You or someone you love has experienced the relapse process. Many people in recovery will abandon their mental health care and start to isolate themselves from their support group. This can lead to thoughts of using drugs or drinking before they actually get the substance. After a relapse people may feel guilt, shame, or embarrassment. Some people spend a lot of their time beating themselves up and asking “How did that happen?”
While relapse is not an essential part of recovery, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 40-60% of people with substance use disorders will relapse at some point in their recovery. It’s easy to see relapse as a failure. However, it is a learning opportunity. Relapses can be examined to determine what led to the relapse and how to handle it in the future.
The most common reasons for relapse are:
- Mental health
Let’s take a closer look at each one to understand how they can lead you to relapse.
For people in recovery, stress is a common trigger. Stress can cause people to turn to drugs and drink to ease their tension. However, stress is a normal human response. Attempting to suppress this natural reaction by using substances is dangerous and ineffective.
Nearly 50% who seek treatment to treat substance abuse also meet the criteria of mental health diagnosis. If someone has a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or another, it can make it difficult to stay sober. Depression and anxiety symptoms can increase the likelihood of addiction and substance abuse, and also lead to relapses.
A disease of addiction is one that is full of lies and manipulation. Although it seems simple, breaking an addiction is not always easy. A person who lies in sobriety may have difficulty admitting the truth, not be able to take responsibility for their past wrongdoings, and remain in addiction. So many support groups for recovery are honest and open.
It is important to have self-confidence. While some people struggle with confidence or self-esteem, others can be overly confident in the ability to stay sober. These people may think they have the ability to control their addiction, or they can say no forever. However, it is often not true. To confidence can lead to irrational thinking, distorted thinking, and even relapse.
Although feeling sorry for ourselves is normal from time to time, self-pitying thoughts can become toxic and obsessive, which can have a negative impact on one’s mental health. Self-pity may cause a person to rationalize drinking or taking drugs to feel better. It is dangerous to get caught up in negative thought patterns – self-pity being the worst.
Relapse Prevention Planning helps you stay sober
It is important to understand the causes of relapse as well as your triggers. This will help you to develop a relapse prevention strategy. Relapse prevention programs outline the steps you’ll take on a daily and weekly basis to maintain your sobriety, your mental health, as well as your recovery.
Outpatient counselling, sober housing homes, 12-step participation, and peer support are some of the options for relapse prevention. Whatever your case may be remember that every person is different and that they can all benefit from different therapeutic interventions.
You or someone you care about is experiencing thoughts of relapse to drug and alcohol use. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, counsellor, or another treatment provider immediately. Help is available for your well-being, happiness, and life.