“Why do people relapse” is a complex and challenging question that addicts and family members ask themselves. It’s often a time filled with guilt, struggle, and negativity. But, like with many other chronic illnesses, this is not uncommon. Relapse is a symptom of addiction that individuals and families must be aware of. 

Through the Impact Wellness Network, our group of addiction treatment centers spread across the Midwest are designed to support and facilitate growth and sobriety. We believe that a strong addiction treatment program focuses on preparing individuals for the real world with relapse prevention strategies and plans in place before they ever leave our facility. Additionally, our outpatient and alumni programs continue to provide unparalleled support to clients and families alike as they battle addiction.

Contact us today to see how we can help you prevent relapse.

What does relapse mean?

In relation to substance use disorders, relapse means a return to previous behaviors or thought processes. There are actually several different types of relapse that can trip people up when it comes to maintaining sobriety in the long run. Relapse impacts the emotional, mental, and physical and happens in very distinct stages.

Emotional relapse occurs first, and it can happen weeks or months before a physical relapse. Individuals who are emotionally relapsing don’t actually want to relapse; they are just stuck thinking about the last time they did. Their negative mindset and repetitive thoughts of this incident are actually what cripple their recovery process and put them at a greater risk.

The second stage of relapse is a mental relapse. This occurs when a person really starts to struggle with whether they should use drugs again. This battle of will is often evident with several symptoms. 

  • craving for drugs or alcohol
  • thinking about people, places, and things associated with past use
  • minimizing consequences of past use or glamorizing past use
  • bargaining
  • lying
  • thinking of schemes to better control using
  • looking for relapse opportunities
  • planning a relapse

In these situations, clients often think that the high-risk and negative feelings they are having are directly related to their progress, but it can set them back.

The last stage of relapse is a physical relapse. This is where an individual starts using again regularly. According to Melemis, this can be split into two different categories. A single “lapse” of use where “relapse” is a return to previous use. While it is often related to an opportunity to use, clients have a difficult time separating the use and the progress lost.

Why do people relapse?

Individuals relapse for a number of reasons. However, it often relates back to negative thinking that leads to fear of progress or the inability to maintain progress. Substance abuse is defined as a “chronic and relapsing” disorder. In fact, 40-60% of individuals with a substance use disorder relapse. 

How to Prevent Relapse

There are several things a person can do to prevent relapse. Relapse prevention is often a large part of addiction treatment, but it is also relevant to those in aftercare.  Melemis indicates that there are five simple rules to remember when it comes to relapse prevention.

  1. Change your life
  2. Be completely honest
  3. Ask for help
  4. Practice self-care
  5. Don’t bend the rules

He maintains that clients can help maintain their sobriety and positive mental health by following these relapse prevention rules. These ideas are solidified through years of practical experience and application. 

When individuals create a relapse prevention plan, they focus on altering and improving their lifestyles. Individuals must focus on the positive changes by being completely honest with themselves about their needs and struggles. By doing this, individuals can learn when to ask for help and the know-how they need to take care of themselves. By sticking firmly to the rules you’ve developed and decided on.

Finding Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Near Me

Impact Wellness Network is a group of high-quality addiction treatment centers throughout the midwest designed to support clients and families through every step of the addiction treatment process. Our advanced programming helps clients develop a sense of community and support to encourage lifelong sobriety.

Our addiction treatment programs have thorough aftercare programs that encourage relapse prevention as we teach in our residential and outpatient programming. 
Contact us today to see what the best treatment plan is for you.

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