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Why Relapse Happens, How to avoid relapse,

Why Relapse Happens and How to Avoid It

By on Jun 7, 2024 in Addiction Recovery, Blog, Mental Health

Relapse is not failure. It doesn’t mean drug and alcohol addiction treatment didn’t work. It is often a component of the ongoing disease known as substance use disorder. Understanding relapse and why it happens can help you learn how to avoid it–and how to respond if it happens to you. Sobriety does get easier, and with comprehensive support, our team at Victory Addiction Recovery Center can help you.

What Is Relapse from Addiction?

A relapse occurs when a person begins to use substances again after stopping for some time. It takes a long time for a person to recover from dependence on alcohol or drugs. And that road to recovery is not always straight and simple. Relapse is your brain’s way of trying to find relief and pleasure in difficult times.

To understand why it happens, you have to consider what occurs in a brain affected by addiction. Addictive substances like alcohol and drugs interact with the pleasure center in the brain. Your brain learns that you feel good when you use those substances. Since your brain is programmed to seek out things that give you pleasure, it develops a dependence on that substance, encouraging you to seek it out over and over again.

When you stop using those substances, your brain is forced to learn to function properly again, and that’s why you likely feel withdrawal symptoms. Even though you have physically recovered from withdrawal and no longer use substances, the addiction does not go away. Your brain will never forget the power of substances to bring temporary pleasure. 

A high-stress event, a period of intense anxiety or depression, or other factors can trigger that desire for escape. The cycle of addiction can feel impossible to overcome, but several strategies can help protect you from relapse. 

Can You Avoid Relapse from Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

There are several important strategies for reducing the risk of relapse. Each one of these is something our drug and alcohol treatment center in Lafayette, LA, can help you manage.

Understand the cause of the relapse

Determine what is tempting you to relapse. This may include:

  • A high-stress job or home environment
  • A memory of feeling good when using substances
  • A mental health disorder, like anxiety, depression, or PTSD
  • Health complications, maybe from a lack of self-care
  • A friend or family member who is pressuring you to use again

Know your triggers

Avoiding triggers means staying away from the people, places, experiences, and other aspects of your life related to your drug use. Only you know what triggers you the most. Once you start to understand how your mind works, you will be better equipped to prepare for the emotions, thoughts, and situations that make you want to relapse. 

Invest in activities you enjoy

Stimulate pleasure from new activities that are good for your body and mental health. For example, some people enjoy giving back through a volunteer program. Others enjoy getting out in nature or playing board games with friends. Others find pleasure in getting a massage, listening to music, or cooking a good meal. Find what brings you pleasure and make it part of your daily routine. 

Get into treatment as soon as you feel relapse approach

The most important and effective strategy for preventing relapse is to know when it’s time to reach out for additional support. Our team is always here to help you – with access to immediate support when you are thinking about relapse. We will teach you very specific strategies that allow you to move beyond those intense moments of pain and frustration to get back to your focus on living a healthy life.

Turn to Our Team If You’re Thinking About Relapse

At Victory Addiction Recovery Center, we offer effective strategies to prevent relapse, restore your mental health and physical well-being, and help you live the life you desire. Contact us for immediate help.

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