While relapse may be common amongst addicts, it may also make it
seem as though the cycle of drug abuse is inevitable and unending.
The cycle of addiction however, is not always unending — it just takes
a long time for the brain to heal. When the levels of important chemicals
are measured in the brains of users who are at various stages of abstinence,
it has been suggested that the newly abstinent users have lower levels of
these chemicals. This can change with addiction treatment. The longer
the addict is without drugs, the more the brain chemistry returns to a
relative state of normalacy.
The main issue is that the return to ‘normal’ may take a very long time,
months or years. There is evidence that the rate of return varies
with the individual. So, we have to cope with the fact that healing
from addiction takes a longer period of time than most can spend
in treatment. Alternately, we can develop new ways, approaches, or
techniques that allow some form of treatment to extend for a long
time. It’s more like a lifestyle change. The particulars of this are left
up to the addict and his or her treatment professionals. Getting
everyone onboard with this duration issue has to happen before
we can realistically address the problem.
Acceptance may hold the key. If somebody is already an addict,
They need to find a way to get off drugs and minimize the damage
they cause. To do that, they likely need the help of a professional.
It can be a long battle. If you are worried that you or someone you
know may become or is becoming an addict, then assess pre-existing
vulnerabilities. Are you worried about a genetic load or predisposition
to drug use? Are you in a difficult environment where drugs are freely
available? These vulnerabilities need to be assessed, perhaps with a
professional, so that your behavior can be adjusted to keep you safe
Drug addiction can be complex, long lasting and complicated to treat.
Relapse prevention can encompass a number of activities that include
behavioral and life style changes as well as taking medications. No
disease is easy to deal with and the vulnerability towards getting sick
again and relapsing may always be there. Staying sober require self-
awareness, vigilance, persistent effort and treatment that works.