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Relapse is part of the process of recovery. It happens, if it is looked like part of the process, it's easier to get back on the wagon. Addicts may relapse 5 times, or 10 times, or no times. Everybody is different and every drug addict has a different sustenance capacity. For some, there is the very real danger that this time might be the time the drug or the way it's used, kills you. No addict wants to relapse. The main reason is that they don't stay in treatment long enough, and they don't take their aftercare recommendations seriously (Koob, & Volkow, 2016) Treatment is ideally a slow and progressive process of stepping down the amount of structure while increasing the amount of self-motivated involvement with a recovery community and process. This process for its best effect will usually take about 12-18 months of hard work on the part of the patient.
There are many personal and cultural and political reasons why very few people follow the aftercare advice they are given. According to a statistic that across all medicine, only about 0 of patients take all the recommendations from their medical professionals. They do not understand the severity of the illness with which they are struggling. Patients do not appreciate that the illness of addiction is chronic, that it is lifelong, with symptoms occurring and re-occurring throughout their life even though they are abstinent from substances.
Patients tend to relapse because there is a physiological and chemical change in an addict's brain that makes them crave the satisfaction the drug provides. It makes the heart beat faster, makes them sweat, creates distractions, and it makes the patient nauseated to be without the drug. The goal of recovery is to minimize the effects of the drug because it never goes away.
Koob, G. F., & Volkow, N. D. (2016). Neurobiology of addiction: a neurocircuitry analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(8), 760-773.
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