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The Chronic Relapsing Disease

Addiction is a lifelong disease that requires constant attention to keep it at bay. Thus, it’s important for individuals who suffer from addiction to proactively cater to their sobriety needs. If they don’t, they could easily fall back into addictive behaviors and relapse. Over time, this behavior pattern could lead to the development of chronic relapsing disease. 

While relapsing after addiction treatment is common, it isn’t necessary. With dedication and the right measures in place, it’s possible to maintain sobriety long-term and avoid chronic relapsing disease. 

Even if you do relapse, it doesn’t mean that addiction treatment can’t work or that you’re doomed to chronic relapsing. There are plenty of chronic relapse treatment centers that you can attend rehab at that will help you break the cycle of relapsing once and for all.

What is Chronic Relapsing Disease? 

Chronic relapsing disease is a disorder that causes someone with an addiction to continuously relapse after attending rehab. A person who suffers from chronic relapsing disease usually relapses after attending a 30- to 90-day addiction treatment program. This is due to the fact that intensive forms of addiction require addiction treatment that lasts longer than 90 days to be effective. 

chronic relapsing disease

This shouldn’t be a surprise. It only makes sense that a lifelong illness such as addiction requires long-term solutions.

Long-term addiction treatment is especially necessary for an addict who has a tendency to chronically relapse. That’s because, without long-term treatment, a person that suffers from chronic relapsing disease will likely start abusing substances again. 

Therefore, don’t waste your time and money on a short-term addiction treatment program that lasts only 30 to 90 days. Instead, make the investment to attend long-term inpatient addiction treatment. To determine if you or someone you love suffers from chronic relapsing disease, you must pick up on the chronic relapsing disease warning signs.  

Warning Signs of Chronic Relapsing Disease

There are many signs that a person suffers from chronic relapsing disease. If you’ve already relapsed from addiction in the past after attending rehab, you could be a chronic relapser. This is especially true if you attended rehab again after relapsing and are still struggling to remain sober. 

Lack of Preparation to Return to the Real World

Most people who relapse after attending rehab do so because they weren’t prepared to go back into the real world. This is because they didn’t take the proper measures to ensure that they would be able to maintain sobriety long-term. Therefore, one warning sign of chronic relapsing disease is a lack of post-treatment planning. 

chronic relapsing disease

Not Knowing Your Triggers or Coping Mechanisms

Chronic relapsers also tend to have a lack of knowledge about their triggers and how to cope with them. Without knowledge of your triggers and ways to cope with them, you’ll likely fall back into old addictive habits. This is especially the case when you encounter your triggers. 

Lack of Direction in Life

Another warning sign of chronic relapsing disease is an overall lack of direction in life. Therefore, individuals who have no idea what their goals are post-treatment will likely relapse as soon as they leave rehab. 

Lack of Desire to Remain Sober

A lack of desire to become sober to begin with is also a common warning sign of a chronic relapser. Getting sober just because someone else wants you to isn’t going to motivate you enough to sustain that sobriety. Thus, the only way to achieve long-term sobriety is to have a deep desire to do so within oneself.

Not Completing Addiction Treatment

People that don’t complete their addiction treatment programs will also likely relapse. This is because they didn’t learn everything that they needed to in order to maintain sobriety. 

Continuing to Socialize With People You Used Substances With

Continuing to socialize with friends who abuse substances after attending rehab is a sign that you might commit chronic relapse. You’re only the company that you keep. 

chronic relapsing disease

Inability to Cope with Stress

Another sign of chronic relapsing disease is an inability to cope with stress. When many people feel stressed, they turn to their coping mechanisms. If your last form of coping was using substances, then you might immediately start using them again to cope when you encounter stress. 

Poor Mental Health

Mental illness is often the catalyst for addiction. Therefore, suffering from poor mental health after receiving addiction treatment, could be a sign of chronic relapse. 

Not Changing One’s Lifestyle or Practicing Self-Care

If you continue to live the same lifestyle that you did prior to attending rehab, you’ll likely develop the same addictive behaviors that you had before. Therefore, to maintain sobriety long-term, you must change the unhealthy aspects of your lifestyle. This includes eating healthier, getting more sleep, exercising more, and participating in addiction recovery activities. 

It’s also important to proactively practice general self-care after addiction treatment. This will make it easier to upkeep good mental health and maintain sobriety.

Dangers of Chronic Relapse Disease

It’s important to go back and attend rehab at one of the many chronic relapse disease treatment centers if you notice that you’re displaying many of the warning signs of chronic relapsing disease. This is because relapsing after being sober for a while is dangerous and can lead to an overdose or worse, death. 

When a person is sober for a while, that person’s body starts to learn how to function without substances. Over time, this causes a person’s tolerance for substances to go back down. 

