Why Does Relapse Happen?
Relapse happens for a variety of reasons. Often people think they have gained more control and that using their substance of choice one time won’t hurt them. Other times they may encounter periods of high stress and not know healthy coping skills.
Regardless of the reason, relapse is a common occurrence. Anyone on their road to recovery is at risk of experiencing relapse; however, if you experience any of the following, your risk may be heightened:
When an individual is living with a mental illness and also struggles with addiction, they are living with what is known as a dual diagnosis. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 9.5 million adults aged 18 or older were living with a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2019.
Those who are not receiving the proper treatment for their mental illness are at a greater risk for relapse. Non-compliance to medication for mental illness can also result in relapse. It is common for people who struggle with mental illness to turn to their substance of choice as a coping mechanism to mask whatever feelings they may be experiencing.
Physical Health Conditions
If an individual experiences chronic pain, they may be more likely to experiment with non-prescription painkillers or take more than the prescribed amount. People that are in poor physical health are at a higher risk for relapse to manage their pain.
To prevent relapse, make a pain management plan with your doctor that includes a more holistic approach to treatment or a closely managed medication plan.
Coping with Triggers
One of the most important parts of the recovery journey is being able to identify your personal triggers. Triggers are different for each individual but are essentially a stimulus that can result in an urge or craving for drugs or alcohol.
Triggers can be either internal or external. Internal triggers may be feelings of shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, or feeling unsafe. External triggers may include spending time with people who also abuse substances, going to social events where drugs and alcohol are present, or hanging out in a common area where you once used substances.
Relapse Prevention at Decision Point Center
Decision Point Center is Arizona’s premier leader in alcohol and drug addiction treatment. We use evidence-based techniques to give individuals the tools they need to live a life free of addictive substances.