will have a greater chance of recognizing a relapse trigger or post-acute withdrawal symptom.

The recognition of the relapse warning signs as they emerge along with when and how to activate recovery skills to move out of the relapse process are skills that are learned at Summer Sky Treatment Center® and we take relapse prevention therapy seriously as it can be the one thing that prevents an individual from returning to addiction.

Why are some people more prone to relapse than others?

The central fact is that some people struggle with relapse issues more than others people. If you do not follow a recovery plan after completing treatment, then you will be increasing your chances of experiencing a relapse after discharge from an addiction treatment center.

The negative emotion of shame can be associated with a return to using alcohol or drugs. Many people have not been educated on relapse prevention techniques which contributes to a sense of failure after a relapse into actively using alcohol or drugs has occurred.

When someone who has a history of relapse enters one of our Texas Drug Rehabs, they are amazed to discover that a solution exists to prevent a return to active use or addiction. You can learn to interrupt the relapse process and use skills to remain in recovery.

It is important that if a relapse does occur that an individual activates their recovery support team to get back into immediate recovery. This may require returning to detox or inpatient treatment, and in some cases, intensive outpatient treatment.

Let us be clear you do not have to return to addictive use; however, you must take treatment, recovery, and relapse seriously if you want to maintain recovery from your substance use disorder. This is a medical condition that must be managed by disease management techniques.

Do you need help with a substance use disorder?

If you or a loved one has been struggling with an addiction to either alcohol or drugs, Summer Sky can help you with treatment in one of our treatment programs. Below are some of the addiction treatment options available to help you with addiction.

About Summer Sky Treatment Center:

Summer Sky Treatment Center® is a licensed substance use disorder treatment center located in Stephenville, Texas. We are privately owned and operated, and we provide Texas Drug Rehabs to people from all over the United States.

Our treatment centers are accredited by The Joint Commission®, and our admissions department can be contacted 24 hours a day 7-days a week with same-day placements into our drug rehab programs. Summer Sky can be reached by calling 1-888-857-8857.


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