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Chronic Relapse

As challenging as overcoming addiction is, the battle of remaining sober and avoiding relapse after overcoming addiction can be even harder. Recovering individuals must always be proactive about their sobriety. Otherwise, relapsing is imminent. In fact, relapsing is so common, that many people end up doing it over and over again. When this happens, individuals suffer from chronic relapsing disease.

What is Chronic Relapsing Disease?

Chronic relapsing disease is a disorder that causes an individual to continuously relapse after receiving addiction treatment. Most people that continuously relapse after addiction treatment do so after attending a rehab program that is less than 90 days long. This is because people with severe addictions usually need at least 90 days of treatment for it to have a proper effect on them.

If a person suffers from chronic relapsing disease and thus has a tendency to relapse after rehab, it’s even more vital to attend long-term inpatient rehab programs. This allows the lessons learned in rehab can really be ingrained in those who are in treatment.

Chronic Relapse Statistics

According to organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Harvard University, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA), the overall relapse rate for substance use disorders is between 40%-60%. Furthermore, less than 20% of people that complete drug and alcohol treatment are clean for an entire year.

Once people stay clean from drugs for two years after addiction treatment, they’ll likely remain clean. This is evident in the fact that 60% of people that stay clean after two years remain clean. On the other hand, 60% of people also relapse during inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Some people relapse from certain substances more often than others. For example, 90% of alcoholics suffer from at least one alcoholic relapse within four years of recovery. All of this data and statistics just goes to show that maintaining sobriety is difficult and relapse is likely. Therefore, you should never feel ashamed of relapsing.

If you do relapse, simply go back to rehab, complete treatment, take the precautionary measures to avoid relapse, and move on. One precautionary measure that people can take to prevent relapse is to recognize the warning signs of chronic relapse ahead of time so that you can do what needs to be done to halt them.

Relapse Statistics

Warning Signs of Chronic Relapsing Disease

Just like with most things in life, there are warning signs that a person may start suffering from chronic relapsing disease. Some of these warning signs include:

Lack of Preparation to Return Back to The Real World After Treatment

One sign that a person is on the road to chronically relapsing is if he or she leaves rehab without taking the time to plan ahead of time about what he or she is going to do afterward. That’s why aftercare planning is so important at the end of a rehab program. If the rehab center that you’re attending addiction treatment at offers aftercare treatment and planning, take advantage of it. That way, prior to leaving rehab, you have a concrete plan about what measures you plan on taking once you leave rehab to ensure that you stay on the right path.

Failing to Ask Yourself the Right Questions

  • Do you plan on attending 12-step programs and/or therapy after rehab?
  • How often do you plan on attending such aftercare treatment programs?
  • What are some hobbies and coping mechanisms that you plan on utilizing in the real world to help you abstain from using substances?
  • How are you going to make sure that you stay away from negative influences once you get back in the real world?
  • Is your home environment suitable for a person that is sober to live in?

These are all questions that you need answers to prior to leaving rehab. If you don’t answer most of these questions prior to leaving rehab, you’re just setting yourself up to relapse over and over again.

Not Knowing Your Triggers or Coping Mechanisms

One thing that all rehab patients need to understand is what their individual triggers for addiction are and the coping mechanisms that best help them manage these triggers. Anyone who isn’t sure of his or her triggers and coping mechanisms prior to leaving rehab, isn’t prepared to maintain sobriety in the real world.

Lack of Direction in Life

A general lack of direction in life is also a clear sign that a person that is just leaving rehab may develop chronic relapsing disease. This is because a person that has no post-treatment goals or direction in life will likely fall back into old addiction habits.


Lack of a Desire to Remain Sober

To achieve sobriety, a person has to really want it. No matter how much time a person attends rehab, if he or she doesn’t at least want to achieve sobriety, then that person will almost always relapse.

This means that for rehab to work, the person receiving addiction treatment must desire to achieve and maintain sobriety. If a person doesn’t desire sobriety and was just forced to attend rehab, he or she will likely develop chronic relapsing disease.

Not Completing One’s Addiction Treatment Program

To get the most out of an addiction treatment program, a person must complete it. Thus, anyone that doesn’t even complete the addiction treatment program that he or she is in heightens the chances that he or she will relapse.

Socializing With People Who Abuse Substances Post-Treatment

Once you complete your addiction treatment program, you’ll need to make changes in your life to maintain sobriety. This includes cutting out people in your life that you used to use substances with. Socializing with substance users while you’re new to sobriety and trying to remain sober is a recipe for the development of chronic relapsing disease.

Poor Mental Health

Oftentimes, the reason that a person starts to abuse substances in the first place is to cope with mental illness. Thus, not keeping up with mental health is one of the most triggering things that anyone in addiction recovery can do.

Anyone with continuously poor mental health after receiving addiction treatment is on his or her way to chronic relapsing. To treat your mental health after attending addiction treatment, utilize your coping mechanisms and practice self-care. You can also continue to attend addiction therapy and various support groups.

