Understanding Relapse and How to Prevent It

doctor in rehab clinic

Addiction is now a national epidemic. Drugs are more accessible and incredibly more potent than they’ve ever been, leading to rising rates of addiction. With the cost of treatment rising and patients bearing more of the cost, a cost-effective treatment option is needed. It comes in the form of outpatient detox programs. These programs are specifically designed to help individuals suffering from addiction to stay sober in their own home environment as opposed to being isolated from it. They are also provided on an in-network basis with most private health insurance providers. This means that the programs are credentialed and the cost to the patient is minimal.

Ambulatory Detoxification or outpatient detoxification can deliver better outcomes as they are able to help the patient apply relapse prevention and coping skills in their home environment in real time. Patients are also able to come back to treatment every morning from home and discuss what worked and what they struggled with. Adjustments can be made while the patients enjoy support at the treatment center and the family can also be brought in and educated about how to better support the patient at home.

Residential or inpatient facilities can not only be extremely expensive, most of them are out-of-network with health insurance providers. This leaves many people suffering with the disease of addiction with another stressor: huge medical bills. Some individuals suffering from this disease will have no option but to seek inpatient treatment because they suffer from a medical condition that requires 24-hour monitoring or their living situation at home is not optimal.

It’s extremely important to work with trained professionals with deep experience in putting people firmly on the road to recovery. On consultation with you, they can tailor a program that will provide the best possible chance of success. Prolonged drug use has a profound effect on the brain, as it rewires the reward pathways. Alcohol and drugs can mimic natural neurotransmitters (dopamine). These are the chemicals that prompt different positive feelings, and they increase their release causing highly pleasurable feelings or euphoria. The brain can eventually become dependent on the drugs to create these chemical reactions. This means that when the body starts to detox, the brain starts sending out distress signals. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Drug cravings can happen at any time during the recovery phase and they could cause a relapse. Addiction is a chronic disease and relapse is part of recovery. It is a temporary setback and not a failure. Unfortunately, many people become discouraged at this point and go back to full time drug use. The key is to understand the nature of relapse and to have an intervention in place before it happens. Being engaged with self-help groups, such as NA (narcotics anonymous) or AA (Alcoholics anonymous New Jersey) can provide support in the event of a relapse or even before it happens. If relapse does occur, it’s important to remember some of these key factors:

Relapse Is Not Uncommon

Over 50% of people in recovery experience relapse at some point in time. This can happen during times of extreme stress, or when the individual is trying to figure out how to engage themselves in society after rehab treatment has been completed. Just like any other chronic disease, treatment may need to be repeated.

Relapse Doesn’t Equate to Failure

Some addicts become extremely discouraged when they believe that relapse means complete failure. It’s important that they understand that this is a step in the complicated process of staying sober. If relapse does occur, it is important to reach out to someone in the support team. This can allow the individual to analyze the reasons for relapse, and work on putting in interventions for the future.

But, Relapse Can Be Dangerous

It is not uncommon to see when a relapse happens, the individual afflicted by the disease of addiction go back to the same intensity of drug us and overdose. This happens because the body’s tolerance to the drug has diminished because the patient has stayed sober for a length of time. SO, when even a minor relapse happens, it is time to go back to treatment.

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