Recognizing and Preventing Relapse in Addiction

Taking the first step towards addiction treatment is knowing that you need treatment for your addictions. People who complete their addiction treatment often feel like they are falling into the pit of their cravings after some time. Relapse is a common practice in the recovery process of drug addiction. Read ahead and find out common signs before relapse and how to prevent a relapse. Addiction is a lifetime battle, as the majority of addicts, especially those in recovery, would agree. To be quite honest, it might be difficult to decide to go sober, and things don’t exactly get much easier from there. It’s a frequent misperception that someone has recovered from addiction if they finish treatment or quit using drugs or alcohol. However, recovery is a continuous process. It’s a never-ending journey.


Relapse: What Does It Mean?

It is fairly typical for someone to relapse while in rehabilitation. Relapsing into full-time use of the drug or alcohol that they were trying to avoid is known as relapsing into addiction. Fortunately, if a sound relapse prevention strategy is in place, relapse can be avoided or at the very least detected early on. If you or a loved one is addicted to taking drugs or alcohol more than normal; it is time to stop and seek help. Addiction treatment centers offer different types of programs including MAT, Therapies and Counseling to help you not fall into old bad habits. Doctors will take good care of addicts. You can choose an Outpatient program or even Telehealth addiction treatment. Another good news is that addiction treatment is covered by insurance.


Relapse: How Common Is It?

Relapse can frequently occur throughout recovery. According to some research, nearly half of those who make an effort to stop using heavily do it again. Additionally, according to some research, between 70% and 90% of people in recovery will go through a mild or moderate drug relapse or alcohol relapse. Up to five or six relapses in addiction may be necessary to maintain change.


Relapse as a Process of Healing

A relapse, or possibly several relapses, can occur throughout the process of getting sober from a drug or alcohol addiction. A slip, lapse, or even a complete relapse as a person in recovery is not indicative of failure. It might only be a single step toward healing.


Because the person learns to identify their triggers, relapse in addiction can be an essential part of rehabilitation. In order to counteract these triggers and the reasons why they could engage in drug use once more, that person can practice employing efficient coping techniques.


Why do People Relapse Into Addiction

When a person is addicted to an addictive substance, their whole world revolves around consuming that drug. For addiction doctors the treatment of a drug abuser is a very difficult task. There may appear severe cravings and a yearning to take that drug again and get high once again. This strong urge may be caused by depression in the first place. Any negative emotion that causes depression may become a cause of relapse. A smell, sight, or sensing of the object, to which the person was addicted, may create a strong desire to experience the “joy” once again. Thus causing relapse. Similarly meeting with peers of addiction, and visiting the place where the person used to take drugs may trigger the memories of drug and alcohol use, thus producing a condition of relapse.


Stages of Addiction

There are four different stages of drug addiction. These include 

  • Experimentation
  • Regular use
  • High-risk abuse
  • Warning signs of Relapse



The very first step, where people only take a drug to experiment with its effects when they are influenced by peer pressure. 


Regular Use

This is the next stage where abusing a substance becomes regular. At this stage, the person still thinks that he can leave the drug, whenever he wants to do so. They only do it to feel good and relieve some tension.


High-risk Abuse

The next stage is high-risk use. This is where things start to get out of hand. This stage finally leads to drug addiction. Which is a condition that cannot be reversed easily. At this point, a person is considered an addict who can not go by a day without taking an addictive substance. 


Warning Signs of Relapse

There may occur many warning signs indicating that the concerned person is going to face relapse. If a person starts glamorizing his experience of drug addiction. In addition to this, he experiences a false sense of gaining control over his addiction. This disorder may result in some unexpected behavioral changes. The individual might become reclusive and steer clear of events and gatherings. He doesn’t want to partake in sober recreation, which can be an indication of his emotional maturity and nerves. A person may again want to hang around old people and places, related to his addictive behavior. A person may think about his past continuously to gain pleasure. 


However, in order to use coping mechanisms effectively, it’s crucial to recognize the early indicators of relapse.


  • holding back feelings
  • Isolation
  • not attending meetings
  • meeting attendance but lack of sharing
  • concentrating on other people’s issues rather than one’s own
  • improper eating practices
  • disruptions in sleep
  • unsound self-care
  • craving alcohol or drugs
  • Considering the individuals or locations connected to previous use
  • glorifying the previous usage
  • ignoring the effects of prior use
  • lying and haggling
  • Considering strategies to better manage using
  • searching for chances to relapse


How to Prevent Relapse?

Anyone who has ever used drugs or alcohol is familiar with relapse. It happens so frequently that it’s practically expected. The recovering abuser will almost certainly slip up occasionally. Even though this has been known for generations, it wasn’t until the 1970s that scientists and researchers started looking into the reasons why people relapse and how to help them avoid them. Relapses are typical and expected, and the struggle shouldn’t end with one episode. This is one of the most crucial things for a recovering substance abuser to comprehend. Still, preventing relapse should be a priority.


Relapse is an inevitable situation in many cases of recovery from drug addiction. It cannot be over-rolled completely from this process. But certain preventive measures can be taken to avoid relapse.


Self-care is a really important step to overcoming relapse. The most common post-acute withdrawal symptoms are insomnia and fatigue. This condition can be overcome by taking a balanced and healthy diet and taking exercise. A tiring physical activity may divert the attention of the person from symptoms of relapse. 


In addition to this, a tough physical exercise may help in overcoming insomnia and help the person take a sound sleep, hence avoiding a strong symptom of relapse. Deep breathing may help a lot in releasing stress. Breathing itself is the key to our life. We are alive as long as we are breathing. Deep breath therapy may release neurotransmitters in the person’s brain; many of these transmitters release feel-good chemicals that result in relaxation, happiness, and pain reduction. This may also help the body to exhale toxins by increasing the amount of oxygen in the body. Mindfulness meditation can be a helpful tool to avoid relapse. This process makes a person more self-aware. Individuals using mindfulness meditation remain clean and sober for longer and are less likely to fall prey to relapse.


Joining a support group may also help avoid relapse. It is a fact that a person only seeks help or support when he has thought himself to be in danger. Having a realization of being in a danger is a positive sign in the rehabilitation process, especially when it comes to relapses.


Identifying The Triggers Of A Relapse

Relapse Prevention Therapy’s success depends on its ability to identify these high-risk scenarios. Staying the course in recovery is quite beneficial, especially when combined with therapy and maybe the use of specific medicines to manage cravings. Even when relapse occurs, effective therapy typically reduces the severity and length of the abuse. 


One of the main factors contributing to substance addiction and relapse behavior is depression. In recent years, depression has gained acceptance as a medical condition having biological roots. There are currently some efficient therapies and medications available to help people with substance use disorders manage their depression and prevent relapsing into harmful habits.


It should be mentioned that maintaining a recovery-oriented course requires cooperation from many people. It’s a serious condition that calls for the knowledge and support of qualified experts.



We can conclude the above discussion as it is almost impossible to rule out the symptoms of relapse and withdrawal symptoms during the rehabilitation process of a drug abuser. But this can be avoided in many possible ways. Avoiding the symptoms of relapse will prove to be a very good step in the rehabilitation of a drug abuser. Relapses can occur unexpectedly and are typically triggered by triggers, which are any situation, person, or connection that leads an addict to rationalize using again. Triggers generally fall into one of three categories: emotional, environmental, or exposure. They vary from person to person since they are frequently based on previous habits or recollections.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].