There is nothing easy about addiction and trying to overcome it. The entire process is difficult. From finally admitting you have a problem and need help, to admitting yourself into treatment and then taking a step back out into the real world and trying to stay clean. Let’s face it, drugs and addiction are everywhere these days. The society we live in now wants immediate gratification, so we are in the midst of an addiction epidemic.
Relapse in Recovery is Quite Common
One thing you will learn in recovery is that relapse happens, and it happens to a lot of us. Even those that have years of sobriety under their belt. Addiction is a chronic brain disease with relapsing-remitting cycles. Just like a person with cancer gets treatment and goes into remission, so does an addict. Individuals in active recovery are in a state of remission; they have no signs of addiction. When symptoms of addiction return, relapse occurs.
Using Your Senses to Prevent a Drug Relapse
When one completes a rehab program their recovery has just begun. After detoxing, learning about the disease of addiction, and how to properly treat it, you step back out into the real world. Now it is up to you to take the necessary steps to stay clean. Addiction is a disease that requires continuous treatment. Every day whether good or bad, you have to learn how to cope with “life on life’s terms”. Using your senses can be a huge help in preventing relapse and helping to get past cravings. Using drugs causes certain neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine to bring pleasure and happiness. Dopamine is our “feel good” receptor. If an individual is on the verge of a relapse, they need something immediately to calm them down, turn off the cravings, and increase dopamine. Everyone likely has a different sense that they are more sensitive to. Some people may be extremely sensitive to smells. For example, I like anything that smells good. It calms me down and floods my dopamine receptors. I’ll light a candle, put perfume or cologne on, and sometimes use different essential oils. My sense of hearing also helps me. I love music! It relaxes me and makes me extremely happy; again it floors the dopamine receptors. Sense of taste is another good example. If you are a foodie, use that to your advantage. Find a good place to eat or get your favorite food for lunch or dinner. That floods your dopamine receptors and brings pleasure.
What Factors Lead to a Drug-Related Relapse?
There are multiple interactive factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of relapse. Some of the most common can include:
- Drug reminder cues like sights, sounds, smells, and/or using dreams or thoughts.
- Stress or negative mood states.
- Celebrations or positive mood states.
- Being around old friends or partners that are still using.
- Environmental cues like driving by a place connected to drug use or a liquor store.
- Lack of support.
- Dissatisfaction with life.
- Constant physical and emotional exhaustion.
- Poor or lack of self-care.
- Periods of depression.
- Loss of interest in treatment.
There are many other factors that could possibly lead to relapse. Being prepared and knowing your triggers so you can avoid them is vital in recovery.
More Tips for Preventing Addiction Relapse
Senses could also bring negative feelings and make a craving worse. Let’s say for instance you are craving your drug of choice, and you either see someone you used to use with or you pass a familiar place that was a big part of your addiction. First of all, get away from it or them as quickly as possible. If I see a negative trigger I always use mindfulness techniques until I can get away from it. Removing yourself from the situation as quickly as possible is critical to avoid relapsing. As you continue on and grow in your recovery, you will find what works best for you. Everyone is different when it comes to what brings them joy and happiness. Practice good self-care and make sure you are continuously using your support system, especially when facing difficulties in your life. Use your mind and senses in recovery for long-lasting sobriety.
Recovery for Addicted Men and Women
Are you ready to speak to an addiction professional about treatment options? Evoke Wellness treatment centers offer evidence-based rehab programs to cater to the individual needs of each patient. We offer a personalized treatment experience for each of our clients. Evoke Wellness provides comprehensive, integrated care for men, women, and families. Our solution-focused addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. At Evoke Wellness branded facilities, our team of compassionate and understanding addiction specialists is available 24/7 to assist you with your treatment needs. Choose recovery over substance abuse and start healing today.