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, there are other people that never relapse back to the chemicals that they were using prior to entering a drug rehab program. So, what causes a person to relapse? 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 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. All the above chronic illness has 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. 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 one of our addiction treatment centers we help you to develop a treatment plan, recovery plan and a 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, and judgment
  • Increased sensitivity to sound, light, and tactile sensations
  • Hallucinations (auditory, visual, or tactile)
  • Delusions, usually of paranoid or persecutory varieties
  • Seizures
  • Delirium Tremors (DT’S)
  • Nausea and Vomiting

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 prior to discharge from our treatment programs. Relapse Prevention Planning is an important component of addiction treatment services. For those with a history of relapses, 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 personal recovery ahead.

Why are some people more prone to relapse than others?

The central fact is that some people struggle with relapse issues more than other people. If you do not follow a recovery plan after completing treatment, then you will be increasing your chances of experiencing a relapse after discharging from an addiction treatment center. The shame associated with relapse sometimes contributes to a person staying in the relapse if they return to addictive use. 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 relapse back to addictive use; however, you must take treatment, recovery, and relapse seriously if you want to maintain recovery from your substance use disorder.

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.

Summer Sky Treatment Center

Summer Sky is a licensed substance use disorder treatment center located in Stephenville, Texas, with an intensive outpatient treatment program in Addison, Texas. 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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