The main reason for relapsing after traditional detox methods is because the person is in physical pain and/or they still have cravings for drugs.
Clients comment after our treatment help they are not in any pain nor do they have any drug cravings.
Therefore if an individual does relapses, it is usually a matter of choice rather than an overwhelming desire for a particular substance.
In many cases the individual was doing very well but thought they could ‘just have one bit’ or simply could not be bothered ‘not to have drugs’ and chose to use again, sometimes just because of boredom, an argument or just because they felt good and wanted a ‘treat’.
Therefore, some people who use drugs may relapse at some time in the future or they see a single relapse as a ‘blip’ on their road to continued abstinence.
There are some simple steps to take to prevent relapsing like becoming familiar with the triggers and warning signs and having a practical plan of action to get further treatment as soon as possible.
Clients should return for a detox top up treatment as soon as they relapse.
Although relapse is a symptom of addiction, it is preventable. A key factor in preventing relapse is improved social adjustment. However if you have strong family support, employment and a desire to remain substance free the relapse rates lower.
Relapse is usually caused by a combinations of factors or excuses, the most common are listed below:
- Thinking you can ‘just have one bit’.
- Being complacent about drug use
- Bored with not having drugs
- Being over confident about drug use
- Looking for excuse to use – arguments, stress, happiness, treat
- Hanging around old drug using haunts or drug using friends – slippery places
- Keeping drugs and drug paraphernalia around the house for any reason
- Obsessive thinking about using drugs
- Failing to follow ones treatment plan – quitting support – skipping doctors appointments
- Feeling overconfident – that you no longer need support
- Relationship difficulties – ongoing serious conflicts – a spouse who still uses
- Setting unrealistic goals – perfectionism – being too hard on ourselves
- Feeling overwhelmed – confused – useless – stressed out
- Constant boredom – irritability – lack of routine and structure in life
- Sudden changes in psychiatric symptoms
- Dwelling on resentments and past hurts – anger – unresolved conflicts
- Avoidance – refusing to deal with personal issues and other problems of daily living
- Engaging in obsessive behaviors – workaholism – gambling – and acting out
- Major life changes – loss – grief – trauma – painful emotions – winning the lottery
- Ignoring relapse warning signs and triggers
We have found that after therapy, our clients are less likely to relapse as they feel more in control.
In any event, as soon as the relapse occurs the individual should return for a top up treatment immediately and not weeks or months later.