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Another Myth – Relapse After Drug Treatment

When some people hear that a person has started drinking again after they have been to alcohol rehab, they think,”Oh, that person is hopeless.  They are just wasting their time if they think more alcohol rehab will help.”  A person who thinks this way doesn’t really understand the nature of drug and alcohol addiction.

Myths About How Difficult Drug Addiction Is

There’s a general idea out there that says drug addiction really isn’t that hard to overcome.  If you really want sobriety bad enough, you’re strong enough, or you just try hard enough, you can kick the habit with little to no help.  At most, one time at drug or alcohol rehab if it’s really bad.

This is just simply wrong, an inaccurate understanding of drug addiction and recovery.  People don’t look down upon someone who has a cancer relapse after they have had a round of treatment.  People also don’t fault someone with endometriosis who needs several surgeries over time to remove scar tissue buildup.  Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse has a stigma of social disgrace.  The consequences of addiction often display through lack of responsibility and legal problems.

Drug Treatment Is Not A Waste Of Time

Addiction creates a tangled mess in a person’s life, no doubt.  But it doesn’t have to be a permanent mess.  Even if a person goes through drug or alcohol treatment more than once, it does not mean treatment is a waste of time.  Relapse may happen for entirely different reasons at different times in a person’s life.  Perhaps one breakdown occurred after the death of a spouse, another after the last child went to college, yet another after a move to a new city.

Also, some drugs provide a bigger challenge to maintaining sobriety.  The more easily addictive the drug is, the more difficult sobriety can be.  Chemical changes happen in the body after prolonged use of any drug, but some drugs cause that damage and strong cravings much more quickly.

Meth and heroin are just two examples of hard drugs that have a high relapse rate.  Gender differences also make a difference for how quickly they will become addicted and for what reasons.  Underlying issues such as depression, trauma, or personality disorders can also complicate recovery.  If these disorders are not identified or not properly treated, a person is almost certainly going to relapse.  As you can see, there are many reasons a person might relapse after established sobriety.  And going through drug treatment is no guarantee against relapse either.

Drug Rehab Is Hope For Drug Addicts When They Most Need It

So to directly address the myth, people who relapse after drug treatment are not hopeless.  They simply need stronger help at that time.  Just like everyone goes through periods when they feel better or worse about their life, people with addiction go through periods when they are better or worse with their sobriety.  They have a lifelong challenge ahead of them, like someone with a chronic immune disorder or diabetes.  It must be kept in check and there will likely be some flare-ups when things get worse.  But with good drug treatment at the right time, there can also be many good times in life.  A lot better than giving up on someone with drug addiction.

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