Triggers and Temptations: Exploring the Causes of Addict Relapse

March 3, 2024

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In 2022, 48.7 million Americans over the age of 12 had a substance use disorder (SUD), which is over 17% of the population. The reality is that it's easy to go from experimentation to casual use, then to dependence and addiction. And when that happens, it's a challenge to turn your life around.

If you or a loved one's beaten addiction, then you should be immensely proud. However, relapse is always a very real possibility, and it may have already happened.

Why do addicts relapse though? And what can you do to help? Read on to find out.

Why Do Addicts Relapse?

One of the main reasons why addicts relapse is neurobiological factors. Addiction is associated with changes in the brain's reward system and other neural circuits involved in decision-making and impulse control. These changes can make it difficult for addicts to resist cravings and make healthy choices, even after a period of abstinence.

Here are some other factors that play roles in addiction relapse.

Environmental Triggers

Certain people, places, or situations associated with drug or alcohol use can trigger cravings and lead to relapse. These triggers may include being around friends who still use drugs, visiting places where drug use occurred in the past, or experiencing stress or emotional turmoil.

Psychological Factors

Many people use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with negative emotions or to self-medicate underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. Without addressing these things through therapy or other forms of treatment, you may be more likely to relapse.

Overconfidence or Complacency

Sometimes, people in recovery may become overconfident in their ability to stay sober. They may start to neglect the behaviors and strategies that initially helped them maintain sobriety. As a result, this increases their risk of relapse.

What You Can Do to Help

First, you should understand that it's perfectly normal to relapse while in recovery. You shouldn't beat yourself up for it, as it'll only hinder your progress.

If you haven't already, then you should refer to professionals, such as those at an addiction recovery center for women. They'll have the experience and expertise to deal with addiction treatment, as well as recovery and relapse.

At a drug rehab center, you'll learn valuable tools to resist relapse in the future. In addition, you'll gain a fantastic support network from both the staff and other patients. Once you finish the program, you and your newfound friends can help each other stay sober.

Stay on a Sober and Healthy Path

So why do addicts relapse? On top of neurobiological factors, they may be in the wrong environment and don't have a good support system. Plus, they may be self-medicating to escape mental health issues.

While relapsing can certainly be a setback, it shouldn't be a death knell to sobriety. If you get into addiction recovery at a facility, then it's possible to stay on the right track. With the right tools and treatment, you can reduce the chance of relapse and stay sober for a better future.

Check out the rest of our blog for more on health.

 

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