Are Some People More Susceptible to Relapse than Others?

The definition of relapse is “to suffer deterioration after a period of improvement.” Another definition is “a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement.” Regarding someone with substance addiction, relapse is a return to drugs and alcohol after a period of sobriety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40-60% of people who receive treatment for alcohol and drug addiction will relapse. 

The most provoking question people have regarding relapse is why some people relapse and why others do not. While there may never be a complete answer to why this is, there are some theories. 

Continuance of Treatment

If people are diagnosed with cancer, for instance, but do not remain consistent with treatment, cancer often returns. The same goes for addiction. Treatment must be ongoing because there is no cure. Putting effort into one’s sobriety is essential. Depending upon the person, an addict may attend 12-Step meetings, pursue therapy, and use the tools of recovery for a lifetime, one day at a time. 

Responding to Cravings

Anything can generate a craving for drugs and alcohol. How an individual responds to their cravings is everything. Avoiding people, places, and things that offer drugs and alcohol is one of the best ways to gain strength in recovery. For example, staying out of the liquor aisle at the grocery store can prevent cravings from starting. Once cravings start, picking up the phone and letting someone else know what is going on or going to a meeting is critical. Taking power back over the cravings with action will be the best defense a person has to prevent relapse.    

Mental Health Factors

Depression, anxiety, and stress can take a toll on a person to lead them back to self-medicating their co-occurring disorders to cope. Instead of trying to numb the physical and mental anguish, consider healthy alternatives. Therapy, exercise, or mindfulness can alleviate the symptoms and minimize exacerbating addiction or mental health issues. 

People will say that relapse is not part of recovery, but it is. Anyone is susceptible to relapse, so a better way to think is that relapse is part of recovery, but it does not have to be. A person who suffers from an addiction will have to be proactive in their recovery. They have to identify their cravings and understand how mental health can play a role in relapse. Having a relapse prevention plan in place can be the saving grace someone needs to keep their recovery intact.  

The Detox Center of Colorado will assist your recovery by giving you the tools you need to stay sober. Relapse can be avoided by looking at the factors that caused you to drink and use and devising a relapse prevention plan to counter any urges or triggers. Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, we offer highly individualized treatment plans that meet the specific needs of each patient. Clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing with the power of recovery. Call us today to start your journey for a healthier lifestyle in recovery: (303) 952-5035.


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