Why is There a High Risk of Overdose During a Relapse?

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Accidental overdose is a high risk for an addict who also relapsed. There are countless incidents of an individual overdosing during their first relapse after a period of sobriety. There are many factors as to why there is a high risk for overdose during a relapse?

How Common is Relapse After Rehab?

Relapse is part of the disease of addiction. It doesn’t have to occur, but more often than not addicts relapse. Some are able to achieve sobriety after a relapse but some are not so lucky and sadly succumb to overdose. Early recovery is a vulnerable time for addicts. It can take months for an individual to develop impulse control and develop the necessary skills to cope with everyday life. During this vulnerable time, a relapse often occurs. That is why it is imperative that the individual have a strong support system during this vulnerable time. Refraining from using a drug or drinking is not enough to stay sober. When an individual has been sober for a period of time, a relapse can be fatal.

Accidental Overdose

An overdose occurs when a toxic amount of a drug overwhelms the body, leading to unconsciousness, coma and death. The risk of an accidental overdose is at its highest during a relapse. An individual who is addicted to drugs has developed tolerance to a particular drug. Over time, the addict has needed to take higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects. After even a brief period of abstinence, that tolerance has been reduced. When an addict makes the decision to relapse, they often take the same dose of the drug they were accustomed to prior to their sobriety. This can result in a fatal overdose. Due to these dangerous issues, it is crucial than an addict develop a strong foundation in sobriety and a strong support system to avoid a potentially fatal relapse.

Most Common Triggers For Relapse

Difficult emotions: addicts have relied on the mind-altering effects of drugs and alcohol for a long time. Dealing with life without the mind-altering effects of drugs and alcohol can be extremely challenging, especially in early sobriety. Fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness and anger can all be triggers for relapse. While everyone experiences negative emotions from time to time, addicts need to develop specific ways to handle such emotions in order to avoid relapse.

People and places related to the addiction: a large trigger for addicts is being around people who are engaging in his or her addiction. Witnessing others using drugs or drinking is one of the most common triggers for addicts. That is why it is recommended that addicts refrain from engaging with people who still engage in his or her addiction and to avoid locations that may cause triggers. People who are engaging in the addiction aren’t the only ones that may cause an addict to feel triggered. Strained personal relationships with family or loved ones can contribute to addicts experiencing triggers.

Stress: Addicts often rely on their drug of choice to relieve stress. Without the proper coping mechanisms, stress can be a major trigger for relapse. Exercise, mediation and seeking help when needed are all recommended during times of stress.

Celebrations: triggers don’t always occur due to negative experiences and emotions. Times of celebration can often trigger an addict to use. Birthdays, holidays, large social gatherings and parties can all cause triggers. These occasions often lead the addict to believe that they may be able to control their using in these situations. This is dangerous thinking for an addict. It is important than an addict refrain from attending such gatherings if they lack the appropriate coping mechanisms. It is often suggested to bring a sober support with you to such events.

Concerned About Yourself or a Loved One?

While relapse may be an unfortunate consequence of addiction, it can be avoided. Relapses can be fatal. If you or someone you know needs help from addiction or you would like more information, do not hesitate to contact us at (888)357-7577.



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