Drug Relapse Definition

For anyone familiar with drug abuse and addiction, just the term “relapse” can be a scary one. It’s the biggest fear for addicts and their families, but what is the true drug relapse definition?

Below is an overview of what a relapse is, and what some of the warning signs are.

What is a Relapse? | Drug Relapse Definition
Drug addiction is classified as a chronic disease, and some of the symptoms of the disease include a lack of control over the use of substances and intense cravings for them. People who are characterized as having a drug addiction will continue using drugs even in the face of negative outcomes and consequences. Not every person who abuses drugs becomes addicted, however. Addiction can occur with alcohol, illegal drugs and even with prescription drugs, and it’s something that affects millions of people. Once someone seeks treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, they’re considered to be in the recovery phase. Since addiction is defined as a chronic disease, they’re not necessarily cured when they’re sober, but instead, they’re managing their disease and its symptoms. A relapse is something that occurs when a person who has gone through treatment and has been in recovery goes back to using, but it’s more complicated than this. Modern addiction science views relapse as not a single event where a person goes back to using, but instead, it’s defined as the setbacks along the road to recovery. So rather than seeing relapse as a failure, addiction professionals are starting to see that it’s a part of the process to recover from addiction. A relapse isn’t uncommon, and this is because of the ways drug abuse changes the brain of the user. It’s incredibly difficult for them to resist cravings for the substance or substances they’re addicted to, and people are at risk for a relapse for years following their treatment. In previous years, as there was still a lot of research being done on addiction, relapse was seen somewhat like going into remission with cancer. Now, however, there’s more of a push for it to be viewed as part of the process, as was touched on above, although it’s a part that addicts should try to avoid. When someone goes to treatment for drug addiction, their team will often prepare them for the risk of relapse, and they will try to highlight the signs that could indicate you’re moving toward that, but it remains incredibly frightening no matter how prepared an addict might be in theory. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that people who are recovering from addiction will often have at least one relapse.
While there’s constant research coming out on the topic, if you want to simplify the drug relapse definition, it means a time when an addict goes back to using drugs or alcohol following a period of being sober and abstaining from use. What’s unfortunate about a relapse is often that it then leads to a more severe spiral than what the addict experienced prior to being sober, because of the intense shame, guilt, and sense of failure that’s experienced. It’s so important for people to avoid these feelings if at all possible because this can prevent them from ever being able to go back to a successful period of recovery. When researching the drug relapse definition, people also often wonder what the differences are between a true relapse and a slip-up. A slip-up can occur one time following a period of sobriety, but in this case, it usually quickly is resolved, and the person goes back to sobriety. Having a slip-up can actually help an addict feel more resolute in their recovery. A relapse tends to be a bigger scenario, where it’s not just one drink or using drugs once. It tends to be a full-blown return to addiction. It’s so important not only for addicts to understand the drug relapse definition and the signs of an impending relapse, but also the people around them. Some of the signs of a relapse can include having intense cravings or starting to feel like you can casually use drugs or alcohol without going back into addiction. It’s also important that along with understanding what a relapse is and what the signs are, that loved ones of an addict now how to deal with the scenario if it does occur. Having a relapse when you’re an addict doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, and it doesn’t mean that recovery is out of the question for you. What it does mean, however, is that steps should be taken as soon as possible to mitigate the damage that can occur as the result of the relapse. This means that getting help as soon as possible is the only option to successfully overcome a relapse if it occurs.
Drug Relapse Definition
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