Drug relapse, or any kind of relapse, is a process that usually starts when an individual slips back into old behavior patterns. Some people think that relapse begins when an individual uses their first drug after quitting. However, relapse occurs much sooner than this. There are many factors that can lead to a drug relapse.
Certain behaviors lead individuals to relapse faster. These include:
- Being bored
- Being around people using drugs or alcohol, places where the individual used drugs or purchased them, or being around the drug or alcohol itself
- Feeling that using drugs or alcohol to celebrate something is appropriate
- Feeling physical pain
- Dwelling on getting high
- Having a lot of cash
- Using prescription drugs
- Thinking that one no longer has to worry (complacent) about relapse or that they are past being tempted
“When an individual decides to quit using drugs or stop drinking, they have taken the first step towards drug addiction recovery. This step is the beginning of an important change in their life.
They may expect that all their problems will go away once they have made the decision to quit. Unfortunately, their problems often remain with them throughout their recovery process. Recovery is the process of building a new life, and like any major change it takes time. It also involves mixed feelings. One moment they may feel good about the new possibilities, and the next they may feel sad to leave old friends and habits behind. It can be very confusing. It can even make them doubt their commitment to this new direction that they know in their heart is right for them.
It is often at this point that an individual is susceptible to drug relapse. A technique called drug relapse prevention planning can help. In fact, it can make all the difference in the world. By thinking ahead and by working out ways to handle the pressures that might lead them back to their drug use and/or drinking, they can approach their new life with a greater sense of confidence. Drug relapse prevention planning is planning for success.” (drug-rehabs.org)
Some tell-tale signs of relapse include: Poor sleep habits
- Thinking about people, places, and things they used with
- Glamorizing their past use
- Hanging out with old using friends
- Fantasizing about using
- Thinking about relapsing
- Planning their relapse around other people’s schedules
- Making foolish choices
- Mood swings
- Not asking for help
- Not going to meetings or appointments
- Poor eating habits
There are ways an individual can regain control and prevent a slip from becoming a full drug relapse. If an individual experiences a drug relapse, they should talk to a counselor or friend about it. They can learn from the situation and find different ways of handling the pressures that led to their drug relapse.
If an individual uses a drug relapse as a learning opportunity rather than viewing it as a failure, they can prevent it from happening again. It’s important for individuals to make a plan for stopping a slip or a relapse before it happens. They need to learn to recognize the signs that a relapse is beginning before they’ve actually used drugs or drank alcohol. It’s important to not let a slip or relapse prevent individuals from staying on the path to recovery.