What Is Relapse?


The definition of relapse is complicated. Researchers debate whether relapse is a process or an outcome in and of itself. The origins of the definition of relapse come from a medical model that viewed addiction as a disease: a patient returns to a state of sickness after a period of remission. As the definition evolved, it came to encapsulate the process that leads people in recovery to return to their substance use disorder.

The US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health conducted a study examining the rates and predictors of 16-year relapse among individuals with alcohol use disorders. In the study, individuals who received help in the form of addiction treatment were more likely to experience long-term remission. When it comes to addiction, one thing is often clear—going to a professional rehab center helps.

Individuals who experience natural remission, discontinuing use without the assistance of a rehabilitation facility, often experience an eventual relapsing episode as well. This can occur years after remission and result in damage that may have been prevented with an initial bout of treatment. If you’re suffering from addiction to alcohol or controlled substances, here’s information you need to know…

You’re at Greater Risk For Relapse When You Engage In Self-Treatment

Frequently, individuals suffering from addiction may believe they can treat their abusive habits themselves. This is one of the quickest ways to fall back into old habits as many substances create a physical and mental dependence. This can lead to intense drug-seeking behavior in the earlier stages of withdrawal that may cause you to completely abandon your attempt at getting sober.

Additionally, many substances are dangerous to attempt to detox from alone. One of the most dangerous self-detoxes imaginable is from alcohol. Individuals who have abused alcohol over the long-term can suffer from potentially fatal side effects if they aren’t treated properly. If you’re attempting to escape from your patterned drug abuse, it’s much safer to do so under the care of a medical professional.

Techniques Proven To Help Curb Rates Of Relapse During Treatment

Many drug rehabilitation facilities have begun to rely on evidence-based techniques to assist individuals in their recovery from controlled substance abuse. Common evidence-based techniques include:

  • Medically Monitored Detox for Men and Women
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Aftercare Programs

These techniques are often combined to create a tailored program that can enable individuals to practice habits that will help keep them sober. Many of the best techniques for fighting addiction can’t be practiced without guidance from an experienced medical professional. If you want the best chance at success, a professional rehab is often your best bet for achieving long-term sobriety.

Avoiding Relapse Triggers When Treatment Is Complete

While there are many types of programs that can work to help you achieve sobriety, preventing relapse over the long-term can often only be accomplished with lifestyle changes that ensure you avoid any harmful triggers. Common triggers include:

  • Lack of patience, wanting things to be fixed right now
  • Expectations that are too high
  • Overconfidence in your ability to be near drugs and not fall into old behaviors
  • Feelings of self-pity

It’s common for individuals who successfully achieve sobriety with the help of a drug rehab to expect too much of themselves when they return home. This often has the negative effect of forcing too much pressure onto themselves and can lead to renewed drug abuse.

Lakeview Health offers premier rehabilitation services capable of being fully tailored to the needs of men or women. With an emphasis on total-body rehabilitation utilizing techniques that have been proven to promote sobriety, Lakeview Health will work tirelessly to help you curb your addictive behavior.

Don’t let your addiction continue to control your life. Call Lakeview Health today at 866-704-7692 to see how we can help you take your first stride toward a sober lifestyle.