What to Do After Relapsing During the Holidays?

What to Do After Relapsing During the Holidays?

It may be difficult for some people to understand a relapse, but it is actually a symptom of the chronic disease of addiction

An addiction relapse to drugs like Xanax, especially during the holidays, is not a sign of failure—it’s a signal a person needs more help.

Understanding Addiction Relapse

A person experiences many emotions after a relapse, but feelings of sadness and anger should not stand in the way of getting more treatment. A relapse is common for people struggling with addiction because the disease is chronic and requires ongoing maintenance according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It may be difficult for some people to understand a relapse, but it is actually a symptom of the chronic disease of addiction. Because addiction is a brain disease that has physical and behavioral elements, it must be treated physically and mentally. A person with an addiction must overcome changes to his brain that make him crave drugs, alcohol or another addictive behavior. During times of stress and temptation, such as during the holidays, it may be more difficult for a person to control the behaviors that go along with substance use.

People once believed a person with an addiction could stop at any time, but current research shows that a person’s need for addictive substances like Xanax are like primal needs to eat or have sex. An addicted person will sacrifice his relationships, job and personal health to find and take drugs.

Addiction professionals may use different definitions of relapse according to an article in Addiction Medicine. Some may take a strict definition and define any drug use as a relapse. Others may distinguish between behaviors calling a single period of drug use a slip but a prolonged period of use a relapse. Even considering different definitions of relapse, research shows between 60 percent and 80 percent of people will experience relapse in a lifetime.

Fortunately there are many options that effectively treat addiction. Some people believe addiction treatment doesn’t work because people often relapse and go back to taking drugs. In fact relapse is a common part of the disease because it is chronic such as asthma or diabetes. People who do relapse need more treatment or need treatment for a longer term.

Ways to Take Control After Relapse

The holidays bring on added stress, good and bad. A person may dread certain family dynamics that make him feel misunderstood or hopeless. Or family get-togethers may include lots of alcohol that bring on strong temptations. Many people do not understand the delicate nature of recovery and may say hurtful things or encourage undesirable behaviors. For a person living in recovery, there are times when it’s more important to take actions that keep willpower strong than it is to meet family expectations or avoid hurting people’s feelings according to treatment protocols from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The first step after a relapse is to reach out to a supportive person. Some people are involved with a peer group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, that offers support from people who also struggle with addictions. Other people have a therapist or other addiction specialist who can offer guidance and advice about the relapse. Right after a relapse is a good time to look at the situation that brought on the return to substance use and think about ways to avoid such a situation in the future according to SAMHSA.

It’s also important to remember that a relapse doesn’t erase past successes or mean an end to sober living. Very often a relapse to drugs like Xanax can be an important educational tool that lets a person know the kinds of activities that should be avoided or the types of social settings that are toxic. Some people might believe a relapse is a bad sign, but it really gives a person the opportunity to become wiser and stronger.

After a relapse it’s good for a person to think about or write down all the ways that addiction made life negative in the past. Also think about how living sober made life better. For some people the early stages of sober living are still hard, and they may be depressed and have trouble finding happiness with any activity according to SAMHSA. For people who feel sad and discouraged, it may be necessary to see a medical professional about a possible mental health disorder such as depression. It’s also important to know the brain takes time to heal from addiction. Many addictive drugs change pathways in the brain making it harder for a person to feel happiness and pleasure. Over time these pathways heal as a person engages in healthier activities and develops new connections in the brain.

Need Help Finding Addiction Treatment?

Brain researchers are discovering more about the disease of addiction every day. Learning ways to manage the disease over a lifetime is crucial. There are many techniques proven to make a difference, and the final element is making the strategies personal.

If you or a loved one needs help finding addiction treatment for drugs like Xanax, call our admissions coordinators at our toll-free helpline today. We answer questions seven days a week, 24 hours a day to give family members, friends and individuals the necessary information to get well. Reach out today, and learn ways to treat addiction and addictive behaviors.

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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.