Relapse is a common element in many chronic diseases and addiction is no exception. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that between 40% – 60% of addiction treatment patients suffer some form of relapse. This is just slightly higher than the relapse rate for diabetes (30%-50%) and only somewhat lower than the relapse rates for hypertension and asthma (both 50%-70%).
While these percentages may seem intimidating, there are ways to reduce this risk:
Stay Clear of Potential Triggers: Even just passing by places where you bought or consumed substances can trigger a desire to use again and eschewing those places altogether may be easier than having to regular overcome intense physical or psychological cravings.
Avoid Fraternizing with Other Substance Users: Associating with other substance users can be triggering even among supportive friends who won’t exert peer pressure. It is best to forgo social events where substances may be consumed.
Refrain From High-Risk Activities: Places like bars and clubs are likely to trigger cravings, but it is the easy access to substances they provide that makes them particularly dangerous for people in recovery.
Find New Interests: New activities or hobbies can help distract from cravings, provide new a sense of purpose, and expand your network of social support. Engaging in physical activities is believed to be particularly beneficial for avoiding relapse.
Communicate Openly: Those struggling with addiction should not be afraid to discuss their disease with anyone in their life, but it is particularly important for them to speak openly and honestly with their primary care physician and other doctors to avoid being prescribed medication that could trigger a relapse.
While these tools have been effective in helping others avoid relapse, in some cases relapse may be inevitable. In the event of a relapse, it is important to remember that relapse is very common and you should not lose hope or give up on your recovery.
The Asana Recovery Center offers a comprehensive treatment program that can help those at any stage of addiction. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our alcohol and drug treatment program today.