5 Reasons People Relapse


The National Institute on Drug Abuse tells recovering addicts that relapse is not only possible, but likely, and drug and alcohol counselors view relapse as almost inevitable. Those in recovery become susceptible to a relapse when they confuse abstinence with recovery. Abstinence is necessary, but not sufficient. To be forever recovered requires a change toward a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Yet even people that understand this, and are taking the right steps, can find themselves vulnerable to some of the most potent relapse triggers.

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Five Common Reasons People Relapse


It is not uncommon for someone with addiction to experience relapse at some point during the recovery process. Some may relapse more than once while going through treatment in an inpatient rehab without any understanding for this lack of control. You may suddenly feel you have no willpower to succeed and are no longer motivated. Gaining an insight to why relapse occurs is the first step in avoiding these steps backward.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is not just a bad habit but a behavior that continues despite the dangers and negative impact it has on your life. It can be the continual use of illegal and prescription drugs and alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, gambling and other activities. The typical signs of addiction include the four Cs such as the craving for the substance, compulsive use and behavior, lack of control and continued use regardless of the consequences.

Inpatient Treatment Options

An inpatient rehab treatment program provides you with all the tools necessary for addiction recovery. The highly-qualified staff is there to support you on your journey to a substance-free life. The length of stay at a treatment center varies with each individual and the severity of detoxification needed along with your ability and willingness to achieve lifelong recovery and success. It can be a difficult process despite all efforts and commitment to change your life for the better. You may find yourself facing relapse, and there are some common components that can lead to a decline on your road to recovery.

Relapse is Not a Sign of Failure

Do not despair because you have had a set-back while trying to heal from addiction. These are some of the top five common reasons for relapse:

  • Stress is one of the number one causes for relapse. You may feel as though you just can’t cope with all the treatments and changes necessary to heal. Because your self-esteem and lack of self-worth led you down this road, you are quicker to feel stressed and hopeless. Working in therapy, you not only learn how special you are but also how to cope with life around you through some coping techniques that will improve your overall wellness and thought process.
  • Continuing communication with friends and family that were connected to your addictive behavior can cause you to be weak during recovery, leading to relapse. It is advisable that while you are trying to heal and stay clean from your addiction, you should avoid others that continue to abuse any substance. That may apply even after you go through a complete treatment program because going back to old, addictive relationships will test your willpower to the extreme. It is best to find new supportive friends and family that will help you rather than cause relapse.
  • Negative feelings are normal but if you do not have the strength and courage to succumb to these emotions, you may find yourself going backwards in your recovery. Your rehab will help you to learn how to make sense of these deep challenging feelings while giving you the tools to tolerate and manage them rather than fall back into your old addictive habits. Additionally, it can also be positive times of celebration that can cause a setback and relapse; others are drinking and smoking so do you resist or have relapse and give in to the old addictive habits.
  • Sometimes just giving thought or reminders to your addictive behavior can be a huge trigger to relapse. You will be faced with these types of triggers everywhere but if you commit yourself to your therapy, you can learn to develop skills to manage the urges and cravings. Such skills will take time to happen, which is why it is necessary to surround yourself with people who know and love you and will do anything to see you succeed.
  • Just being lazy and bored can leave you feeling hopeless and restless during and after recovery. You may have been used to the old party life while going through your addictions, but you are now trying to learn a new way of life. The pace may not be as you hoped, making you feel the boredom. You also get lazy and give up on yourself. While going through inpatient rehab, you learn other ways to utilize your time such as working on your self-esteem, engaging in hobbies, fitness and other avenues of positive activities.

In order to avoid relapse while recovering from addiction, you need to surround yourself with positive, loving, supportive relationships. Counselors will help you learn how to avoid obstacles that lead to relapse. It will take a lot of willpower and determination on your part, but always know that support and guidance is always just a phone call away during and once you are fully recovered.