Addiction is a chronic illness, and recovery is a life-long journey. While long-term sobriety is achievable, many people struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction will encounter a few bumps along the way. People in recovery call these roadblocks relapses when they lead to using drugs or alcohol again, even temporarily. A person can relapse for any number of reasons, even if they’ve been clean and sober for many years. But a myth persists that in order to relapse, something has to be wrong. So why do addicts relapse when things are good?
Common Reasons for Relapse
While recovery is possible, relapsing along the way should be the expectation for most individuals. In fact, statistics show that more than 85% of individuals will relapse within a year after treatment. Many people find this information surprising, but it does make sense. It is easy to relapse when a person feels stressed, depressed, or anxious. Work stress, financial worries, and relationship tension are all factors that can tempt a sober person to use.
Other common triggers for relapse are:
- Viewing the object of your addiction
- Associating with people or places that contribute to your addiction
- Avoid withdrawal symptoms
- Chronic pain
- Overwhelming emotions, like anger or sadness
- Holidays and special occasions
And for the most part, these are easy enough causes of relapse to understand. While it can be surprising that individuals with an addiction history might reach for the very things that cause them and their loved ones harm, people can generally understand that they do this to instantly relieve themselves of the pain of whatever emotion is disturbing them.
What is harder to understand is: Why do addicts relapse when things are good?
Why Do Addicts Relapse When Things Are Good?
You might question how a person can relapse when their job is on the right track or their relationship with family members and friends is better than ever. You may believe that everything is going great. And why shouldn’t you imagine that? You’ve seen no reason for an individual with an addiction problem to return to using drugs or alcohol. But it can happen; even when life is seemingly picturesque, a person can still relapse.
If this happens, you might feel blindsided. But it’s important to know that relapse is an almost unavoidable part of addiction recovery process. Why do addicts relapse when things are good? Because addiction is a chronic brain illness characterized by habitual drug use. There is no fast cure for addiction; it takes time and work to achieve long-term recovery.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a substance use disorder is a cognitive impairment that affects a person’s behavior and brain. This can lead to an uncontrollable use of drugs or alcohol.
So, why do addicts relapse when things are good? Usually, because of an undiagnosed mental illness. It’s not unusual for individuals with a mental disorder to abuse prescription medication, use illegal drugs, or drink alcohol in excess. For example, a person with bipolar disorder might experience the following feelings and symptoms during a manic episode:
- Feelings of extreme happiness
- Talking rapidly
- Being full of energy
- Getting easily distracted
- Getting irritated easily
- Creating grandiose plans
- Loss of appetite
- Taking large and unnecessary risks
Bipolar disorder can trick an individual into thinking they’re doing wonderfully and that life is going great. During a manic episode, the thought can occur that they deserve a drink for doing so incredibly well. But this false sense of control can have catastrophic consequences and cause them to spiral into relapse. Unfortunately, the effect of substance abuse on the brain tends to exacerbate mental illness symptoms, making them worse off than before.
In this way, untreated mental health issues can lead to relapse even in the best of times. So to overcome your addiction once and for all, you must treat any underlying mental health disorders and commit to stopping substance abuse. By seeking professional addiction treatment, you can gain the tools you need to help you avoid relapsing for the final time.
Treating Underlying Mental Health Conditions
The Willough at Naples recognizes that mental illness and substance use disorders are often related. In fact, around 50% of people with a mental illness also experience problems with drug or alcohol abuse. That’s why our beautiful beachside center located in Naples, Florida, offers a treatment program for adults struggling with both mental health and addiction, commonly known as co-occurring disorders.
The Willough at Naples’ dual diagnosis program treats people 18 and older who are suffering from drug or alcohol abuse along with a psychiatric illness. Our program is designed for individuals with a substance abuse problem and one or more of the following mental health conditions:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Panic Attacks
- Obsessive/Compulsive Behavior
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Now that there’s an answer to the question “Why do addicts when things are good?”, you have the opportunity to address the root causes of addiction and minimize your risk of relapse. And our Florida dual diagnosis center is ready to help you do exactly that.
Getting Help After Relapsing
Why do addicts relapse when things are good? Now you know what might trigger a person to relapse despite everything being right.
If you or someone you know is going through a relapse, the staff at The Willough at Naples is here to help. It is important not to think of yourself as a failure if you have relapsed. After all, there is always a lesson to be learned and something to be gained from every situation. Our dual diagnosis treatment program will help you address your active addiction symptoms as well as those of your mental health disorder.
Our accredited addiction and mental health treatment center offers a variety of treatment options, including:
- Psychiatric Assessment
- Medication Evaluation and Management
- Group Therapy
- Family Education
- Psychology Testing and Treatment
- Nutritional Consultations
- Recreational Therapy
- Illness Education
- Relapse Prevention
- Links to Community-Based Services
Knowing why relapse happens can help you avoid it in the future. The staff at The Willough at Naples can help you get to the root of your addiction so you can live a long, sober life. To learn more about how our treatment programs can help, call our admissions specialists at 800-722-0100 or submit a confidential contact form online. We’ll help you develop a strong foundation in recovery to support you through both the good times and the bad times.