Why Do Drug Addicts Relapse? 7 Reasons a Drug Relapse Can Happen
Have you ever wondered why drug addicts relapse? Whether you’re the loved one of an addict or an addict yourself, it’s a common question to ask. After all, it can be difficult to understand why addicts can’t stop using drugs or why they would return to drugs even after long periods of clean time.
In brief, addiction is a disease that impacts the portion of the brain that is responsible for decision-making, judgment, and self-control. With that being said, there are a number of reasons that can help explain why drug addicts relapse on drugs and alcohol. It’s important to know about these reasons so that recovering addicts can get the support they need before they return back to abusing substances, which will ultimately help them prevent the relapse from happening.
7 Reasons Drug Addicts Relapse on Drugs
Here are a few common reasons drug addicts relapse on drugs or alcohol:
1. Traumatic Events
Whether an addict has been in recovery for a long or short period of time, traumatic events can certainly trigger a relapse. Domestic abuse, sexual assault, terrorism, sickness, near-death experiences, and other types of trauma can cause anybody distress but it can also trigger a relapse when a recovering addict is not being cautious. It’s important to reach out for support during recovery, but if you’ve suffered a traumatic ordeal, then it’s even more critical. The feelings and emotions that can stem from trauma can be enough to push an addict back to using drugs if they do not seek the support they need or continue to work a solid program of recovery.
2. Loss of Loved One
Losing a loved one can be difficult for anybody to bear, but it can also make a recovering addict vulnerable and susceptible to a relapse. Suffering a loss is never easy, which is exactly why it is critical for addicts in recovery to reach out. Losing a parent, sibling, child, friend, or relative can be devastating, and it can also bring up all types of feelings, like anger, sadness, and guilt. It can cause addicts to isolate and repress these emotions, which could lead to a relapse.
3. No Longer Working a Solid Recovery Program
Sometimes recovering addicts stop taking suggestions and going to meetings. They may start to slip with their recovery program, which can eventually lead to a relapse. The reality is that addiction does not just go away. Sobriety takes continual work. So when you stop working your program, you can make yourself susceptible to returning back to old ways of thinking and behaving.
4. Celebrations and Holidays
Special occasions and holidays are common times when drug addicts relapse. Sometimes, addicts think they can handle having a drink or drug to celebrate an occasion when the reality is that this just sets off the mental obsession for more. Holidays may also be triggering because of seeing family or friends you haven’t seen in a while. It may also be a stressful, lonely, or uncomfortable time, all of which can cause an addict to resort back to using drugs as a way to cope.
Being stressed out isn’t enjoyable for anybody, but stress can particularly be bad for recovering addicts. Too much stress can cause an addict to revert back to unhealthy coping skills like drug use. This is why it is critical to develop and practice healthier coping mechanisms, like talking to a friend, going for a walk, exercising, going to a 12 Step meeting, etc.
6. Being Near Substances or Drug Users
Recovering addicts are suggested to avoid old places, people, and things, but sometimes, you may run into someone that you used to use drugs with or drive by a place where you used to pick up. This can be triggering enough to make an addict start obsessing about using drugs until they do. If you are triggered after being around substances, drug users, or someone who you used to use drugs with, remove yourself from the location and contact a sober support.
7. They Think They’ve Got It “Under Control”
It’s all too common for recovering addicts to gain some clean time and then assume that they’ve got everything “under control.” They may stop going to meetings or they may think that they can “handle” drinking or using drugs just one time when the reality is that this can set off the addiction all over again. The truth is that there is no cure for addiction, and recovery takes hard, continual work in order for sobriety to be maintained.
There are plenty of reasons that can help explain why drug addicts relapse. It helps to become aware of them so that you can develop a relapse prevention plan and know what to do if you find yourself feeling triggered to use drugs.
Are you unable to get and stay sober? The Watershed has been providing comprehensive care for over 20 years. You can start the process of recovery today. Call The Watershed now at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: drug addicts, drug relapse, Relapse Prevention, Relapse Warning Signs