Drug rehab is the process that is designed to help you overcome the emotional and psychological issues related to your addiction. It typically takes place in an outpatient or inpatient clinic and has a high success rate for those who are fully committed to the programme and who have a real desire to change their lives. But not everyone is successful at overcoming their addiction to drugs the first time around. Some may repeatedly try to get better with rehab without success. Why is this? Moreover, what happens when drug rehab fails?
Why Do Some People Relapse?
Drug addiction is a complex illness and overcoming it is tough. While most people who complete a detox and rehabilitation programme will manage to regain control of their life and go on to be productive members of their communities, others do not manage to get things back on an even keel. Some people will repeatedly return to drug use after rehab, and no matter how much they want to stop using, they are unable to resist.
It is important to remember that drug addiction, like any other addiction, cannot be cured. When it develops it can be treated and managed, but it will always be there under the surface, waiting to return if you drop your guard or become complacent.
You should also be aware that while there are many individuals who never touch drugs again after rehab, plenty of others do have a relapse at some point. It is worth remembering, however, that one small slip-up does not have to mean a full return to drug use. In some people, this is exactly what happens though.
Could Drug Rehab Fail?
It is hard for those with no direct experience of addiction to understand why anyone who manages to get clean with a programme of rehabilitation would risk it all to take drugs again. They fail to realise that the pull of drugs can be so strong that some individuals are simply powerless to resist.
The brain of addicts can be physically altered by chronic drug use, and it is thought that brain chemistry plays a key role in why some people relapse. Most of those who do relapse will do so within the first year of their recovery journey. It is during this time that they are most vulnerable to the risk; unfortunately, many who do relapse at this stage suffer fatal consequences because of it.
The reason is that these individuals are still of the opinion that they can take the same amount of drugs that they were using before their rehab programme. They do not realise that their tolerance for the drug decreases dramatically after undergoing detox and rehab. But although the first year is a risky time, even those who have been clean and sober for many years are at risk of relapse, and this is usually due to the way their brain has been altered.
When drug rehab fails, it may be because it has not addressed the root of the problem, or the recovering addict’s brain has not been fully rewired around recovery. Since addiction is not a curable illness, it is very important that those in recovery are aware of the need to stay vigilant to the threat of a relapse at all times. It is not enough to quit drugs and then go back to your old ways; you will have to work hard on sobriety for the rest of your life.
What Causes Relapse?
It is easy to become complacent when you have been in recovery for a while. In the early days, you may have been fearful that you were going to suffer a relapse, but as time passed, those fears might have become less intense.
But you should remember that the risk of relapse will never completely go away, even if it does diminish with time. Many different life events can send you hurtling back down the path of addiction if the conditions are right.
It is vital, therefore, that you are aware of what can cause a relapse. For example, you may have already heard of HALT during your rehabilitation; HALT stands for Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tiredness. These are four things that can trigger a relapse, so you need to make sure you do all you can to avoid them.
Boredom, unrealistic expectations, complacency, and major life events can also work as triggers for a relapse, so it is crucial to remain alert. Furthermore, while you might think that negative life events would be the biggest danger, you could also find yourself back on the path to addiction after experiencing a positive life event.
What Can You Do When Drug Rehab Fails?
When drug rehab fails and you find yourself on the road to addiction again, it is essential that you act fast. A relapse never just happens; there are several warning signs and signals that one is imminent. If you have chosen to ignore these, then you may find yourself in a precarious position where you believe it would be okay to use drugs again.
You may have even convinced yourself that because your recovery was going so well, you actually never had an addiction in the first place. If you believe that you are close to using drugs again, it is vital that you act.
The first thing you should do is talk to someone. It could be your counsellor, or it could be a family member or friend. You might also get yourself to your nearest fellowship meeting or join an online one.
Think about the techniques that you learned while you in rehab. It could be meditation, relaxation or just staying busy. Get out and about and remove yourself from the temptation. Try to remind yourself why you wanted to get sober in the first place.
What if You Return to Drug Use?
Obviously, it would be better to avoid a return to drug use, but if you do have a slip-up, you do not have to compound your mistake. What you do have to do is get some help – and fast. By taking fast action, you can use your slip-up to help your recovery. You can learn from it and use it to help ensure that you do not find yourself in a similar position again.
How you act now could mould your future. You have the choice of getting immediate help or returning to full drug use and putting your health and life at risk. Think carefully before you use more drugs. Just because you have had one slip-up does not mean you have to have another. The ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ adage need not apply. Do not think that having more drugs will not make any difference now that you have already had a slip-up; the reality is that it could make a huge difference to your current situation. Having more drugs can end up being the difference between you being sober in a year’s time or being dead.
Getting Help if You Have a Relapse
Just because you have had a relapse does not mean that you cannot get sober and stay that way. Treatment for drug addiction is complex and providers do not always get it right the first time around.
With so many different treatments available, it sometimes takes a bit of trial and error before the right programme is created. That is why here at Sanctuary Lodge we use bespoke treatment plans when treating those with drug addictions. We are aware that everyone is different and so the way in which they are treated should also be different.
With bespoke plans, our counsellors and therapists can choose the therapies that they believe will work best for you. The great thing about these plans is that they are flexible and can easily be changed if required.
Please call us here at Sanctuary Lodge to find out more about overcoming a drug addiction. If you have found yourself in the position where you are in danger of having a relapse, or if you have already succumbed to your craving for drugs, please call us right now. We can help you get your life back on track.