Now I don’t want to bring negativity to the blog in any way, however I have to be realistic here; sadly relapses do happen. As I have mentioned before, relapses can be beneficial in terms of getting the person to realise that they really are not in control. Understanding the serious nature of addiction is a huge step towards successful recovery. However, there has been shown to be a dangerous link between addiction relapse and overdose and I want to discuss this further here, because awareness is key in preventing these tragedies from happening.
Relapses are caused by triggers. These can be emotional disturbances, such as arguments and bereavements, or sometimes fairly minor occurrences. Whatever the trigger is, it is likely to result in relapse unless the person puts in place the coping strategies they have been taught while in rehab. The pressure of staying clean can also sometimes result in addiction relapse. The pressure can sometimes be overwhelming, even if not intentionally supplied by those around the person. This is why communication is key; if the person feels overwhelmed they must feel able to tell the people around them.
So what are the dangers around relapse and overdose?
When someone in the early stages of recovery relapses, they are likely to use the amount of the substance they were using prior to treatment. However, this does not allow for the physical changes the body will have encountered throughout the time not using the substance. It is likely that the body will have experienced huge chemical changes as a result of detox and time away from using. If a person’s expectations for usage are still the same as prior to the sober period, they risk causing permanent damage or even overdose due to their body’s reduced tolerance.
Therefore, I would urge anyone that finds themselves in a situation where they are about to relapse, to pause and consider the amount of the substance they intend to take. Or better yet, call us before it gets to that point. We don’t judge, we just want to help.