Chronic Relapse: Treatment Specialties
Though it might feel like defeat, relapse is often a part of the recovery process for addiction. When you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it’s understandable that there are times you may fall back into old patterns—but when it happens over and over again, it’s likely you haven’t found the right treatment program that suits your needs. It could also be that you haven’t dealt with underlying issues of your addiction, such as mental health issues (known as co-occurring disorders). You can reduce the likelihood and of relapse with treatment specialties designed to help you achieve lasting sobriety.
Why Chronic Relapse Happens
Addiction is a chronic disease, and like cancer or cardiovascular or other physical ailments, relapse is always a possibility. Chronic relapse means your sobriety has been compromised on numerous occasions, either within a short period of time or after a lengthy period of sobriety. What matters is that you have committed to sobriety before, and you can again with the right help.
There are many reasons for chronic relapse, and yours may be unique to your situation:
- Many addicts who are chronic relapsers also suffer from diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues, or co-occurring disorders. If you have untreated PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, personality disorders, or other mental health issues, you are at increased risk of chronic relapse.
- Grief, stress, co-dependency, and other factors that cause you to drink or take drugs can also influence relapse.
- If you are addicted to more than one substance, this additional challenge can sometimes lead to chronic relapse.
- Falling back into old patterns or behaviors, such as associating with people who are still using, greatly increases your chance of relapse.
- New challenges to your sobriety can cause you to relapse, for example, starting a relationship with a drinker when you are sober.
- Addiction is a chronic disease, meaning you must choose every day to continue on the path of recovery. Those addicts who aren’t attending 12-step peer support groups or engaging in other forms of therapy are more likely to face chronic relapse.
- Leaving treatment or rehab early, or not receiving the treatment specialty that is right for you can leave you open for chronic relapse.
Treatment Specialties for Chronic Relapse
The struggle to maintain your sobriety isn’t hopeless. If you or a family member continues to relapse, you may feel that you have failed, but it could be that the system has failed you. Perhaps you weren’t diagnosed properly for a mental illness, or you didn’t receive effective treatment for your addiction and a plan that you could follow.
Effective chronic relapse treatment is a specialized field. You need a customized plan of care that assesses your strengths and vulnerabilities and provides you with strategies to maintain sobriety. A comprehensive assessment of your physical, psychological, and cognitive functions can identify areas of concern. Do you know the root cause of your addiction? That’s something you need to discover in order to fully engage in the process of recovery.
When you are able to receive treatment for any co-occurring disorders, that’s also part of the battle won. From there, you can focus on an individualized plan of treatment. The plan may include medications that can assist you in staying sober. Controlling your cravings is crucial to your sobriety.
Addiction is a family disease. Co-dependency can also be a hindrance to your continued and sustained recovery. By bringing your family into your treatment plan and working on family or relationship dynamics that impact your recovery, you have a better chance at maintaining sobriety. An integrated approach to treatment could also include holistic therapies, such as yoga, meditation, massage, and acupuncture. Personal and group therapy sessions also inspire spiritual growth and development.
When you are armed with tools for emotional and spiritual growth and the knowledge and strategies for coping with your chronic relapse, you can heal.
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Maintaining Your Sobriety
The common saying among recovery communities, “one day at a time,” has merit. Each day you stay sober is a good day. Pay attention to what your mind and body are telling you. HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired) is a concept to remind you that when you feel these needs, you should be extra vigilant. Continuing your recovery journey through an Intensive Outpatient Program is one way to ensure that you have the support you need. Near home, find a peer support group where you can get to know other people facing similar challenges who are helping each other through each day of recovery. You are not alone. There is an entire team of people behind you who want you to succeed.