Going to rehab is a major step towards reclaiming your freedom, your health, and your life. However, although substance use disorder is treatable, it isn’t a curable disease. Both substance use disorder (SUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are recognized as chronic, lifelong issues.
Thus, the battle to avoid relapse is an ongoing one, and recovering addicts are still at risk of returning to old habits and behaviors many years into their recoveries. Unfortunately, staying on track can be especially challenging immediately after formal treatment has ended. Remaining sober while socializing with friends, going to work, and tackling other, everyday responsibilities is far more difficult than remaining sober on a closed, secure campus. The good news is that there are always ways to get back onto the recovery path if things don’t go well after rehab.
If you’ve recently left rehab and are struggling to stay the course, it’s important to consider why. For some people, this is an indication of either insufficient treatment or the wrong treatment type. For instance, people with co-occurring disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or bipolar disorder will always have hard time in recovery if these underlying issues aren’t identified and treated. For these individuals, going to rehabs that lack options in dual diagnosis treatment only gives them a portion of the tools that they need for success.
For other people, lack of social support and insufficient post-treatment resources prove to be their downfall. Identifying why you’re floundering in recovery will enable you to seek out the additional help you require.
Recovery Is Often Filled With Relapse Events
Relapsing in recovery isn’t uncommon. In fact, most recovering addicts will relapse at some point in their lives. The most important thing to know about relapsing is that it doesn’t always entail actual drug or alcohol use. Instead, relapse occurs in several distinct phases that will eventually lead to substance use if they aren’t curtailed.
People experience mental and emotional relapse first, where they wallow in feelings of discontent, gradually distance themselves from others, and stop engaging in ongoing relapse prevention. People in early relapse often stop attending sober meetings, stop contacting their sober sponsors, and stop practicing diligent self-care. These changes in behavior gradually lead to bargaining, daydreaming about purchasing or otherwise acquiring substances, and eventually using them.
Knowing the different phases of relapse and their signs helps recovering addicts put relapse to an end before it spirals out of control. As such, one large part of a person’s training in addiction treatment is relapse prevention. If things aren’t going well for you after rehab, you may need additional relapse prevention training. Early struggles in recovery may simply mean that the duration of your treatment wasn’t long enough for meeting your needs. Most people are eager to complete 30-day rehab programs with the expectation that they’ll be “cured” once their treatments are done.
In reality, 30-day rehabs are a good start to what will invariably be a long process of healing, learning, and growing. 30 days is often just long enough for the body to rid itself of substances and return to normal, balanced functioning. However, it isn’t long enough for the brain and its chemistry to rebound. After just one month of treatment, many people are only starting to feel grounded, and they’re often still struggling with mood balance. The many powerful neurotransmitters that substance abuse affects take months to recover. It’s estimated that dopamine recovery and the recovery of other mood-boosting, “feel good” chemicals can take between 60 and 90 days.
For this and other reasons, rehab programs that last three months or more tend have the highest levels of success. 30-day inpatient programs can be followed with outpatient rehab, or people can transition from inpatient care to sober living facilities with structured environments and onsite support. Life-planning is also an important part of addiction treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction cause real-world problems.
Many people start their recoveries after having lost their jobs, their housing, and many of their meaningful relationships. They may be facing legal issues, lack of transportation, and barriers to essential resources. Absent of solid plans for resolving these problems, people can find themselves with overwhelming stress and a desire to use drugs or alcohol as a means for alleviating it. To mitigate these common relapse risks, rehab professionals help patients identify and access resources, establish goals, and get the training and post-treatment support they need. It’s additionally important to note that not all rehab programs are guaranteed to work well for everyone.
There’s a wealth of treatment types available including options that focus specifically on the needs of those with co-occurring disorders, rehabs for people who’ve been using highly addictive substances, and rehabs for those with long histories of trauma. Finding the right program with the right support services will help you establish a solid foundation for success. If you need help finding the right rehab or help finding the right post-treatment support, we’ve got you covered. Call us today at 855-334-6120 to get started.