Coping With Chronic Relapse

By The Valor Team
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 9:51 am in
alcoholic with friend in park

No doubt, getting clean and sober is the hardest, yet best thing, those in recovery have ever done. Unfortunately, many people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol find it very difficult to stay sober, and it is not uncommon for many to have relapses.

It may take repeated efforts to achieve long-lasting sobriety. Even though some people may be able to stay sober for longer periods of time after each round of treatment, they may eventually end up drinking or using again. This pattern is called chronic relapse. The person really wants to become sober and may have completed addiction treatment multiple times. They have a lot of knowledge about their disease and the tools of recovery, but still struggle to stay in recovery.

Unfortunately, when relapse occurs many may deem treatment a failure, but this is not the case. Successful treatment for addiction typically requires continual evaluation and modification, similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases.

For example, when a patient is receiving active treatment for hypertension and symptoms decrease, treatment is deemed successful, even though symptoms may recur when treatment is discontinued. For the addicted individual, lapses to drug abuse do not indicate failure. Rather, they signify that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed.

There are many reasons why relapses occur. Every person is different and has a different set of life circumstances that may affect their ability to maintain sobriety.

Here are some of the common reasons for chronic relapse.

•    The person did not change their social environment after treatment. It is vitally important to identify the people and places that can trigger a relapse and to stay far away from them.
•    There may be underlying psychological or psychiatric issues that were not discovered or resolved while in treatment. Treatment for these issues is important for lasting recovery, and may require long-term care and monitoring.
•    Often a person has not spent a long enough time in treatment. It takes considerable time to overcome the physical and psychological damage caused by drug and alcohol addiction. 
•    Stress is a big factor for most recovering addicts. Stress could be triggered by everyday family or work situations, or it could be caused by major life changes like marriage, divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of income, or other major life-changing stressors.

People who have had multiple relapses often feel hopeless about finding long-lasting sobriety. They are likely to have tried several recovery options including detox, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, psychiatric care, sober living housing, support groups, and 12-step programs. 

While the statistics for chronic relapsers is not favorable, there is hope for sustained recovery. It has to be recognized that the person is resistant to treatment and options that challenge that resistance must be employed. 

Contact us to discuss available treatment options for your unique situation. Recovery is possible. We’re here to help you achieve long-term sobriety.

Call us today at 330-330-8777.