What is Drug Relapse

Drug relapse, or any kind of relapse, is a process that usually starts when an individual slips back into old behavior patterns. Defined in the dictionary as, “a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement,” relapse can be devastating.  Some people think that relapse begins when someone first uses drugs after being sober or quitting for a time.  However,  we know that relapse occurs much sooner than this — it just might not manifest in drug use at first.

Some tell-tale signs of relapse include: Poor sleep habits

  • Thinking about people, places, and things they used drugs with
  • Glamorizing their past use
  • Lying
  • Hanging out with previous drug using friends
  • Fantasizing about using drugs
  • Thinking about relapsing
  • Planning their relapse around other people’s schedules
  • Making poor choices
  • Anxiety
  • Intolerance
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Not asking for help
  • Not going to meetings or appointments
  • Poor eating habits

After examination of the previous list, it is clear that relapse occurs in the mind before the body takes over and actually relapses to drug use.

Some factors that seem to lead to drug relapse or make it harder to fight back against the urge to do drugs  and relapse faster than an individual otherwise might include:

  1. Being bored
  2. Being around people using drugs or alcohol, places where the individual used drugs or purchased them, or being around the drug or alcohol itself
  3. Feeling that using drugs or alcohol to celebrate something is appropriate
  4. Feeling physical pain
  5. Dwelling on getting high
  6. Having a lot of cash
  7. Using prescription drugs
  8. Thinking that one no longer has to worry (complacent) about relapse or that they are past being tempted

When someone makes the choice to stop abusing drugs, they have taken the first step in 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, and sometimes things even seem harder.  Because of the difficulties associated with recovery, relapse often occurs. But thinking ahead and devising ways to handle pressures that might lead back to drug use and/or drinking can help people stay in recovery and avoid relapse.

Holiday Stress & Relapse

The holidays always seem so fun and exciting when they are aways off. But sometimes when the days of holiday events get closer, we find ourselves feeling more and more stressed about the things we need to do, bring, wear, say, etc. Sometimes its just stressful getting it all done. For some people its a fun time filled with family and gifts, good food and fun activities. However, as we get older and get more responsibilities, and as the holidays get closer, the holidays can trigger both good and bad forms of stress and emotions. Some people cope with stress by turning to food and indulging so much they may gain weight during the holidays. Others may turn to increased alcohol consumption or drug abuse to handle the burdens they feel are placed on them. Stress is also one of the leading causes of alcohol and/or drug relapse. In fact, whether it’s due to increased stress or parties, alcohol and drug use are often intensified during the holidays, especially on Christmas and New Year’s.

Below are ten preventative things from drugabuse.com to prevent relapse during the holidays or during any stressful time.:

Create a Plan

Ask a Sober Friend to be On-Call

Bring a Non-Drinking Holiday Buddy With You

Bring Your Own Drinks

Decide on a Response

Be Smart About Which Events to Attend

Remember There Are Other Ways to Celebrate

Stay Active

Limit Your Time Around Triggers

Tell Those You Trust That You’re in Recovery

Finding outlets for stress can be vital to surviving the holidays without drug or alcohol abuse. Most importantly, if individuals feel overwhelmed, they should ask for help. Taking the time to connect with other people who are willing to offer support can lessen stress during the holidays.

Source: Drugabuse.com

Natural Disasters Can Trigger Relapse

Natural disasters, such as the recent flooding in Houston, Texas, can be devastating and can lead individuals in recovery to relapse. Many people may experience serious stress during a natural disaster as well as in the aftermath which can evolve into an anxiety disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When individuals have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction, the combination of PTSD and stress is one of the most common causes for relapse. Further, experiencing PTSD due to natural disasters or otherwise, can often trigger first time drug or alcohol use or an increase in drug and alcohol use in current users.

Due to the fact that individuals who have struggled with addiction in the past may be extra sensitive to stress, they are more prone to cope with the stress of a natural disaster with drugs and/or alcohol as a coping method. Drug cravings are shown to increase with stress as well. Further, stress due to a natural disaster can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even nightmares. Thus, those battling drug addiction have a much higher potential to relapse in an attempt to suppress stress or other emotional troubles associate with natural disasters.

Fear and depression have also been shown to increase when natural disasters strike. For former drug addicts, drugs and alcohol are often used to numb the feeling associated with or to cope with the loss of control, overwhelming stress, or despair associated with fear and depression.

Awareness of the possibility of relapse and the factors of fear, depression, and PTSD that can lead to a possible relapse are key in staying in healthy recovery during a natural disaster. Also, reaching out for support from loved ones who were not affected by the natural disaster can also sustain individuals dealing with recovery from drug/alcohol addiction.

