Relapse from heroin addiction is a common encounter that can take place anytime without warning. It can be frustrating to acknowledge that even after a long period of sobriety, it can suddenly come knocking your way. However, it is by recognizing this reality that one can truly protect themselves from falling into the trap of returning to heroin addiction.
Relapse from heroin addiction comes with serious health risks. Apart from getting stuck in the loop of addiction, one can also be vulnerable to experiencing overdose which can be fatal. With the body being accustomed to the absence of heroin, taking the usual dose may be too much for it to bear and results in overdose, or worse, death.
What are the Key Steps to Avoid Relapse
Although relapse may seem to be an inevitable challenge that must be anticipated anytime, it is possible to avoid experiencing it. The key steps include a strong commitment to live a drug-free life and a great deal of paying attention to the signals of the body. And more specifically, adhering to the following important things:
Completing a Medically-supervised Addiction Treatment
It is impossible to overcome addiction without the supervision of an addiction specialist. Addiction is comparable to a physical illness that requires medical help. Overcoming it is not just a matter of will, but of a strong commitment to getting through a crucial process. Adhering to a treatment plan designed by an expert is a primary key to reaching recovery.
By fully completing one’s addiction treatment plan as advised by a physician, a patient can gain life-long benefits which include strong coping skills to fight off the temptation to return to substance use as well as a broader understanding of personal triggers and finding ways to overcome them. These skills are important to avoid experiencing a relapse.
Some individuals suspend their treatment against clinical advice due to some reasons without realizing how this can bring a problem later on. It could be that one may have not fully established the necessary skills to combat oneself the challenges of the real world, one which is different from the lifestyle designed and guided by specialists.
Keeping Up with Post-treatment Programs
Most people gain a great amount of confidence as soon as they graduate from their treatment plan. Getting away from medications and a controlled lifestyle filled with sessions of counseling and therapies can bring a great sense of freedom which also paves the way to encountering various temptations to return to substance use.
However, it pays a lot to have a team where one can gain support as they take a step to living a sober life in the real world. A very popular post-treatment program is the 12-step meeting wherein a group of people aiming to recover from addiction helps each other maintain the drug-free lifestyle they have established during treatment.
The 12-step program is only one example and there are several other recovery programs available that one can explore and become a part of. Keeping up with post-treatment programs is an essential aspect of recovery and truly helpful in preventing one from experiencing a relapse.
Boosting a Healthy Lifestyle
A stressful disposition is one of the most common culprits for relapse. It weakens the mind and body and it also makes one more vulnerable to personal triggers. There are plenty of ways that can be done to avoid occasions of stress. One of the ways is by taking care of both the physical and psychological aspects of life.
With proper diet, exercise, and time for meditation, one can maintain a healthy physical state. Exercise boosts the level of endorphins in the brain which helps lighten up one’s mood and prevent occasions of feeling down and anxious. Meditation is also an avenue to release stress and reconnect with oneself, making one more at peace.
Another thing that must be included in boosting a healthy lifestyle is to explore new hobbies or work on one which brings pleasurable meaningful experience. This keeps the mind filled with something interesting, considering how boredom is also another factor that triggers relapse.
Understanding Signals of the Body
It is important to acknowledge certain signals of the body which indicate that relapse can happen next. Experiencing emotional challenges such as not feeling comfortable with people, preferring to isolate oneself from close kin, and getting extremely affected by the problems of others can commonly occur and this is a red flag for relapse.
One may also struggle with fighting off the cravings and fall on thoughts about using heroin. This is also another warning that relapse can happen anytime soon. Denying these occurrences prevents one from getting the right kind of response that one truly needs. When these triggers begin, it is important to seek help.
Sometimes being too confident about getting past these signals without the help of others can endanger one’s disposition, or even thinking about using the drug just once can be harmless is extremely dangerous. Relapse can be caused by a single attempt and the consequences can ultimately last for a long time.
Seeking Help when Necessary
Even when a person has devotedly adhered to the previously mentioned options, there are still other factors that can continuously trigger a relapse. A certain smell, a contact with people engaged with the substance, an encounter of loss or grief, or even a simple craving can likely occur at any time and all these can trigger a relapse.
It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with calling out for help again. Getting sober for some time and being triggered right in the middle is a common journey. It can happen to anyone, and it is something that must not be ashamed about. It is even more helpful to acknowledge the truth and accept the help of others.
This is a big step to preventing relapse from happening. When one has already fallen once, twice, or a few more times to using the substance again, seeking medical help is all the more necessary.