Because people who relapse tend to use the amount of substances they were used to taking before rehab, using when tolerance is down could shock the human body. As a result, many people who relapse unexpectedly overdose. If the overdose is severe enough, it could lead to death. 

How to Prevent Chronic Relapsing Disease

There are many ways that you can help prevent chronic relapsing disease. Some of these ways are described below. 

Learn About Your Triggers

One of the first things that you can do to help prevent the development of chronic relapsing disease is know your triggers. By knowing your triggers, you can find ways to properly cope with them. That way you won’t start abusing substances again just to cope. 

Come Up With a Chronic Relapse Prevention Plan

A chronic relapse prevention plan is a laid-out series of steps and measures that a recovering addict takes to help prevent relapse. Many newly recovered addicts develop individualized chronic relapse prevention plans with the help of addiction treatment specialists at aftercare treatment and their clinicians. There are five core steps to completing a chronic relapse prevention plan:

  1. Reflect and self-assess on your past substance use and the things that triggered you to use substances
  2. List your triggers and write out a plan for how to deal with each of them 
  3. Come up with a step-by-step plan detailing what to do if you were to ever relapse 
  4. Create an emergency contact list made of the names of your close family members, friends, sponsors, etc. That way you have immediate access to people that you can call on for help if you were to ever relapse.
  5. Create goals for yourself, your health, and your life

Receive Ongoing Treatment

Another way that you can prevent relapse is to attend aftercare treatment. Some forms of aftercare treatment that you can attend include 12-step support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. 

You can also continue receiving addiction therapy. If you need help transitioning from rehab into the real world, you can even live in a sober living home for a while and receive aftercare treatment services at your sober living community. 

Make Lifestyle Changes

It’s important to change the unhealthy aspects of your lifestyle to healthy ones if you want to maintain your sobriety. This means eating healthier, getting more sleep, and exercising regularly. This also means developing a structured daily routine for yourself. To further change your lifestyle for the better, you can volunteer, establish a support group, and take on some new hobbies. 

Practice Self-Care

Outside of your positive lifestyle changes, you should also regularly practice self-care. Self-care can come in different forms depending on your individual needs and what you enjoy doing. 

For some, self-care is taking a bubble bath or getting a pedicure, while for others self-care is going for a run or reading a good book. Self-care is taking part in whatever healthy activity makes life more pleasurable for you and your spirit. 

Use Medication if Necessary

For some people, the best way to prevent chronic relapsing disease is to reduce your cravings for substances by taking prescription medications. This is especially true if you’re suffering from post-acute withdrawal syndrome. 

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is a condition that causes people that have already completed detox and addiction treatment to experience lingering withdrawal symptoms. By taking prescription medications to manage post-acute withdrawal syndrome and any other lingering conditions, you can resist the urge to use substances again.

Chronic Relapsing Disease Treatment 

To treat chronic relapsing disease, you should go back and attend detox and addiction treatment at one of the many chronic relapse treatment centers. Treatment for chronic relapsing disease must be inpatient and longer than 90 days. This is because it takes the longest and most intense forms of addiction treatment to combat chronic relapsing disease. 

Once you complete detox and addiction treatment again, you must create a chronic relapse prevention plan and follow it. You must also continue attending therapy, addiction support groups, and other aftercare treatment services. 

Also, be proactive about upkeeping positive coping mechanisms for your triggers, creating structure for yourself, and establishing a healthy lifestyle. By doing all these things, you will minimize your chances of relapsing.

Overcome Your Addiction Once and For All At New Directions for Women

At New Directions for Women, we know how soul-crushing it can be to relapse after attending addiction treatment. That’s why we provide all of our patients with a wide variety of aftercare treatment services. For example, we offer chronic relapse prevention planning for our patients. 

We also offer any patients who need help transitioning back into the real world the opportunity to stay in our intensive sober living for women community. We even go out of our way to provide our alumnae patients with an active alumnae association. That way our alumnae patients can maintain a network of support while in addiction recovery. 

Here at New Directions for Women, we know that women are often what keeps the family household running. That’s why we provided a women-centric addiction treatment center. To support women, children, and families while they are in recovery for addiction.

If you’re a woman who is looking to overcome your addiction once and for all, look no further than New Directions for Women. Due to our top-level aftercare treatment services, we’re one of the top chronic relapse treatment centers in the area. Plus, we are in-tune with the individual needs of women. 

So, what are you waiting for, receive addiction treatment at New Directions for Women now! To learn more about the New Directions for Women treatment center and the services that we offer, contact us today! 

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Clinically Reviewed By:

Picture of Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather most recently served as the Clinical Director of a gender-specific treatment center in Huntington Beach. She is trained in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which serve the needs of our clients, many of whom have experienced both complex trauma and substance use disorder.

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