5 Things to Avoid During Drug Rehab5 Things to Avoid During Drug Rehab
Overcoming addictions can be a long-term process that may include both inpatient and outpatient treatment. Although having a good attitude and being willing to change are key factors in drug rehab success, there are also thing that play a key role in the outcome of drug rehab. Among these things there are things and behaviors to avoid. Below are 5 things to steer clear of to have a more successful drug rehab experience:
1. Stress
Many individuals use drugs or alcohol as a way to handle daily stressful situations. If you can’t find a way to cope with stress without drugs or alcohol, the feeling of needing these things to cope will surely return. Learning how to behave when warning signs of stress and relapse appear is important. Concerns about stress and hope to handle it should be discussed often and openly in drug rehab.
2. Non-certified drug rehab programs
When you start looking for drug and alcohol treatment, focus on what is truly important: quality of care during the rehab program, appropriate licensing, follow up services and staff credentials.
3. Poor diet
If your goal is to build a successful sober life, it is important to make changes to what you eat. The food we eat plays an important role in our life, affecting us both physically and mentally. Avoiding fried foods, foods with sugar, or foods that come pre-packaged is best. Also, eat nutritionally balanced from all food groups.
4. Negativity
Negative thoughts leading to depression can affect drug rehab in a bad way. Being very mindfulness of your thoughts and mental moods can help with personal goals and aid in perceiving life situations more objectively. It takes time to get away from old thought patterns but striving to do so will bring more success in rehab.
5. Unhelpful triggers.
During drug rehab- especially inpatient rehab- it will be easier to avoid places, people, or activities that trigger the cravings for doing drugs and/or drinking alcohol. Selecting a drug rehab facility which is physically far from your previous unhealthy lifestyle can help to avoid triggers. It is also important to stop communication with friends who are still abusing drugs/alcohol.

source: Addictionblog.org

TeenagersIs My Teenager is Using Drugs?

Sometimes it is difficult to face the reality of your teen possibly using drugs.  No parent wants to believe the harsh truth that their teenager may be using.  One of the hardest things in identifying your teen’s addiction may be your reluctance to accept the problem yourself. It can be hard to face that your son or daughter has an addiction, largely out of fear for what it could mean for your child.

The first step, according to interventionservices.com, is to identify the problem itself. However, when teens, or anyone, are abusing drugs, they will do everything they can to hide or conceal the evidence so they won’t get into “trouble” and so they can keep using.

But, according to the Mayo Clinic, there are some telltale signs of teenage drug use that may be fairly recognizable.  For instance, your child may become more withdrawn from your family than usual and/or they may become increasingly defensive about their personal space and evasive when asked about their plans. It’s one thing for a teenager to want privacy, but you should be concerned when they won’t tell you where they are going go or they won’t allow family members into their space or rooms.  Also, their academic performance will often decline, and these teens are often skipping classes or losing interest in extracurricular activities they once enjoyed.   Sometimes their personal hygiene is affected as well.  That is to say, most teenagers are generally concerned with how they look.  Teens that are addicted to drugs can show a general lack of interest in clothing, grooming, or looks.  Some or any of these symptoms may indicate that something is amiss with your teen.

The Mayo Clinic further suggests that teens who request money without explaining what they need the money for may show signs of drug use.  Sometimes parents may find that they are missing money – that their teenage may be stealing from them.  Or, items from your home may go missing as your teen sells them to pay for drugs.  For more specific signs for individual drugs – if you think you may know which drug is specifically being used – refer to the Mayo Clinic’s website.  They have many different specific symptoms listed for commonly abused drugs.

If you are reading this article and doing the research to find answers concerning teen drug abuse, you are taking a huge step in the right direction.  The most important thing a parent can do is reach out to their child and be honest about their concerns.  If you do suspect a problem, it would be wise to counsel with professionals and seek professional help for your teen.

Anxiety Symptoms

Drug relapse

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:

  1. Being bored
  2. Being around people using drugs or alcohol, places where the individual used drugs or purchased them, or being around the drug or alcohol itself
  3. Feeling that using drugs or alcohol to celebrate something is appropriate
  4. Feeling physical pain
  5. Dwelling on getting high
  6. Having a lot of cash
  7. Using prescription drugs
  8. 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
  • Lying
  • Hanging out with old using friends
  • Fantasizing about using
  • Thinking about relapsing
  • Planning their relapse around other people’s schedules
  • Making foolish choices
  • Anxiety
  • Intolerance
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • 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.

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