Why Does Addiction Relapse Happen?

addiction relapse

When you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, the rehabilitation and recovery process is a significant challenge, but one that can have a very positive impact on your life. Even if you’ve been clean for awhile, it is possible that you will have an addiction relapse because of the physical and emotional dependencies that you developed with addiction.

Maybe someone handed you a drink or a pill at a party and you just couldn’t resist. One led to another, and you ended up with yet another lost weekend and a strong desire to just keep doing it. Why? How can something like that happen after you worked so hard to break free?

The simplest explanation for why addiction relapses occur is that addictions are chronic disorders. That means there’s no magical cure that fixes you and makes the addiction go away. Even when you stop using drugs or drinking alcohol, the only way to stay clean is to continually fight your urges, which is largely emotional. After all, when people are constantly fighting against something, it’s not all that surprising that some of them give in some times.

Still, there are factors that can influence whether or not someone will relapse, and it’s important to be aware of them so that you can be prepared.  There have also been reported

Your high of choice

According to experts, 85 percent of opiate (commonly pain killer) addicts relapse within a year. Meanwhile, the percentage of alcoholics who relapse can range from 30 percent on the low end to a high of 70 percent. That does not mean that you will inevitably have an addiction relapse just because of the drug you chose, though. People in treatment tend to fare better and medical professionals are continuing to look for new ways to help addicts to form healthy habits and prevent the possibility of an addiction relapse.


Your family history

You’ve probably heard that people are more likely to become alcoholics if they have a history of alcoholism in their family. The same is true for addictions to other kinds of substances, and this is because mind-altering drugs literally do that—they alter brain chemistry. When someone is a heavy drug user, his or her brain can become permanently changed, and it can even affect offspring. Since those with a family history of addiction have a higher likelihood of becoming addicts, they are also more prone to addiction relapse. If you have such history, it’s even more important that you get all the help and support that you can if you begin to become dependent on drugs or alcohol or seem to be relapsing after rehabilitation.

Your stress level

Part of the reason many of us turn to alcohol and drugs is to relieve the stress and pressures of our daily life. This is even truer for addicts, who have already become accustomed to using substances as a coping mechanism. Someone attempting to recover from their addiction and stay clean should work hard to minimize their stress level as much as possible, because emotional highs and lows can quickly lead to addiction relapse. Stressors are different for everyone but be especially careful if you find yourself fighting with friends or family, dealing with major health problems, or facing financial pressures.

Your lifestyle

Did you get into drugs and alcohol because you’re the life of the party? Does your job require you to schmooze at bars and clubs? Addicts whose lifestyle puts them around their drug of choice tend to have a harder time staying clean than those who can stay far away. Some feel social pressure, while others may become overconfident after “beating” their addiction and think that doing it just this once won’t hurt. For most people, having that one drink can lead to more and addiction relapse can occur as a result. Be aware of whether or not your lifestyle, career, or the people you surround yourself with present temptation to drink or use drugs seek out more support if so.

Your mental health

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or any other kind of psychological disorder, you are far more likely to relapse than someone with no mental health challenges. That’s why so many drug and alcohol rehab centers today are engaging in dual diagnosis treatment, where they are trained to support addict’s psychological issues and substance dependency at the same time. Otherwise, it’s like treating the symptoms and ignoring the disease, since psychological problems are what lead many people to engage in substance abuse. If you find yourself struggling with emotional challenges or feel anxious or depressed, make sure you have a strong support system in place to help you avoid the temptations to relapse.

If you feel tempted to begin using drugs or drinking alcohol again, return to treatment immediately. And if you do have an addiction relapse, there could be many causes. Seek out a treatment program you are comfortable with for your particular situation to help you get back on your feet, and this time, for good.

Whatever path to recovery you choose, our staff has access to hundreds of treatment centers to assure the best personalized treatment for you, then with continued follow up to help you make the transition to sober living as seamless as possible.

Our trained staff of professionals are qualified to help you assess what type of treatment will be the best fit to ensure you or your loved one gets the help you need.

But how does one go about finding the right program?

If this all looks very overwhelming....it is! But that's what we are here for. Call us at 888-205-8608 and we can help make this process much easier. We will narrow down all of these aspects and find the best program for you or your loved one with all your concerns considered. It's as simple as making that first call. And the best part is that we are a free service. The road to recovery starts here!

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