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Drug Relapse Statistics: Why and How Relapse Occurs

Do you struggle with a drug or alcohol problem? Perhaps you have a family member or a loved one who is battling addiction?

You might have tried various outpatient treatment programs in the past with little success. Have you considered an inpatient detox program at a recovery treatment center?

Drug relapse statistics may have jaded you against committing to rehab. You should know that these numbers are complicated, however.

The coronavirus outbreak has added new challenges to overcoming addiction. Relapses are a frequent result of this disease of isolation. How can we make sense of statistics and learn from them, empowering success?

We’re going to deconstruct substance use relapse and identify the hallmarks of enduring sobriety. Read on!

Rehab Relapse

Why is it so hard to prevent relapse? Furthermore, why is it extremely difficult to know if treatment has been successful in the first place? Anyone trying to research reliable rehab statistics will know that frequently, the numbers don’t add up.

There are good reasons for these skewed figures.

It’s in the best interests of rehab centers to paint a picture of success. Patients who do not complete treatment programs will often be absent from the success rate, for example.

A medically-supervised detox is a good environment for an addict who is recovering from a dangerous substance. The high-level commitment necessary for inpatient treatment offers an initial boost to recovery. What happens next?

Should falling off the wagon be accepted as an unavoidable component of addiction?

To fairly evaluate relapse risk, it might be more helpful not to view addiction as a superficial wound that will heal with no trace. It’s better to acknowledge that substance use disorder is a chronic disease that requires ongoing management. A comparison to other diseases that can be successfully managed, like diabetes might be a helpful approach.

Success can and should be monitored on an ongoing basis, but there are no magic cures that are activated as a patient leaves treatment.

It takes sustained effort to achieve and maintain sobriety. Relapse should never be viewed as a failure. Moments of weakness should be reframed as momentary detours on the path to a rich life of meaning.


It’s important to emphasize that there must always be a willingness to change before success can follow. For this reason, it’s always better for an addict to seek treatment before they hit their lowest ebb.

This is not to underestimate the valuable role that medications may also play. Treating co-morbid mental health disorders is a crucial component to recovery. There is often deep psychological pain that is being masked with a substance use disorder.

Drug relapse becomes less likely when a patient can develop a level of self-awareness in regards to their triggers. These triggers are unique to each individual but often center on people, places, and things. These triggers are associate with “using” and act as mental anchors when the addict is re-exposed to them.

The sense of purpose that can arise from deep ties to a community may be an ideal pursuit to fill the void left by addiction. Research has uncovered a link between social connectedness and a reduced risk of relapse. This is believed to stem from a reduction in cravings for the drug itself.

When an addict leaves inpatient treatment, outpatient services may well be needed in the future. In particular, support groups can provide an invaluable safety net. All supportive social environments can help manage this disease, particularly because they combat isolation.

It’s always best when family and friends are at the heart of that supportive environment. This is the case as long as they can provide positive reinforcement.

Levels of Addiction

It might be advisable for addiction treatment plans to be as flexible as possible. Not all patients have equal levels of need. Identifying those who need a more targeted approach in key recovery goals is central for positive outcomes.

Drug rehab aftercare will look different for every patient. These individual factors and circumstances should become integral to the recovery plan. Each patient must be able to know the signs that they are on the right path for treatment to have a lasting impact.

Drugs carry different levels of addiction too, with cocaine usually at the top of the list. The path of destruction that the drug takes must be rebuilt with a personalized plan. By working towards short, medium, and long-term goals, the focus is always on embracing recovery, not fearing relapse.

It’s important to recognize that addiction causes chemical changes to the brain, some of which can be permanent. This reaffirms the need for long-term aftercare.

Regardless of the type of treatment, the National Institute on Drug Abuse advocate that at least 90 days is required for a good outcome.

Tailored Treatment

A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works, particularly when addressing the complexities of drug rehab. The best addiction treatment centers recognize this and offer a range of treatments to suit these diverse needs.

When evaluating the services offered during inpatient drug rehab, look for evidence-based treatments (EBTs) as the corner-stone to good results.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can achieve clinical outcomes that are arguably as effective as medication. When used in conjunction with treatments that address underlying mental health conditions, significant progress can be made.

Group or family therapy is a highly beneficial adjunct to treatment. These sessions can help identify the hidden behaviors and triggers that are vital breakthroughs for recovery.

If a patient can build an effective support network while in treatment, they will be tilting the drug relapse statistics their way. This support, particularly when facing the inevitable stresses of life, will help prevent falling back on old bad habits.

Drug Relapse Statistics

We’ve shown that drug relapse statistics don’t paint the whole picture. Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction has many facets and is a journey, rather than a destination. Don’t let a relapse shake your belief that you can distance yourself from alcohol and drugs.

If you have a substance use problem or love someone who does, we can help. We are a luxurious drug rehab treatment center in Malibu, California. We specialize in individualized treatment that works.

Contact us today to get started with your first steps.

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