June 22, 2024


Outstanding health & fitness

What should I do if I or a loved one relapses on alcohol or drugs?

What NOT To Do When a Loved One Relapses

One of the most upsetting things a family can go through is to watch helplessly as a loved one relapses. Nevertheless, it occurs frequently during addiction recovery. The majority of people tend to view treatment as a short-term solution when they are attempting to overcome the negative effects of alcohol or drug use on their lives. Overcoming addiction to drugs or alcohol and resuming their lives as soon as possible is the goal for the majority of addicts and their families. After that, they want to be free of addiction for good. These expectations for a speedy treatment and super durable goal of dependence are no doubt reasonable, however tragically, such a conclusive result applies to just a subset of individuals with liquor or ongoing drug habits. If you or a loved one has relapsed on drugs or alcohol, what should you do?

While professional treatment is the best option for overcoming addiction and rehabilitation is effective for most patients, the treatment process for addiction is not always simple or straightforward. Multiple treatments may be required for a patient to maintain control over their addictive behavior. In reality, a patient may require multiple addiction treatment sessions to maintain control over their addictive behavior. Patients may need to return to treatment in order to learn skills that they did not learn in the previous treatment or to improve on skills they already have. Sometimes, addictive behavior comes back early in recovery, or it turns out that a person needed to stay in treatment for a longer time to succeed. Recovery from addiction is highly dependent on the drug’s addiction profile, and treatment will take longer if the addiction was particularly severe. Therefore, it is difficult to accurately predict a patient’s risk of relapse.

As a consequence of this, it is of the utmost significance to ensure that an addictions treatment program is JCAHO-accredited (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and authorized to handle Dual Diagnosis cases when selecting one. The best programs for dealing with relapse will be these ones. When assisting patients in overcoming addiction, it is necessary to strike a balance between assisting them with their immediate requirements and equipping them with the skills necessary for their long-term success. It is just as important to assist someone in calming their emotional distress in the present moment as it is to assist them in preparing for cravings management in the months or even years to come. The term “Relapse Prevention” refers to this long-term approach to addiction treatment, and it is one of the most fundamental components of any addiction rehabilitation program. If done correctly, many patients may be able to avoid or reduce the need for subsequent hospitalizations or recognize when rehospitalization is required, ensuring long-term recovery and life reconstruction success. Therefore, if you or someone you care about is thinking about getting treatment for addiction, find out about any programs that a treatment center offers that are based on evidence and prevent relapse!

Addiction is primarily viewed by mental health professionals as akin to a chronic disease.

Before I discuss relapse prevention strategies, I want to clarify that, despite the fact that addiction causes many short-term issues—often severe ones—it is primarily viewed as such. This is due to the fact that 30-60% of people receiving addiction treatment relapse or recur after leaving treatment (Andersson, Wenaas, & Nordfjörn, 2019; 2021) Ignaszewski A relapse occurs when a patient is improving from drug or alcohol use symptoms but returns to substance use behavior before recovery is complete. In a similar vein, a recurrence occurs when a person has fully recovered from the symptoms of a substance use disorder for a considerable amount of time but then returns to problematic drug use. Relapse can occur many years after successful treatment for addiction.

The reasons why a patient relapses or recovers are numerous and vary from patient to patient; however, one thing that the majority of patients have in common is the fact that cravings for substances can occur even years or decades after ceasing previous use. These cravings for drugs or alcohol are typically brought on by changes in the brain that occur when a person uses drugs or alcohol. These neurological changes cause the patient to want to use drugs even though there are many problems (Wemm & Sinha, 2019). As a result, due to the long-term possibility of relapse, some researchers have suggested treating addiction like other chronic illnesses, with relapse only acting as a trigger for new treatment (McLellan et al., 2000). Relapse prevention programs are incorporated into successful addiction recovery programs as part of this understanding of the nature of addiction.

Factors That Cause Addiction Relapse

 During the initial stages of drug or alcohol rehabilitation, the primary focus of treatment is on meeting immediate requirements. This includes helping patients begin to develop coping mechanisms for cravings as well as addressing major life issues brought on by substance use (such as legal and family issues). The discomforts of withdrawal and the frustrations of coming to terms with having a substance use problem make the early stages of treatment the most difficult, but things get a little easier in the later stages of hospitalization and rehabilitation.

Strategies Based on Evidence for Preventing Relapse 

Relapse prevention is an important part of any JCAHO-accredited treatment center. One of the best ways to reduce a patient’s risk of relapse over the long term is to prepare them for experiences and risk factors that could cause them to relapse into addictive behavior. It’s tempting for patients nearing the end of a rehabilitation program to concentrate primarily on their progress. Despite the fact that it is critical to acknowledge a patient’s progress in recovery, the greatest obstacles to long-term success arise after treatment is completed. Having a supportive social network, developing confidence in one’s coping skills, and recognizing a positive purpose and meaning in life outside of alcohol or drugs are important for maintaining long-term recovery (Sliedrech et al., 2019). According to Marlatt & Donovan (2005), preventing relapse also requires implementing evidence-based approaches to relapse prevention such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management.

Helpful Resources

NJ Treatment Centre for Addiction

Outpatient Rehab Centre 

Addiction Treatment in Maryland Heights

Inpatient Treatment Centre