Stages of Chronic Relapsing Disease

Drug and alcoholic relapse occur in three stages, emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. See what stage you’re in when it comes to chronic relapsing disease.

Emotional Relapse

The emotional relapse stage is the first stage of chronic relapsing disease. In this stage, individuals behave in ways that cause them to be more susceptible to relapse. Many people in the emotional relapse stage don’t realize that they’re in it. Therefore, it’s important to know the signs of emotional relapse.

Signs of emotional relapse include:

  • Isolating oneself
  • Bottling up emotions
  • Not attending or participating in support group meetings
  • Poor eating and sleeping habits
  • Poor self-care

Mental Relapse

The second stage of relapse is mental relapse. Mental relapse occurs when a person actively thinks about and desires to use substances again.

Signs of mental relapse include:

  • Lying
  • Bargaining
  • Planning for relapse
  • Drug and alcohol cravings
  • Looking for opportunities to relapse
  • Glamorizing times of past drug use
  • Minimizing negative effects of past drug use
  • Thinking fondly about past people you once used substances with or the places where you used drugs/alcohol

Physical Relapse

Physical relapse is the third and final stage of relapse. In this stage, people officially relapse and use substances again. Many people try to hide their physical relapse due to embarrassment.

Symptoms of Chronic Relapsing Disease

Whether it’s drug or alcoholic relapse, once a person develops the habit of chronically relapsing from a substance, that person will likely exhibit certain symptoms. Common symptoms of chronic relapsing disease include:

  • Dishonesty
  • Hopelessness
  • Emotional issues
  • Feeling low in energy
  • Associating sobriety with struggle
  •  Poor sleeping and eating habits
  • Craving substances
  • Use of substances again
  • Romanticizing drug use
  • Isolating oneself more
  • Not attending support groups
  • Doubting the effectiveness of recovery
  • No longer participating in certain hobbies
  • Refusing to face underlying issues behind addiction
  • Believing that you can use substances again without triggering addiction
  • Knowing an excessive amount of addiction treatment knowledge but not having the ability to apply that knowledge

Dangers of Chronic Relapsing Disease

Relapsing after being sober for a while can shock the body’s system. As a result, relapsing from certain substances can easily cause people to overdose and die. This is due to the fact that people who haven’t used substances for a while have lower tolerances for substances than before. Therefore, it now takes fewer drugs to get a person that was formerly addicted to a substance high or drunk.

How to Prevent Chronic Relapsing Disease

To prevent the development of chronic relapsing disease, you should first learn about your triggers. Once you understand your triggers, you can develop individual coping mechanisms to help you manage them. In fact, after coming up with your coping mechanisms, you should take it a step further and create a full-fledged chronic relapse prevention plan.

A chronic relapse prevention plan is an individualized, laid-out series of steps and measures that a person should take to help him or her remain sober. There are five steps to completing a chronic relapse prevention plan.

  1. Reflect on your past substance use and on what triggered your past substance use.
  2. List your triggers and write out plans for how to deal with them.
  3. Come up with a detailed step-by-step plan that says what to do if I were to ever relapse.
  4. Create an emergency contact list
  5. Create goals for yourself

Chronic Relapsing Disease Treatment

To treat yourself from chronic relapsing disease, you should attend medical detox followed by rehab at one of the many chronic relapse treatment centers. Chronic relapse treatment centers are rehab centers that specialize in inpatient, long-term treatment. Long-term treatment is addiction treatment that lasts longer than 90 days.

Once detox and rehab are over, it’s important to make a chronic relapse prevention plan and attend aftercare treatment. Some people may even need the added extra step of living in a transitional sober living home in-between completing addiction treatment and entering back into the real world. Whatever it takes to ensure that you’ll remain sober and not relapse is whatever you need to do.

Once you’re back in the real world after addiction treatment, make sure to make positive lifestyle changes and actively practice your coping mechanisms. Doing so is vital to maintaining sobriety long-term.

Receive Long-Term Treatment at One of the Top Chronic Relapse Treatment Centers, Phoenix Rising Recovery

Symptoms of Chronic Relapsing DiseaseAt Phoenix Rising Recovery, we understand that some people need longer forms of addiction treatment to achieve sobriety. That’s why we offer 90-day treatment programs. By offering high-quality, specialized, and individualized 90-day rehab programs, we here at Phoenix Rising Recovery have set us apart as one of the top chronic relapse treatment centers around.

During our short-term and long-term forms of addiction treatment here at Phoenix Rising Recovery, we also work hard to provide all of our patients with treatment and recovery options that will revitalize their minds and bodies. So, each patient who leaves our facility is best prepared to lead successful, sober lives.

Ultimately, our mission here at Phoenix Rising Recovery is to provide authentic, compassionate, and innovative care to adults that are struggling with substance use addictions and co-occurring disorders. To learn more about Phoenix Rising Recovery and the different rehab programs that we offer, contact us today. We would love nothing less than to help you finally achieve sobriety and improve your life! Let us help you continue your recovery journey.