Many of those recovering from addiction usually return to the use of a substance at least once during the period of recovery. Studies suggest the drug relapse is common and starts weeks or months before the event of physical relapse. The problem centers on emotions or mental health and may show signs of post-acute withdrawal. At this stage, the pull of addiction feels intense, making it hard for the person to make the right decision.
The Brain on Drugs
Those who use frequently are probably satisfied with the euphoric feeling they bring. Drugs promote a large release of dopamine in the brain, a chemical that the brain naturally produces when engaged in a pleasurable activity. Renaissance Ranch Outpatient note that the amount of dopamine from drugs, however, is far more intense and may eventually destroy dopamine receptors in the brain.
Addiction changes the brain chemistry, causing the person to deal with strong cravings, diminished control, and drug-related memories. This brain alteration is also the reason patients relapse or experience a moderate slip even after years of abstinence from drugs. Addiction relapse, however, should not be seen as a failure, as it is part of the recovery process.
Research shows that the greatest percentage of relapse occur in the first 90 days of recovery. This is because of the brain rewiring caused by drug abuse. It will take some time to repair or overcome this rewiring and cravings are likely to get worse before they get better. Sticking into recovery, however, can help patients recognize new triggers and avoid them.
Those who don’t know how to deal with stress and negative feelings are more likely to use drugs again. This is why a professional guidance is advisable for long-term recovery success. Help from doctors and counselors are beneficial in lowering the likelihood of relapse. Symptoms of relapse will also diminish over time through proper treatment and increase the odds of long-term abstinence.
The path to recovery can be difficult, but this doesn’t mean that long-term sobriety is impossible. The good news is, there are plenty of abuse treatment centers that can help patients with drug recovery.