Why Do People with Addictions Relapse?


Relapse is when someone uses a substance after a period of staying away from it. This is a very common setback for those recovering from an addiction. Most people who are recovering will relapse more than once in their lifetimes. Staying sober will take a lot of time, practice, and commitment – and relapsing does not mean that rehab treatment is a failure. A number of different reasons can increase the chance of someone to relapse including:

Being Subject to their Triggers. 

Triggers are a set of feelings, sensations, thoughts, places, situations and certain relationships which cause someone to go back to use a substance. For example, driving past a familiar bar or pub where one used to drink often may create cravings for some.

Triggers can become apparent if someone is feeling particularly down or attend an event where there is alcohol. They can arise at times such as when you feel stressed, physically ill or even if you just haven’t slept enough.

Failing to Stick to The Treatment Plan After Rehab. 

Unfortunately, lots of people who go to rehab don’t continue with their plan once they are out. They think that they are already cured, but then end up relapsing. Taking the correct steps to keep yourself free from drugs or alcohol will of course increase your chance of staying sober during your recovery.

Other Reasons Why People Relapse Include:

  • Fatigue: being either physically or mentally exhausted can affect every activities and tasks. The stress from this can make someone want to numb the feelings with self-medication methods; like drugs or alcohol.
  • Depression: Depression is a serious mental health issue that is often seen alongside addiction. Thought from depression cause people to sleep too much, lose interest in their usual hobbies, or struggle to remain focused. With all this happening, many turn to using substances again.
  • Experiencing physical pain: just like psychological pain, physical pain causes people to relapse.
  • Self-pit: lots of people feel sorry for themselves, and rightly so, that they can no longer face attending parties or go to the pub with their friends. Feeling this way and dwelling on the negatives in their lives can be dangerous for their recovery.

Being unemployed: research has found that more people relapse when they are unemployed. This could be down to not having enough responsibilities to take care of themselves for with the added free time.