It is a common scenario for most people recovering from addiction to return to drug use at least once over the course of the recovery period. This condition, called relapse, involves what often feels like a downward spiral into compulsive behavior and addiction. It may be a short or long period, and it will probably be a painful process that involves destructive thoughts, isolation from people, and recurrence of depression and anxiety.
A drug relapse often begins weeks or even months before the event of physical relapse. During this emotional time, or post-acute withdrawal, the mental relapse that occurs makes it harder for you to make the right choices, as the pull of addiction gets more intense.
That Euphoric Feeling
Drugs generate a large release of a dopamine, a chemical naturally produced by your brain when you’re engaged in any activity that creates pleasure. The amount of dopamine released by drugs is far more intense and greater than the amount normally released by the brain, which is why people find them so difficult to stop, even when they are also causing significant harm.
Frequent drug use causes the brain to become familiar with and get used to receiving these large concentrations of dopamine. Eventually the drugs destroy dopamine receptors in the brain so it’s increasingly difficult for you to achieve a euphoric feeling without the use of drugs.
Opportunity for Sustained Recovery
As addiction alters the brain, you may deal with drug-related memories, strong cravings, and diminished control, conditions that leave you vulnerable to relapse even after years of sobriety. Relapse, however, should not be seen as a sign of failure. It is often a normal part for the recovery process, and in some cases it may even improve the odds of sustained recovery.
Get Professional Help
One of the most effective techniques for long-term recovery is to learn new ways of handling stress or negative feelings; without these coping mechanisms it is possible that you will turn to drugs to cover up your emotions. This is why long-term drug recovery success is more likely to happen with a professional guidance or help. Sticking to the recommendations of counselors and doctors can lower the likelihood of relapse or help you get back on track if you slip.
The road to addiction recovery can be rough, but it does not mean you cannot fight relapse and addiction. Browse through our website today and find out how we can help with drug recovery.