2 MIN READ | Clinical Psychology

Understanding Drug Addiction Relapse: Signs and Prevention

Dennis Relojo-Howell

Cite This
Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2018, April 27). Understanding Drug Addiction Relapse: Signs and Prevention. Psychreg on Clinical Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/drug-addiction-relapse/
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Contrary to common stereotypes, drug rehabilitation is not a straightforward process. It is a journey which involves a series of ups and downs, with its own success and disappointments. And this journey includes relapse, whereby drug addiction resurfaces following remission or recovery.

According to one study, among individuals with substance abuse disorders who get treatment, 40% to 60% will relapse within one year.

Addiction is a chronic disease, which means that it never completely goes away. Fundamentally, relapse occurs when the person becomes exposed to triggers which initiate desires to engage in addictive behaviours. These triggers could be categorised into three: environmental, social, and emotional. 

Environmental triggers encompass person’s surroundings that increase their likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs. A person may have many environments (or domains) of influence such as the community, family school, and friends. Their risk of addiction can develop in any of these domains.

Social triggers involve social interaction that may urge the craving for drugs or alcohol. This can includes seeing your previous partners, a conversation with your friends and family, or stress at home and at work. 

During the early stage of recovery, it is common to experience joy, sadness, compassion, and empathy in new ways that can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. You may also likely experience many people, places, and feelings that have emotional links with drugs and alcohol and may trigger the urge to use.

In an ideal world, relapse should not happen. It is crucial that you stick with your aftercare since it is a vital role in preventing relapse. Cognisant of the importance of offering support during relapse, The Dawn Medical Rehab and Wellness Centre incorporates relapse prevention principles to teach addicts effective ways to remain sober by learning how to identify potential triggers, stay away from high-risk scenarios, and use a range of coping skills.

The Dawn Medical Rehab and Wellness Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that is run by experts in the medical field. They offer an online aftercare and relapse prevention programme that is designed to suit any client, regardless of their addiction or location. Their online programme provides both one-on-one and group sessions and uses a CBT-based approach to help clients avoid relapse.

It is important to recognise is that addiction recovery is a lifelong process and relapse is a sign that you need to reconsider the way you are dealing with it. If you’ve just experienced a relapse it’s probably far from easy to face what happened. In fact, you may even resort to blaming yourself – that somehow you should have been able to avoid those triggers. But that’s counterproductive and it’s unhelpful to blame yourself. Instead, start by recognising that you did slip and redouble your efforts to overcome your urges. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. What’s most important is your desire to surmount your relapse and go forward with your recovery journey. 

If you or someone you know is facing drug addiction or relapse, do not wait until it is too late. Contact The Dawn today to receive a no-obligation assessment and find out what help is available.


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He is also the editor-in-chief of Psychreg Journal Psychology, and writes a weekly column for Free Malaysia Today. 

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