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How Stress Impacts Relapse

stress and relapse

Once someone has successfully quit using drugs or drinking, it may seem like they have crossed the finish line. However, relapse is always there, waiting to trip the unwary traveler on their recovery journey. What is relapse? Why is it such a major issue? How does stress impact relapse, and how can that stress be avoided? Many questions can help people in recovery and their loved ones stay on track in recovery. If you have a relapse prevention plan and know the triggers and signs of relapse, you will be better positioned to avoid it.

What Is Relapse and Why Is It Dangerous?

Relapse is returning to a substance or activity that one has been addicted to in the past. It is a common part of the recovery process, and relapse should not be taken as a failure. It is a bump in the road that can be quickly corrected if caught early. Relapse should still be taken seriously because someone who has recently returned to using is at a much higher risk of overdose. When someone returns to using, they think that they need to use the same amount as before. This is a mistake because their sobriety time has caused their body to lose its tolerance for the drug. This can lead to accidental overdose, which can lead to serious illness or even be fatal.

What Is the Relationship Between Stress and Relapse?

Stress is a major component of addiction. Many people seeking treatment for substance abuse or alcoholism report that they began using drugs or drinking to relieve stress. Some people with untreated or under-treated mental health conditions also self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, and stress can aggravate that situation. Essentially, stress is a known trigger for drug and alcohol abuse and a circumstance that, left unchecked, can feed an addiction.

What Are Stress Triggers That Can Lead to Relapse?

Stress triggers are situations, circumstances, and events that can incline a person to relapse. It can be difficult to avoid each trigger fully, but simply learning what they are can help you be more prepared for times when you may encounter them. Some common stress triggers that can lead to relapse are:

  • Conflict in the home, at work, or school
  • Being in places where drug use or drinking used to occur
  • Meeting people with whom you used to use or drink
  • High-pressure times in work or school
  • Reminders of past traumas or stressors
  • Feeling disconnected from your support network

How Can You Mitigate Stress and Avoid Relapse?

Some simple techniques can help you lay a good foundation to avoid relapse. Some of these are:

  • Work with your counselors to make a relapse prevention plan
  • Know the signs of relapse so you can avoid contact with people who are using or drinking
  • Practice good self-care – proper nutrition, hydration, exercise, and stress reduction activities
  • Stay accountable by checking in with your support network frequently
  • Delve into your favorite hobbies and activities, so you are not tempted

Rise Above Treatments Can Help You Make a Relapse Prevention Plan

At our treatment center in Murietta, California, we at Rise Above Treatments are ready to help you protect your recovery with a relapse prevention plan. We know that relapse is an obstacle that many people face, so we have developed a program of proven treatments that can keep you or your loved one on the right track. Our strong sober community is our greatest asset, and it can be yours as well. Reach out to our compassionate and knowledgeable staff today at (877) 641-0717 and let us work with you to achieve true and lasting recovery.

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