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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, and some people think it’s such a given they forgo treatment all together.

Research tells us that the rate of relapse for drug addiction is in line 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 that’s structured with the understanding that relapse is a possibility. 

Over the years we’ve learned a lot about how addiction affects the brain, and that information has dramatically changed the way 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, relapse is a part of recovery. That’s because it’s part of the addiction cycle that’s driven by deeply embedded behaviors. Addiction is also a chronic disease that must be managed long-term. Because of that, relapse is always a possibility even after a long period of sobriety. 

There’s also the issue of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be both 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 in order 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

What a relapse actually indicates is 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 

When you’re in a detox center or inpatient treatment program, relapse isn’t much of a concern. 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.

What’s most important is what a person does just after a relapse occurs. A person can do one of two things after a relapse – get right 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 prepared to keep the person on track in their 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 have a consultation with an addiction counselor to discuss why the relapse occurred. From there adjustments should be made to the treatment plan to address the issues that led to the relapse. 

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). 

At the end of the day, treating addiction is in actuality 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 helping them identify and address the underlying issues that lead to addiction so that they are less of an issue. Rehab clinics also provide people with the information, tools and skills that are needed to manage the addiction on their own 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.


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