Every year, millions of drug addicts walk through rehab center doors for treatment. After a period of treatment, patients are released to the community much better off than when they went in. However, the recovery process doesn’t stop with stepping out of the center or after a session; it takes more time. Sadly, 79 percent of those who leave the rehab center come back a while later due to relapse.
Relapse Rate in Numbers
The relapse rate is determined by the type of substance that caused the addiction. At the top of the list is heroin, with 87 percent relapse rate. Alcohol comes in second at 86 percent, with crack cocaine coming in third at 84 percent. PCP, inhalants, and hallucinogens have a lower rate at 60 percent. The relapse happens within five years of leaving the rehab center.
However, the cause of the relapse doesn’t fully lie on the shoulder of the patient, it goes further. The causes are termed “triggers”.
Triggers of Drug Relapse
Many factors can cause the recovering addict get back to abusing drugs. These include:
- Overconfidence: Recovering addicts feel that the worst is over, and they can now get back to society. The victim feels that he or she doesn’t need to make use of recovery programs anymore. The person stops doing the things that have been helping him or her remain sober.
- Unrealistic Expectations: The recovering addict expects things to change overnight. This is a serious misconception. Recovery doesn’t happen the time a treatment program ends; it goes beyond the rehab center. This can take months or years. Recovering addicts don’t know that real effort is required for total recovery. Giving up the addiction is only the first step. Another expectation is with the family. The person might have high expectations for everyone else. For instance, the person might expect the family to forget about the past just like that, which is impossible. Some family members might never let go of past memories. Failure to meet these expectations leads to disappointments and pain, which can lead to relapse.
- Depression Symptoms: Recovery comes with post-acute withdrawal symptoms that resemble depression symptoms. These symptoms can last up to a year, in some cases. These symptoms aren’t easy to diagnose, and the victim might suffer in silence. Life becomes unbearable, and they seek a release that might come in the form of drugs.
- Addiction Substitution: One of the worst aspects of addiction is the patient thinking the cause of addiction is the only due to the drug. A victim will try other substances thinking they are less harmful, only to fall into another spat of dependency.
- Boredom: After kicking the habit, a huge void is left that needs to be filled by something worthwhile. These pursuits need to be healthy and able to occupy the person for a long time. Lacking something to do leads to boredom and a feeling of isolation. The recovering addict sees the old life to be more desirable than the current one, and relapse is just a call away or a walk down the block.
- Exaggerated Self-Pity: Exaggerated self-pity makes the recovering addict feel like a victim all the time. He or she will blame everyone, places, and things. This is an attempt at running away from the real problem at hand. The result is a relapse, which in this regard is done in secret.
Relapses can be worse than first incidences. A relapse can take longer to treat as compared to the first addiction. This is why it is important to understand the various drug relapse triggers and avoid them.