What Percentage of Addicts Relapse After Rehab?
Understanding How Many Addicts Stay Clean and Why
In almost every context, the key to success is consistency. It’s the same with overcoming addiction. The completion of a drug rehab or alcohol rehab program is not the end of the recovery process. The next step is to maintain a sober lifestyle and work to prevent relapse by establishing an environment with minimal temptations and triggers, keeping your support system strong, and continuing to practice all the coping skills you learned in rehab.
Tips for Staying Clean
- Recognize and acknowledge cravings
- Make a resolution to avoid and exit tempting situations and environments without hesitation
- Occupy free time with positive and productive activity
- Maintain proper nutrition and regular meals
- Develop a consistent exercise routine
- Participate in volunteer service
- Continue with support group gatherings
What is Relapse?
Relapse is not just the act of returning to drug use or alcohol consumption. Rather, it is a gradual change in perspective, feelings, and behaviors that can actually mirror the stages of withdrawal.
In the end, an inability to manage these mental and behavioral changes can result in the final step of physical relapse, which is having a drink or using a drug.
Warning Signs of Relapse
- No longer seeing any value in the recovery program
- Mood swings towards any extreme emotion, whether positive or negative
- Elevated stress levels
- Denying feelings of anxiety and fear
- Reverting to old habits that were changed to help maintain sobriety
- Irrational and sudden defensiveness
- Loss of life structure: sleeping in, ignoring punctuality, neglecting personal hygiene, skipping meals
- Feelings of isolation, such as hopelessness and loneliness
- Disbelief that continued support or medical treatment is needed
What Percentage of Addicts Stay Clean?
Researched percentages of those who are able to stay clean after rehab varies from substance to substance and situation to situation. At least one experience of relapse is more common than an immediate life of absolute sobriety.
Sometimes relapse can occur within a week of completing a recovery program. Other times, the “slip” can happen after an entire year of being drug or alcohol-free. Regardless of the timeline, there’s still reason to remain hopeful about getting and staying clean again after a relapse. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or defeated, realize that relapse is an opportunity to reflect, reevaluate, and refocus.
Does Relapse Mean that Treatment Didn’t work?
Relapse does not mean that a treatment program was unsuccessful. It also doesn’t mean that the person who relapsed has failed.
Addiction is by definition a chronic relapsing disease. When a relapse occurs it simply means that the treatment plan needs to be reevaluated and changes need to be made. More times than not, the cause of a relapse is a gradual abandonment of the positive lifestyle changes that a person made at the initial completion of their treatment program. If a person reasons that they have the willpower to be in a tempting environment without using, or discontinues gathering with their support group, relapse becomes more probable.
By replacing “addiction” with any other chronic disease, it’s easy to understand that relapse is relatively natural and only a temporary setback. Sobriety is still very much possible.
Imagine someone who suffers from asthma. They may go a very long time with no signs of even being asthmatic, but then, because of a particular circumstance, they experience an asthma attack. This is not a cause for hopelessness, but the trigger has to be identified and corrected. And an inhaler is readily available in response to the attack. Likewise, by being aware of the warning signs of relapse, resources through the treatment program can be utilized to respond to the attack of stresses, triggers, and urges to use again.
What To Do if a Relapse Occurs
If a relapse occurs, the most important first step is to accept that the symptoms of relapse are indeed symptoms of relapse. It is very understandable that someone would not want to admit an onset of relapse symptoms after already making so much effort towards recovery.
Upon identifying the warning signs, no matter how subtle they may be, it is very important to immediately consult the support system or treatment program that has been guiding the recovery process.
Because the rehabilitation process can be daunting, denial that further assistance is needed is common. As a result, relapse symptoms are sometimes rationalized to have different causes such as job or family stress. This is a dangerous risk. By understanding that relapse is not the end, it can be handled effectively and the road to peace and recovery can continue.
Can Relapse be Prevented?
To aid in preventing relapse, someone can seek a sober living environment. Sober living environments provide structure and a controlled, substance-free living arrangement while allowing more freedoms than a true rehab facility. It protects the recovering patient from the temptations of the outside world while they are still acclimating to a sober lifestyle.
It’s been said that to “FAIL” is really the First Attempt in Learning. So, as many individuals are learning to be themselves again through their treatment program, relapse should not be a cause to give up, but rather a recognized part of the process towards a complete and successful recovery.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or experiencing the warning signs of a relapse, call Muse Addiction Treatment Center today at (800) 426-1818. Our staff is available 24/7 to answer all your questions and help you begin the process of getting your life back on track.