The individual usually begins to experience negative emotional responses, such as anger, moodiness, and feelings of anxiety. They may also begin to experience erratic eating and sleeping habits, and their desire for recovery often decreases due to lack of use of their support systems. There are many different philosophies about recovery and relapse, often with opposing principles, that can leave you confused as to which one is the right one. For some, relapse looks negative and indicates weakness.
But this view is considered harmful, as it encourages feelings of guilt and shame that can hinder your ability to recover from a setback. For others, recovery is a process of personal growth that usually involves a couple of setbacks, 2 Instead of seeing a relapse as embarrassing, this perspective views it as a learning experience. After a relapse, many people experience feelings of shame or regret. In addition, you may feel like giving up the fight and giving in to your addiction instead of continuing to work hard and overcome the fleeting desire to consume.
They are normal, but they can create challenges to creating a drug-free life. Some relapses have a relatively small impact on what you can do on a day-to-day basis and your symptoms can be quite mild and improve within a few weeks. However, other relapses may be more serious or require hospitalization followed by a recovery period. Recovery from relapse usually occurs within the first two to three months, but can continue up to 12 months.
Our bodies and brains are programmed to repeat activities that seem pleasant to us. After years of repeating a behavior over and over again, a behavior that triggers the signals of “feeling food in our brain”, it is very likely that we will fall back into that pattern at some point. The repetitive use of substances is something that our body gets used to, on what it depends and continues to desire even after drugs have stopped being used. When someone gives in to these cravings and uses after being sober or in rehabilitation, it is considered a relapse.