An alcohol or drug relapse is the recurrence of any disease that has gone into remission or recovery. As a chronic disease, addiction is subject to periods of relapse. During the recovery process, you may become exposed to certain triggers and other risk factors that increase your risk of returning to substance abuse.
While relapses are common, they are not inevitable. Following steps of drug relapse prevention and taking action early on can minimize the intensity of a relapse period and can reduce your risk for further hardship from substance abuse.
What is a drug relapse? The definition of a drug relapse is a downward spiral into compulsive behavior and addiction. This means a drug relapse does not occur suddenly. There are warning signs and other identifiable factors that typically appear early on. Learning how to identify these symptoms can help you prevent a relapse.
It is not uncommon for the return to substance abuse to develop weeks or even several months after the initial signs of emotional relapse. This means there is generally plenty of time prior to the return to substance abuse for warning signs to be identified and for relapse to be addressed.
Dealing with drug relapse symptoms is a long and often painful process. Many people attribute the breaking of abstinence as a relapse. While substance use and abuse is a contributing factor of relapse, it is not the entire issue.
Many people think that as long as they are free from their former addictive substance they are not in danger of a relapse. However, it is not uncommon for the re-introduction of substance abuse to develop late in the relapse process.
We feel it’s essential for people to know the signs of drug relapse and what they entail.
It is not uncommon for the return to substance abuse to develop weeks or even several months after the initial signs of emotional or mental relapse. This means there is generally plenty of time before the return to substance abuse for warning signs to be identified and for relapse to be addressed.
The signs of a physical relapse can be more visible than those of an emotional or mental relapse. That sliver of opportunity to use again revealed itself and was taken. Serenity at Summit provides a relapse prevention program that teaches those in recovery how to manage the triggers that can lead to a downward spiral of drug abuse again.
It is critical to successful and sustainable recovery to reach out for help when the signs of drug relapse manifest. Drug relapse can and does happen to some people. Make a recommitment to your sobriety. Go to meetings and share, call your sponsor if you have one, don’t skip therapy sessions, and engage in healthier ways of living. A relapse does not mean you failed at recovery. It means you are human and can redirect your life back onto the healthier, more stable path.
There are situations in which a person is exposed to an addictive substance and may even use that substance while in recovery. While doing so increases your risk of experiencing a relapse, it does not necessitate one.
The term “slip” is used to refer to behavioral mistakes or lapses in judgment in which an addictive substance is used in an isolated instance. The thought of lost sobriety often propels people into further destructive behavior, and this may lead to a relapse.
A relapse does not un-do previous progress made in an addiction recovery program. The coping mechanisms and strategies you learned during a recovery program will still apply as you overcome a relapse. Try to remain conscious of your emotions, moods, and behavior throughout the recovery process to reduce your risk of experiencing a full relapse.