How Common Is Drug Relapse? Signs, Triggers & Prevention
Learn how to recognize and prevent drug relapse and how Ripple Ranch Recovery can help in this informative article.
What Is Drug Relapse?
Recovering from a substance use disorder takes time. However, even with time, the process is not always linear. People can fall back into previous thoughts and behaviors about substance use. This is known as a drug relapse.
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Why Do People Relapse?
Because addiction is a mental disorder, it can take time to fully understand the management skills and coping mechanisms taught in treatment. As a result, people may not always know how to handle triggering situations healthily. This can cause them to turn to substance abuse once more.
What Occurs During Relapse?
What Are the Signs of a Relapse?
Because relapse starts in the mind before it manifests in substance use, there are some warning signs. Being aware of these signs and how to recognize them can aid in relapse prevention.
- A sudden dislike for their recovery procedures
- Missing therapy appointments
- Reconnection to people, places, and events associated with substance use
Stages of Relapse
It’s a common misconception that relapse happens in a split second. Relapse doesn’t occur solely through physical substance use. Instead, it begins slowly, affecting both the mind and body. Thoughts and triggers can begin consuming the mind, adding stress to the recovery process.
Continuing therapy and being honest about thoughts and feelings toward substance use are among the most important steps in combating mental relapse. This is because it can lead to physical relapse.
This is the stage that most people think of when discussing drug relapse. Physical relapse occurs once the individual begins using the substance again. This can cause frustration and guilt about sobriety, which creates a cycle of negative thoughts that can lead to negative behaviors.
How Common Are Relapses?
Experiencing a relapse during the recovery journey can feel isolating. This is especially true if group therapy or support group members do not express their struggles with the different stages of relapse. Nevertheless, despite how it may seem, drug relapse isn’t uncommon. As mentioned above, around half of the people seeking treatment for a substance use disorder experience a drug relapse.
Substance use disorder is a chronic mental disorder. Thus, like all mental disorders, there is no single, straightforward path to recovery. In fact, some studies have found that relapse is a symptom of addiction. Further, research indicates that 65% to 70% of relapses occur within the first ninety days after treatment.3
Is Relapse a Sign of Failure?
Navigating a substance use disorder is challenging. As a chronic illness, continued use and relapse are expected. Regardless of the stage, drug relapse is not a sign that the treatment has failed. It is also not a sign that you failed. Seeking recovery is a profound effort, and completely eliminating substance use permanently doesn’t always occur the first time.
What Addiction Relapse Triggers Should You Look Out for?
- Easy access to the substance
- Revisiting negative connections
- Social isolation
- Major life transitions
Recognizing Relapse Warning Signs
- Significant change in attitude
- Significant change in behavior
- Self-imposed isolation
- Reviving old (negative) connections
- Neglecting personal hygiene
Common Risk Factors for Relapse
- Exposure to triggers
- Interpersonal problems
- Peer pressure
- Lack of social support
- Pain due to injuries, accidents, or medical issues
- Low self-efficacy
- Positive moods
Relapse Prevention Strategies
After learning about the signs of drug relapse and how to recognize them properly, it is possible to engage in relapse prevention strategies. These are techniques and methods geared toward helping people cope with their triggers and refocus their recovery goals.
- Revisit your relapse prevention plan
- Increase meeting attendance
- Commit to healthy routines
- Build a sober network
- Increase self-care practices
Help a Loved One Cope With Addiction Relapse at Ripple Ranch Recovery
Undoubtedly, one of the most important factors of a successful recovery is support. Recognizing signs of drug relapse in your loved one can be challenging, and you may not know how to approach the topic. At Ripple Ranch Recovery, our team of experienced professionals is prepared to guide your loved one on their recovery journey, from their first treatment to relapse prevention.
Contact us today to learn more about drug relapse or the services we offer.