Since we reported about Demi Lovato's heartbreaking song "Sober" on the Schnellenberger Family Foundation's website, news of the singer's subsequent overdose has been everywhere. News about relapse vis-a-vis addiction has been everywhere too. And while everyone concurs that relapse is a constant risk for the addict; they also concur that relapse doesn't mean an end to recovery.
Rare is the addict that fully succeeds in recovery the first time around. Yes, it happens. In fact, we at Recovery Boot Camp are proud to say it happens here with better than average frequency. Nevertheless the risks of relapse are real and ever present, regardless of how many times an addict has entered recovery.
Or how long they've had clean time. Demi Lovato had six years of sobriety before she fell off the wagon. And unfortunately, her story isn't the rare exception. It's the rule.
Well, largely the rule anyway. Some reports claim there's an 85% chance of relapse one year after ending abuse of opioids. While alcohol relapse can vary from 30%-70% depending on the individual, and whether or not an individual is in treatment. The relapse rates for cocaine and benzos are equally high.
Naturally, risk factors for relapse vary from person to person. Ultimately, it’s the need to stimulate the brain's dopamine reward centers that can trigger a person who is used to taking a specific drug. But relapses are typically triggered by a combination of external and internal factors.
Internal risk factors include genetic predisposition, escalating stress, and psychiatric conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. External risk factors include heartbreak, job difficulties, health problems, and complicated family relationships.
Co-existent mental illness can also significantly elevate the risk of addiction relapse if not addressed and treated, says Dr. Robert Glatter, of New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital. "In fact, close to 50% of people with bipolar disorder having a co-existent drug or alcohol addiction."
A 2014 SAMHSA report revealed that 7.9 million Americans concurrently experience both a mental disorder and substance abuse disorder. The condition is known as dual diagnosis. Unfortunately, the report also reveals that nearly 56% of the dually diagnosed don’t receive treatment for either condition, and just a little over 7% get treatment for both disorders.
Addiction is a chronic problem. So it's vital for an addict to stay among sober support groups, whether in or out of treatment. This way when life becomes difficult and temptations arise, you'll be equipped with the support, tools and coping strategies that help prevent a relapse.
Any temptation to drink or use drugs again could likely be a sign that that a person needs to return to treatment. At the very least, it's a sign to seek out sober support and perhaps even recovery therapy. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs address the negative emotions and specific triggers that can lead to a relapse. So does sober support and therapy. Taking concrete and constructive action is a key way to reduce the risk of relapse.
The Recovery Boot Camp Way
Recovery Boot Camp aims to prevent relapse in every possible way. Our Basic Training program provides the tools, our fellowship provides the strength, and our adherence to A.A. provides the guidelines necessary to succeed in long-term sobriety. We recognize and treat dual-diagnosis. And we offer a safe and secure place to be away from the triggers and temptations that drive addiction and risk relapse. Furthermore, we offer post-treatment support at our adjacent Healing Properties. And we've found that those who continue with aftercare find the support needed to prevent relapsing.
Whether it's your first time in treatment or your tenth, you must remember: relapse doesn't have to mean an end to recovery.