So, it happened. You experienced a relapse in your sobriety, and either you or someone you love think it’s best to return to rehab. While on the surface this might feel like failure, it’s really not. Managing a chronic illness like addiction sometimes takes patience, treatment revisions, and adapting more progressive wellness techniques. Let’s take a closer look.
Addiction as a Chronic Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), six in 10 US adults live with at least one chronic disease, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
Addiction is also a chronic disease. Prolonged alcohol and drug use eventually alters the brain’s frontal cortex, which impacts impulse control and judgment. Substance abuse also changes a person’s behavioral and biological responses. Keep in mind: just as someone doesn’t choose to develop diabetes or heart disease, no one chooses to develop addiction. But once someone contracts a chronic illness, there’s a certain level of diligence required to put the disease into remission and maintain health.
For example, ignoring disease management recommendations of care providers or becoming complacent about updated treatment is likely to lead to relapse. Are we talking about heart disease or addiction? Both, actually.
The Mayo Clinic advises patients with heart disease to follow a certain standard of care, based on their individual circumstances. For someone with heart disease, this might include monitoring blood pressure daily, not smoking, exercising regularly, following a low-fat, low-sodium whole-foods diet, reducing stress, and other factors. If they don’t optimize their well-being by following these recommendations, they’ll likely have a setback in their condition. Regaining health may require more frequent checkups, a change in medication, conforming to new lifestyle habits, and other remedies.
This applies to addiction recovery as well. Even after an extended period of sobriety, an individual is still vulnerable to relapse if they’re not effectively managing their mental and physical health, have experienced grief or a series of triggers, or suffered another catalyst that knocked them off the proverbial wagon.
Returning to Rehab is a Reset
Let’s be honest: the first time you went to rehab, it was probably a chaotic time. Maybe it was your first opportunity to face addiction head on, and while you wanted to do it, there was a lot to unpack. Surprisingly, many people have never had individual or group counseling before going to an addiction rehabilitation center. So as they begin to understand the root causes of their condition, they discover a lot.
For example, a veteran in recovery from addiction may learn that PTSD and other traumas experienced during service contribute greatly to their addictive behavior. Processing this information and adapting new coping skills doesn’t happen overnight, but in time, this person recognizes the connection and learns how to manage it.
Or perhaps a person realizes in rehab that adverse childhood experiences created ongoing trauma in adulthood that they didn’t know how to deal with healthfully. By addressing the issues more clearly and developing a more well-rounded plan to care for emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual health, they move through the pain of the past and into a brighter future of their making.
Without a doubt, experiencing a relapse is frustrating and problematic on numerous levels. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that approximately 60 percent of people who receive substance abuse treatment relapse within a year. But who wants to be simply another statistic?
Just as someone with heart disease, diabetes, or another chronic illness needs treatment adjustments, you can return to a life of promise in recovery by using rehab to your advantage. You’re not trying to “fix” what’s “broken”: you’re relying on addiction science experts to develop more individualized solutions for your particular circumstances so you continue to thrive as your best self.
The Value of Great Oaks’ Evidence-Based Treatment
Considered one of the premier detox centers in Houston, we combine progressive techniques and medical expertise to provide a thorough diagnosis of all contributing factors to addiction. These might include co-occurring conditions, mood disorders, trauma, and other health issues. Our board-certified clinical team uses a multidisciplinary approach to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, featuring hands-on experience from knowledgeable professionals who specialize in alcoholism, drug addiction, and dual diagnosis.
When you choose Great Oaks, you’ll receive comprehensive care from medical doctors, licensed and certified counselors, licensed social workers, and a broad range of nurses and nursing assistants. If it’s time to regain your sobriety, put your trust in our team. We also offer extensive aftercare solutions so you’re never without reinforcing support in recovery.