Why Do Addicts Relapse?
Addicts relapse for a lot of reasons. The reasons can vary from person to person and from relapse to relapse. Here are the four most common reasons that an addict will relapse after they’ve been through a treatment program.
Keeping Former Friends In Sobriety
Addicts who don’t make new friends often set themselves up for relapse. It’s important to sever those ties and make new friends. There are people, places and things that addicts feel drawn to, unfortunately, these people, places and things are also the things that cause them to relapse. It’s important for those who have been through treatment to find new friendships, new places and new things to replace those that they must let go of in order to stay clean and sober.
One of the biggest goals in rehab is to teach the addict coping skills and how to make new friends that aren’t addicts. When the addict knows how to do these two things the rest will usually fall into place. Coping skills and life skills are a vital component in rehab and preventing relapse.
Psychiatric Disorders Need To Be Treated
Some addicts have a psychiatric disorder or a mental condition that keeps them a slave to their addiction. When these are diagnosed and treated they often find success at rehab. Sadly, they often go undiagnosed and the addict continues to self medicate to the point of danger.
When a patient enters rehab it’s important that they have a complete mental and physical evaluation. This is the time that the addict needs to share with the facility all the things that they have tried to hide from the world. If the addict is hiding behind these things it can inhibit their recovery and prevent them from fully enjoying a drug and alcohol free life.
Dealing With Stressful Situations
Coping with everyday events is stressful for anyone. Coping with stressful events for an addict is a huge trigger for relapse. Addicts may be fired, struggle to be on time to appointments, have relationship issues, anything that anyone else struggles with, however, they don’t have the coping skills to make sure that they remain clean and sober.
Sadly, without these coping skills the addict is at a high risk to relapse. Coping skills are valuable in rehab in that the teach the addict to plan ahead for all possibilities, how to cope and ways to cope should an event happen to them.
Addicts have a huge need to be loved and accepted. Often they begin a relationship too soon after going through rehab and they fail to prepare for the possibility of a break up. When they break up they don’t know how to cope and the seek comfort in their former ways because that is all they know. The breakup can trigger a deep depression, low self esteem, guilt, anxiety and shame; all of which are challenges to cope with for a clean and sober person.
Sometimes an addict jumps into a relationship before they are fully recovered and ready to deal with a relationship. Relationships are hard enough for those who are clean and sober, let alone a recovering addict. Without proper coping skills and life skills this can be a volatile and dangerous situation to deal with.
Understanding why an addict relapses is a healthy step in winning the battle over the possibility of a relapse. Not all addicts will relapse after treatment, but many do and helping the addict to work toward avoiding this is vital to success. When an addict can see the triggers they can help to reduce the incidence of a relapse and focus on continued recovery.