The Nature of Addiction and Relapse

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. 

Addiction Treatment with Chronic Relapsers in Mind

At Divine Detox we pride ourselves on being a source for recovery that accommodates (and excels) in addiction treatment for those with a history of relapse, and can help even the most difficult clients to lasting recovery. Our new, luxury level accomodations and facilities throughout, help encourage immersion into all of our programs, and for each client that enters our care, we craft a customized plan of treatment.

Our expert clinical team takes into account not only detox for the physical relapse, but what might have cause the mental relapse prior to actual drinking or drug use. Those who have experienced substance abuse themselves and undergone the recovery process are often the best counselors, and many of our talented staff have been through struggles that let them better help you chart a way out the cycle of relapse.

Types of Relapse and General Relapse Prevention Measures

From the moment of mental relapse or emotional relapse, to the culmination of physical relapse, it is generally acknowledged by addiction professionals that the path to relapse is quite often a predictable one. Attendence at peer support meetings slips and then respected mentors fall by the wayside, as someone distances themselves from those who might discourage a relapse long before it happens.

It might be the consistent fantasies of using drugs or alcohol again that are finally succumbed to in relapse, and the romanticization of the substance use, painting otherwise grim memories in the best possible light. The path to relapse is often something anticipated by those who done so repeatedly, so the physical relapse at the end of their planning is almost an afterthought.

Because of the cyclical nature of substance abuse and relapse, it can make sense to try and ‘play the drink or drug forward’ and anticipate what will ultimately occur because of drinking or using again. The relished taste of a substance of choice can turn a lot more sour if a person thinks of their loved ones, the crushing disappointment, and the hangover (not to mention empty pockets) that will ultimately accompany succumbing to the urge.

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 at Divine Detox

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.

At Divine Detox we provide a luxury level rehab and detox facility with experience treating even the most difficult, chronic cases of relapse and entrenched drinking or drug use. Contact our dedicated Admissions team to discuss getting help for yourself or your loved one, and we will begin crafting a unique plan for your recovery today.

Do not wait. Call us right now.

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