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When a person decides to seek addiction treatment, the thought of relapsing is at the forefront of their mind. The fear of relapse is warranted; some people think it’s such they forgo treatment altogether.

Research shows drug addiction relapse rates align with other chronic diseases like diabetes. Anywhere from 40-60% of people with a substance abuse disorder will relapse. Instead of letting that minimize the importance of addiction treatment, it’s highlighted the need for long-term treatment structured with the understanding that relapse is possible. 

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how addiction affects the brain, and that information has dramatically changed how addiction is treated. Today, many people are surprised by what happens when they relapse while enrolled in a Partial Hospitalization Program. 

Why Relapsing Isn’t an Indicator of Failure

To many people, relapse represents failure. The truth is that relapse is a part of recovery. That’s because it’s part of the addiction cycle driven by deeply embedded behaviors. Addiction is also a chronic disease that must be managed long-term. Because of that, relapse is always possible, even after a long period of sobriety. 

There’s also the issue of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be physical (feeling ill, pain, etc.) and psychological (anxiety, paranoia, irritability, etc.) Many people try to get sober on their own, but once withdrawal symptoms begin, they quickly relapse to manage the discomfort.   

People mistakenly believe that relapse means addiction treatment failed. Relapses typically happen for one of three reasons:

  • The person experiences significant stress
  • There’s a cue that’s connected to past drug experiences (such as a place or person)
  • Exposure to drugs

A relapse indicates that an individual needs to go back to more intensive treatment, adjust their treatment plan or try another mode of therapy. 

What Happens When You Relapse During a PHP Program 

Relapse isn’t much of a concern when you’re in a detox center or inpatient treatment program. Being in the center 24/7 means, there’s no access to drugs. The environment is very controlled, and there is a lot of structure throughout the day. Doctors can even administer medication to ease withdrawal symptoms, so there’s less of an urge to use drugs. 

Transitioning to a PHP program can feel a bit intimidating. You’re no longer in the treatment center all day. You are on your own for part of the day and may have easy access to your drug of choice. The possibility for relapse is there.

Most important is what a person does just after a relapse occurs. A person can do one of two things after a relapse – get back on the wagon and keep going or give up and go back into an addiction cycle. 

If you’re in our Partial Hospitalization Program in Dallas, TX, the last thing we want is for you to give up. Addiction experts understand that relapse is a distinct possibility even with treatment. They are prepared for it and designed to keep the person on track in recovery. In a Partial Hospitalization Program, relapse is not a reset button. It’s part of the recovery process for about 50% of patients. 

What should happen in a PHP program after relapse is the treatment plan should be re-evaluated. The patient should also consult an addiction counselor to discuss why the regression occurred. From there, adjustments should be made to the treatment plan to address the issues that led to the deterioration. 

For example, if the previous treatment plan didn’t involve medication, the therapist may prescribe one to help prevent another relapse. Or the treatment team may decide to try dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy CBT). 

Treating addiction is actually managing addiction because it’s a chronic illness. Rehab clinics and addiction treatment centers in Dallas and across the country help people reach and maintain sobriety by assisting them in identifying and addressing the underlying issues that lead to addiction so that they are less of a problem. Rehab clinics also provide people with the information, tools, and skills needed to manage the habit independently and prevent relapse. 
Find out if you or a loved one can benefit from enrolling in a Partial Hospitalization Program in Dallas. Our trained professionals are available to provide a free assessment over the phone to determine if a PHP Program is the right course of treatment.