How Often Do People Return to Rehab after Relapse?

How Often Do People Return to Rehab after Relapse?One of the fears many recovering Xanax addicts experience is the very real possibility of relapse or a return to drug usage. It is important to distinguish a lapse and a relapse. According to an article from Psych Central, a lapse is a one-time return to addictive behavior while a relapse is a return to an addictive lifestyle. A lapse is an event while a relapse is a process by which a person becomes unable to cope with life without drugs.

Relapse should be understood in light of the nature of addiction. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addiction is a chronic disease not just a matter of choice. It is chronic because it is an ongoing problem that needs constant monitoring. It is a disease because drugs alter the brain’s chemistry, creating a biological dysfunction needing treatment. This is not an excuse for poor choices but rather helps a recovering addict understand Xanax addiction and relapse.

According to a 2008 report issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for recovering addicts are similar to other chronic diseases. It reports that 40 to 60 percent of recovering addicts experience at least one relapse during their lifetimes. Those suffer from diabetes experience relapse between 30 to 50 percent of the time, and those with hypertension and asthma report relapses 50 to 70 percent of the time. Just like chronic diseases, relapses are triggers for making lifestyle adjustments and other changes.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in 2002 that more than 45 percent of admissions to drug treatment were readmissions of people who had been in rehab previously, from one to four times. Another 13 percent had been in treatment five or more times prior to the current treatment. Relapsing repetitively is one cue that a person needs to reenter treatment. Repeated relapse may also signal another problem such as unaddressed trauma (PTSD, abuse, neglect, etc.) or an unhealthy living environment. Although going through rehab again may feel like a humbling and embarrassing experience, it is not a sign of weakness. It takes strength and courage to ask for help again.

Why Relapse Occurs

The reasons for relapse will vary from person to person, but the pattern is similar among most people. Again relapse is a process, but it is often marked by increased distress in an area of a person’s life in which he or she cannot cope with the physical, emotional, or social stressors. During the slide into relapse, there are opportunities to use new ways of thinking and acting to reverse the process and resist temptation, but these new behaviors are ignored because returning to drugs seems easier than staying clean. Rather than recognizing and responding to the warning signs of relapse when they first appear, many recovering Xanax addicts ignore them, justify them, or think they are strong enough to resist the urges on their own. Warning signs that indicate of an impending relapse include the following:

  • Romanticizing the good ole’ days of substance abuse
  • Thinking that returning to drugs just one more time won’t be a problem
  • Seeking out old friends who abuse substances
  • Thinking you are strong enough to use again without becoming addicted
  • Changes in actions or behavior
  • Becoming defensive when others point out changes in your actions or attitude
  • Feelings of depression or loneliness
  • Withdrawal from sober friends or community
  • Resenting others who try to help you avoid relapse
  • Denying that you are experiencing difficulty

If you or a loved one is demonstrating these symptoms, get help immediately. By interrupting the pattern into relapse, you offer yourself (or your loved one) the best chance to avoid relapse.

Ways to Prevent Relapse

The best way to avoid relapse is to put into place safety measures that will lessen the likelihood that you will return to Xanax usage. These prevention measures must be maintained vigorously much like a diabetic must regularly monitor sugar levels. Relapse prevention principles include the following:

  • Create a recovery action plan – According to an article from Psych Central, this plan should include daily maintenance activities, personal triggers, early warning signs and a crisis plan.
  • Avoiding high-risk situations – Remember the acronym HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Try to keep yourself from experiencing these as they are common triggers for drug use. Avoid places where drugs are use and people associated with drug use.
  • Develop and maintain a positive support network – You will need to sever unhealthy relationships and develop new ones. Some friends will be peers in a support group.
  • Avoid boredom – You’re more likely to relapse when you have a lot of free time on your hands.
  • Practice self-care – Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and socially. Exercise. Go to therapy. Spend time with friends. Health in these areas will lessen the desire to escape by using drugs.
  • Distract yourself – Go to a support group. Go for a walk. Urges will wane in a short amount of time. If the craving continues, call someone.
  • Tell someone you’re having urges to use – This not only provides accountability, but it also helps you feel like you’re not alone, and you’re not.

You may create other safeguards that work for you uniquely. Do what is best for your continued sobriety, not necessarily what is easy. Your sobriety is more important than your comfort level.

Getting Help for Your Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or relapse, we can help. You can call our toll-free helpline any time, 24 hours a day. You can talk with an admissions counselor who will help you determine the best options for your situation. Don’t allow addiction to control your life. Call us today, and take back control of your life.

Are you ready to seek treatment?

If you are ready to beat a Xanax addiction and start a new life in recovery then we can help. We have admission counselors standing by 24 hours a day to take your email, live chat request, or phone call to get you in the addiction treatment center that best fits your unique & specific needs.