Addiction is a chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, or asthma. Addiction treatment aims to stop alcohol abuse completely without relapsing, but this is not always the case. Some people who go through addiction treatment may revert to their old ways. In fact, alcohol relapse is not uncommon among those battling with the disease of alcohol use disorder.
Addiction is looked at as a chronic relapsing disease. Approximately 40-60% of people who receive treatment for addiction tend to relapse. he key here is to recognize the early signs of relapse and seek treatment immediately.
If you suspect that you or a family member are about to relapse, there are many options to address this in Colorado to maintain your sobriety. Finding what works for you is extremely important. Contact AspenRidge recovery center today. Our Colorado alcohol rehab program can be reached at 855-281-5588.
What Is Happening To Your Brain After Addiction Treatment?
Each day you maintain your sobriety, you are beating a very powerful enemy – Your brain! This is because addiction rewires the brain. A healthy brain releases chemicals that pleasure you when you do something worth rewarding, such as meeting with friends or exercising.
Using alcohol produces the same chemicals, and when you become addicted, the brain demands more and more of the alcohol to get the same feeling. You will find that a person with an addiction is always in a terrible mood before they take alcohol, and when they do take a drink, they are happy again. This is what makes it hard to stay clean.
Brain scans actually show that the changes in your brain after serious addiction can make it impossible to make good decisions and control yourself. These problems get worse in teenagers, as their brains are still developing.
So, What Is Relapse?
Relapse is when you stop maintaining your goal of abstaining from alcohol and actually return to your previous or worse level of alcohol use.
Why Does It Happen?
Relapse happens because your brain makes it hard for you to stay clean. It starts off very slow by justifying a little bit of alcohol to be okay at a time. You may give yourself the following reasons:
- Just one last time, before I fully commit to treatment
- My home and job life are very stressful; I need to release some steam
- I live in emotional and physical pain; I need to get rid of the pain
- The people around me are taking alcohol; why not me?
Relapse is not sudden, and you may notice the early cues if you carefully watch out for them. Some of them include;
- A sudden change in thinking and attitude about alcohol, such as losing the desire to recover
- Falling back into the previous behaviors that caused you to indulge in alcohol intake, such as being angry all the time
- Skipping your support group meetings such as AA
- Reconnecting with old friends you used to drink with
What Triggers Relapse?
Alcohol relapse is common, but are there ways to prevent it. More addiction specialists and health practitioners are working to understand causes of relapse and prevention plans for alcohol relapse. Learn more about alcohol relapse prevention. Several factors can trigger a severe relapse episode, such as:
This is a top relapse cause, and most people struggling with an addiction will turn back to alcohol use as a maladaptive way of coping with stress. Research actually indicates that there is usually an increased ‘need’ for alcohol when one is going through a highly stressful situation, especially if alcohol was their primary form of coping mechanism.
For example, if you are in a financial situation or toxic relationship that’s stressing you out, the chances of relapse are extremely high.
How Do You Overcome This?
Eliminating the cause of stress would be the best option. Of course, with life, this is not always possible. Learn how to deal with stress without alcohol.
So, trying to make some lifestyle changes, priorities and relationships can help reduce the stressful situation in your life. When you do this, you can eliminate the likelihood of stress triggering a relapse.
It may be hard to change your financial situation as quickly as you would like, but changing a stressful relationship can be done. Remembering the reasons why you started your sobriety journey could also be a strong incentive not to relapse. Other options include:
- Engaging in relaxation training and practicing mindfulness
- Managing your time more efficiently and avoiding situations that will cause you to enter into a ‘panic mode.’
- Trying to change your diet and incorporate ‘healthy eating.’
- Finding healthier ways of dealing with stress
- Consulting with a therapist to help you through the stressful situation
You are probably exposed to plenty of celebratory times, either at family meetings or at work. There could be holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Any of these could trigger a relapse.
How Do You Overcome Alcohol Addiction & Relapse?
There are numerous factors that may trigger alcohol relapse. Working on a relapse prevention plan can help you better understand your own personal journey to sobriety and other underlying mental health triggers that may prevent long-term recovery. For example, it may be prudent for you to limit the number of events you attend where alcohol is served and at family gatherings, let everyone know you are a recovering addict.
People with an addiction tend to lose their ability to know when to stop. Taking just one drink at a birthday celebration could change into a binge drinking session that can end very badly for you.
Having someone that can check you and let you know when you are about to relapse, sort of like a sponsor, can really help.
Do not go to events alone that have alcohol. This could cause a high risk of relapse. You may be surprised at how quickly your resolve disappears when everyone is drinking.
Finally, ensure you have a counselor on standby when you feel that your desire to stay sober is diminishing.
How Can AspenRidge Help With Alcohol Relapse?
At the AspenRidge Recovery Center, we are Colorado’s leading treatment center for alcohol abuse disorder. We understand how hard it can be to stay sober and have designed several programs to help you stick to your sobriety schedule. We help you through therapy and group sessions.
Most treatment options, whether inpatient or outpatient, work to address addiction from several different angles, including rehabilitation, therapy, and occasionally Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as overseen by your healthcare provider.
We also deal with dual diagnosis and help individuals with addiction achieve sobriety and go on to live sober lives. We provide lasting solutions and outpatient care programs to individuals and their families suffering from these conditions. Call us today at 855-281-5588. We are here to provide compassionate assistance 24/7.