Posts Tagged drug addiction relapse
The whole point of undergoing drug addiction treatment is to escape the cycle of drug use and dependence. Hence, when the patient in question falls back into his old habits, the treatment can be considered a failure, and the chances are that the patient would grow more dependent on the drug than ever.
So how do we avoid relapses during the course of the drug addiction treatment? To do this, we must first remember that treatment is not a one-time thing. It is a continuous process that goes on for a certain length of time, depending on the length of the patient’s contact with the drug as well as the severity of the damage caused. We may be talking about weeks, months, and in some cases years.
A relapse can happen if the patient falls back into his drug habit, which must be avoided at all costs if a successful treatment is desired. Preventing this highly depends on proper and constant monitoring and testing of the patient, and in some cases direct intervention is required if he shows signs of being dangerously close to suffering a relapse.
Of course, relapses are more likely to happen when the patient has used drugs for a prolonged period of time. The longer they have taken drugs, the higher the possibility of them falling back to their old ways. Positive reinforcement during treatment plays a vital role, since this can encourage the patient’s active participation during treatment, which can increase the likelihood of being completely cured of drug addiction.
The success of treatment depends on the anticipation of relapses, and the intervening measures made during the process. These measures include proper and constant monitoring, direct intervention, and positive reinforcement during treatment. All of these measures are critical to ensure the patient’s independence from drug use.
Treatment for addiction is seen as an end to all problems. The society as well as the family expects the individual to behave like any other individual. They fail to realize that recovery brings with it very complex problems and that the recovering addict has to develop newer skills to deal with them. Transition from drug using to drug free life needs a lot of adjustment. The situation is complicated by the constant bombardment of alcohol or drug related situation against which he has to guard himself. Over and above is the threat of psychological craving that might creep in at any point of time and shake the recovery of the person. Thus a recovering person is always on the edge trying to balance himself, a small mistake will pull him down to zero again.
But relapse is preventable provided the recovering person as well as the significant people in his life is able to identify the relapse warning signs and take the necessary steps to cope with the situation. The changes take place at the following levels –
Changes in attitude
- No efforts/commitment towards sobriety.
- Becoming extremely pessimistic.
- Tunnel vision – looking at life in fragments and not as a whole.
- Open rejection of help.
Changes in thought
- Thoughts about substitute drugs.
- Denial and resistance to change.
- Thinks that he deserves drugs since he has been sober for quite some time.
Changes in feelings
- Increased moodiness and depression.
- Strong feelings of anger and resentment.
- Increased feelings of boredom and loneliness.
Changes in behavior
- Increased episodes of disagreement with people around.
- drug taking friends.
- support group meetings.
- Displaying visible signs of stress such as smoking more cigarettes.
- Talking repeatedly about pleasures associated with drug use.
Recently seen someone with these symptoms? Help them…..they need our support.
“Once an addict, always an addict,” is the universal belief among people. The statement, though heartbreaking, has some element of truth in it considering the high rate of relapse that occurs amongst chemical dependents. Addiction, like any other chronic disease (hypertension, diabetes, etc.) can be controlled but there is always a possibility of reverting back to the previous condition. Thus an understanding of the relapse dynamics is essential to control the chances of relapse.
Now what is relapse? The mere event of drug taking after a period of abstinence is often misunderstood as relapse. But the fact is relapse is a process in which the resumption of substance use is the last event. It is not the simple act of taking the drug but a progressive series of maladaptive responses which leads the person to taking drugs. It is important to remember:
- Relapse is a process and not an event. Thus relapse is an ongoing process that takes place stage by stage and can be interrupted or stopped at any point of time provided one becomes aware of the fact that the process has already set in.
- The process starts in the mind of the person. Relapse patterns are formed by the person’s attitude, values and thought processes which takes place at the mental level and he begins to relapse at his thought level.
- It is manifested through a progressive pattern of behavior. The changes in the thought process affect his attitude, values and behavior and ultimately he ends up using the chemical.
- Relapse is preventable. If the person is aware of the negative changes he can adopt measures that can prevent him from relapsing.
- Poor commitment to recovery, high risk situations and emotional states, interpersonal conflicts, social pressures, negative physical state and psychiatric impairment are some of the common factors that lead to relapse.
Whole recovery, though a challenge, is attainable provided the person is loyal to his recovery.