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Struggling with Relapse after Rehab? Don’t Give Up!

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By July 17, 2017
Struggling with Relapse after Rehab? Don’t Give Up!

Relapse after rehab is a touchy subject, but it shouldn’t be something that people in recovery should shy away from talking about. The truth is that relapse after rehab is not only possible, but it’s likely. Addiction is a disease, and just like other diseases, relapse and remission occur. That doesn’t mean you should plan for a relapse, but you should definitely be prepared. It’s also important to know that a relapse doesn’t mean that your recovery efforts were for nothing. You can continue on your path to recovery, there are just a few steps you will have to take first.

What to do if you Relapse after Rehab

Identify your Mistakes: If you have struggled with relapse after rehab, backtrack to find where things went south. It’s frequent that individuals think that relapse is the act of using after detox, but relapse, in fact, isn’t just simply the act of using. It’s an entire process that involves mental, emotional, and physical responses. So, when did you start to think about using again? Was there a trigger which stimulated an emotional response like a craving that then led to the physical act of using? If you can learn from the experience, there is a better chance that the next time around, you’ll be able to prevent relapse in the earliest stages.

Make Essential Changes: If you have identified a trigger that led to the process of relapse, you’ll need to make changes to ensure relapse doesn’t occur again. For example, if the trigger that led to the process of relapse was old friends, maybe you need to stop hanging out with individuals from your past who don’t believe that your sobriety is important. Or, if the trigger was stress, you may have to work on coping mechanisms utilized throughout treatment to get back on track with your recovery success. Although the change may be challenging, it is imperative to give yourself the best chance at successful long-term addiction recovery.

Attend Therapy Sessions: You may experience feelings of shame and guilt after a relapse. These negative emotions should be investigated so that recovery can continue and relapse doesn’t lead back to a routine of habitual drug use. Additionally, therapy can help you to learn and practice coping mechanisms for triggers that may lead to a relapse. This will prepare you further to keep from relapsing in the future. Although you may not be attending drug addiction rehab anymore, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the numerous advantages of individualized therapies.

Jump Back into Recovery Routines: Your new life in recovery is undoubtedly a different lifestyle than before you’ve attended treatment. A life of active addiction is usually one in which personal health is not taken into account because obtaining drugs is more important. But, through treatment, you may have spent time re-establishing new lifestyle routines. Proper nutrition, a healthy sleep pattern, regular exercise, and self-care are all vital to remaining successfully sober. Just because you’ve relapsed, it doesn’t mean that you have to revert back to old lifestyle patterns. Jump back into your healthy routines that you’ve established throughout treatment immediately.

Receive Support: Throughout treatment, you’ve learned how important it is to have support throughout recovery. Maybe your relapse was a sign that you haven’t been supported enough. Even if you are, it’s helpful to turn to support groups when a relapse after rehab occurs. AA, NA, SMART, and many others are free to join and attend. Here, you will learn that you are not the only one who has relapsed after recovery. Connecting with others who have been in your position will help you to understand that your recovery is not over, but merely just beginning.

Have you Experienced a Relapse After Rehab?

If you have relapsed and also reverted back into old active lifestyle addictive behaviors, you may need to re-attend rehabilitation. Sometimes, individuals find that they haven’t spent enough time in treatment to learn and develop methods they need to prevent relapse and live a successful life in recovery. If you need treatment, get help today by calling The Discovery Institute at 888-616-7177. Even if you have relapsed, you still CAN live free from addiction, and we can help.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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