The disease of addiction is complex and insidious. People who struggle with addiction face consequences from their use. Also, addicts may experience obstacles in recovery. Sometimes these obstacles cause a relapse. When a person continually relapses, they become a chronic relapser: characteristics and warning signs develop that can be observed.
Additionally, despite the level of acceptance for addiction as a disease, stigma remains. For many people, the stigma associated with addiction prevents them from getting the help they need. However, those who get professional treatment are on the road towards a better future of recovery.
Once in recovery, not everyone experiences immediate success. Instead, it is rather common to experience challenges along the way. For some, those obstacles include chronic relapse.
What is a Chronic Relapser?
A relapse occurs when someone who has gotten sober (usually through professional treatment) uses again. Using once after being sober for a while is known as a lapse. A relapse is different, as it signifies continual use after being sober for some time.
Relapse is common and even normal for people in recovery. This is because addiction is a disease. It is a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain reward system, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. There is always the potential for a person to steer off course. In many cases, a lapse or a relapse can quickly be turned around and crisis can be averted. But when a person is a chronic relapser, maintaining sobriety is difficult.
A chronic relapser is someone who continually relapses after getting sober and maintaining that sobriety for some time. As mentioned before, relapse is a normal part of recovery. It is not a moral failing of any kind. But someone who is chronically relapsing is likely exhibiting behaviors that are inconsistent with a healthy recovery.
Unhealthy behaviours associated with chronic relapse:
- Not attending support group meetings
- Not eating well, sleeping enough, or taking time to exercise
- Avoiding social situations
- Inviting in boredom due to not participating in activities, hobbies, etc. that bring contentment
- Failing to follow post-treatment suggestions for care provided by addiction specialists
- Ignoring emotional, physical, and psychological needs
- Not utilizing a support system of friends, family, and/or others
Countless things can hinder one’s ability to maintain their sobriety, including the factors above. As someone continues to relapse time and time again, it often wears at their motivation to keep pushing forward. Like addiction, chronic relapse is a dangerous cycle that prevents long-term sobriety.
Dangers of Being a Chronic Relapser
Abusing mind-altering substances can be dangerous. All it takes is the one-time use of one or more substances to cost someone their life. Unfortunately, risks associated increase when you are a chronic relapser.
Arguably, the greatest risk a chronic relapser will face is the increased possibility of overdose. Once sober, the body begins to reset itself. It begins learning how to function again without substances. During this time, the tolerance that a person once had while actively-addicted decreases. As a person relapses again after being sober for some time, their body no longer possesses a tolerance. This can be a telltale sign of a chronic relapser: characteristics and warning signs that would present an actual danger. And, it is unlikely that a person will relapse and only use a small amount of drugs or alcohol. Instead, they will probably return to their former amount. Consequently, an overdose is possible because the body does not have a tolerance built.
Chronic relapsers endure daily struggles. Holding a job is difficult for someone who struggles to stay sober. It is challenging to maintain finances and a clean legal record. Also, keeping up with relationships will become tough. The back-and-forth of recovery and relapse can negatively shape the rest of a person’s life.
Treatment and Prevention of Chronic Relapse
Treatment varies depending on the needs of the chronic relapser. Commonly, chronic relapsers go to an inpatient treatment program for their care. This is because it is the highest level of addiction treatment. Through inpatient treatment, patients receive the most intensive approach to care.
The goal of treating chronic relapse is to help patients build a solid foundation to maintain sobriety. Patients improve communication skills and develop effective emotional skills. Also, patients learn to prevent relapse. Patients are evaluated to determine which level of care they require. This allows for the appropriate interventions to make a lasting change in their recovery.
Get Professional Addiction Treatment Right Now
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and struggle to maintain your sobriety, call us right now. We can help you get the care you need to get sober and maintain long-term sobriety. You do not have to go through this alone.
Do not wait. Call us right now.