Multiple Relapse Definitions

Depending on who is asked to define the term “relapse,” they might do it differently. A doctor, someone who faces addiction, a family member of an addict, and someone who’s never crossed paths with addictions may all have different ways to describe it.

Simply put: a relapse occurs when someone with a past addiction picks up their behavior again after a clean period, otherwise known as abstinence. However, there are different perspectives regarding when a relapse actually begins.

Some believe a relapse occurs the second someone breaks their abstinence.

But would you consider your diet completely shattered if you had a cookie at a party one night? That’s why others define a relapse as a person going back to their pretreatment drug using pattern. This definition is more widely spread, since individuals can usually still keep their control after slipping up or lapsing once; they lose their control, however, once they relapse and slide back into old behaviors. A full relapse could even cause someone to abandon their goal of sobriety altogether.


Recovering From Drug Abuse

If someone is trying to recover from a drug or alcohol addiction, it’s necessary for them to get professional treatment at an inpatient or outpatient facility. Recovering addicts are also encouraged to attend therapy and support groups regularly since they’re likely to be triggered or tempted in a variety of ways after quitting.

The two keys to achieving sobriety in the real world are establishing boundaries and developing healthy coping mechanisms. When people who are trying to overcome drug addiction are not able to complete these steps, they may end up relapsing.


Relapsing After Treatment

Some people are afraid to relapse because they think it means that hope is lost. But in reality, relapse is very common in the journey to sobriety. In fact, it’s sometimes considered one of the seven stages to fully recovering.

It’s important for people to realize that relapsing is completely natural. If someone thinks they’re a failure who can never recover after slipping up once at a party, they will likely believe they’re hopefully and fall into their old patterns. They have to acknowledge the mistake not as a failure, but instead as a quick lapse in judgement and slight inability to stick with their coping strategies.

Though it’s difficult, people can come back from a relapse and get back on the road to recovery.


How to Help Someone Who Relapses

If you know someone who’s suffered from drug addiction and is at risk of a relapse, make sure you know the best steps to take in order to handle the situation properly & set your loved one up for success. Here are a few tips that can assist you in helping someone who relapses:

  • Try not to be scared or fearful for them; acknowledge their fear
  • Encourage them to reach out to other members of their support system
  • Remind them what they learned in treatment
  • Inspire them to learn more about their triggers
  • Help them adopt new coping strategies
  • Tell them you’re proud of their progress
  • Remind them that hope isn’t lost
  • Ask how else you can help


Treating Drug Abuse for Good

While a strong support system is very vital to achieving recovery, medical assistance is just as necessary. People who relapse should enroll back into treatment immediately, specifically a center with a treatment program that promotes relapse prevention.

Overall, while recovering addicts should try their best not to relapse, there is still a chance for solid recovery and a happy & healthy life after relapsing. To learn more about the meaning of a relapse and addiction recovery, call us at 866-488-8349.