Why Do Relapses Happen?

Relapse Prevention: Why Do Relapses Happen?

It is a common misconception that a relapse signifies that treatment has failed. But as an addiction specialist will tell you, addiction is a relapsing disease and addiction relapse statistics show that the rates are similar to type II diabetes: 40 to 60 percent, according to a study published on JAMA. But why do relapses happen?

The main causes of why relapses happen will be discussed, followed by tips for addiction relapse prevention.

Why do Relapses Happen?

To answer the question “why do relapses happen?” we’ll look at the causes of relapse cited by recovering addicts. Of course, there can be many different reasons why people relapse, but we’ll only look at the most common reasons.

Below are the main reasons people relapse:

  • Overconfidence – Confidence is excellent for recovery, but overconfidence can be a person’s downfall. Why do relapses happen in overconfidence cases? The main cause of relapse in overconfidence cases is the idea that the person has beat their addiction and that nothing can cause them to slip anymore. This results in reducing the amount of time dedicated to relapse prevention or even stopping entirely. It can result in a higher chance of relapse because addiction prevention should be a life-long goal.
  • Stress – Of course, stress is a major cause of relapse, according to various addiction relapse statistics. Stress can come from being overloaded or even by being praised, such as receiving a promotion and fearing that you won’t be able to do the job properly. Without an effective, healthy way to deal with stress, a relapse can occur.
  • Disappointment – Another of the causes of relapse is disappointment. This can come about from unrealistic expectations from your recovery, such as expecting not to crave at all anymore a year after stopping.
  • Self-pity – It’s normal for everyone to feel self-pity at some point, but it isn’t healthy to hold onto that self-pity. In addiction recovery, holding onto self-pity can drive a person to relapse. It causes people to look at other people for blame instead of looking at their own life and changing the things that will make them happier.

Addiction Relapse Prevention

At some point in an addict’s recovery, they will be faced with the signs of a relapse, such as the welling up of emotions or a sudden stressful situation. When this occurs, it is important to apply the relapse prevention strategies taught to you at rehab. But sometimes this isn’t enough. Below are some extra tips to help you prevent relapse.

  • Keep in touch with the people you met on your journey – During rehab, you would have met many people who you can relate to and that share in your goals of long-term sobriety. Do your best to stay in touch with these people as they can provide a life-line in situations where relapse is approaching.
  • Keep going to meetings – Support group meetings are an excellent way to connect with other people in similar situations. It can give you a platform to express your feelings so as not to let them bottle up and lead to relapse. You can also learn from the other people at the meeting and make new connections for the future.
  • Make your sobriety a priority – A person who has gone through their recovery and come out on top may find themselves with very busy lives. Working hard, looking after the kids, being a good partner and doing things you enjoy may be the gift that becoming sober gave you, but that doesn’t mean that these things should take over free time that was dedicated to staying sober.

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/193144

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.