Relapse is ever present in the minds of those who have just returned from an  inpatient substance use disorder treatment program. Even for those who have just completed an outpatient detox and rehab program. Once someone reaches active recovery – the phase of recovery where a person has reached sobriety and is working to maintain that sobriety, it can feel like relapse is looming in the background, just waiting for them to make a wrong turn and for them to fall into using again.

That sad thing is that this kind of anxiety can be at the heart of what ultimately drives someone into a relapse to begin with, especially if they suffer from anxiety related dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring mental health disorder. It’s a feedback loop. Anxiety is exacerbated by the stress of recovery, but even more so from the stress of wanting so the stress of so desperately wanting to not relapse and that anxiety makes it difficult to stay sober. Stress like this can ultimately be a trigger that activates the symptoms of a co-occurring disorder and very easily exacerbate addiction, leading to relapse.


Being concerned and awake to the possibility of relapse is a good thing. Relapse happens far too often for those who have gone through treatment. To not think about it at all could be a deadly mistake. But if someone has gone through treatment they should be confident in the skills that they learned. Fear can tear people apart if they focus on what could be instead of the moment in front of them. When creating a life optimally designed to keep a person suffering from chronic addiction, sober and healthy for the long term, focusing on practicing and refining one’s life skills and healthy coping methods is the only way to truly avoid relapse. This can be, and should be done intentionally. But it is very difficult to do this in the face of the pressing fear of relapse. A person back from rehab should still be in some type of continuing and consistent relapse prevention, continuing aftercare program. This is the best hope of continuing to build the necessary skills to remain participating in sober living. New Jersey life is sometimes overwhelmingly busy, but there is nothing more important to make time for than recovery, and it isn’t over just because someone gets back from an inpatient recovery program. It is important to continue building a life with the kind of infrastructure that can assist the addict to remain in active recovery, managing their sobriety in healthy ways.


Discovery InstituteRelapse Shouldn’t Be Obsessed About, But It is Dangerous

Though someone should not obsess about relapse, it is very scary and does cause far too many fatal overdoses. Relapsing is unfortunately a part of most chronic diseases, but it must be taken seriously. If someone revisits their drug or drink of choice, the results can are devastating often because the person forgets to consider how long they’ve been sober, they just revert back to a sense of ritual. They load the pipe with what they used to. They take the same amount of shots. They turn back to the muscle memory of using. But they no longer have a tolerance for the drug. Often someone who overdoses convince themselves that they just want one hit. Unfortunately that is not possible for an addict. People either take their old dose and if they are lucky, end up in the hospital. At worst they suffer from a fatal overdose. If those two outcomes aren’t realized, they very likely will become chemically dependent on the drug again.


How To Find Recovery After Relapse Through Drug Rehab Centers in NJ

One of the most important ways, if not the very most vital of ways for a person continuing their precarious journey through addiction recovery can keep the worst from happening is to maintain aftercare treatment. This usually includes continuing behavioral therapy with individual therapy sessions, group therapy, a 12 step program, or ideally a combination of all three types of treatment.

These programs help sharpen emotional intelligence and teach someone resilience in the face of triggers and cravings. These types of group programs offer a ready safety net, or support group for those someone who don’t feel like they have one, or an expanded support network for those who do, one of the most important resources for a recovering addict.


Discovery Institute offers a holistic approach to care and a comprehensive, tiered system of recovery. We believe there is nothing more important after your detox and rehab than continuing to receive consistent relapse prevention treatment. If you need help finding treatment for addiction, or have questions about relapse prevention, call us today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy 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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