While everyone would wish that drug rehab always results in a totally changed lifestyle with no future use of the offending drug, this is sadly not always the case. In fact, statistics from the National Institute of Drug Abuse show that 40 to 60 percent of people who have stopped taking an addictive drug eventually relapse. For some drugs, such as opioid painkillers, the numbers can be even higher. Those who find themselves relapsing must know what steps to take in order to once again gain mastery over the addiction.
- First, it is vital to understand what a relapse truly is. It is not a one-time event after which the person feels remorse for returning to the drug. Instead, relapse is a continued mindset and actions that return the person to the drug. While relapse may start with a single slip that multiplies into a return to a lifestyle of addiction, a single slip can be dealt with in a forgiving manner.
- Second, even if an individual does experience a relapse, this does not spell the end of the journey. Treatment can once more be started, and another recovery can be attained. In fact, it may be easier for some people to think of this type of relapse in much the same way as they would a relapse into a chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease. Thanks to improvements in medical care and medications as well as the improved accessibility to drug rehab programs, those who have experienced relapse can seek care at a variety of programs throughout the United States.
At First Step Recovery Center, Dr. Matney uses a rehab program that addresses all aspects of patient care. This can decrease the incidence of relapse down the road and can provide a solid foundation to which one can return should relapse occur. Depending on the circumstances, Dr. Matney may recommend starting the program again, or he may recommend picking up the program in an area that would most benefit the individual. In addition, Dr. Matney stresses the importance of a strong network of support from family and friends that individuals can turn to should they find themselves in a weak moment.
Because drug addiction can actually alter the brain, ongoing treatment is a necessity. Should relapse occur, the patient should seek continued medical care that will address his or her unique needs.