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How to Know When You Need Another Visit to Treatment

You’ve finished rehab. You’ve returned to your normal life. You’re working through the steps of recovery. You’re trying to reestablish relationships that you’ve damaged and are trying to make new ones. You’ve developed a new way of thinking and dealing with your problems. You’re establishing a new life. Why should you go back into treatment? Nobody wants to return to rehab, but sometimes, a second round of rehab is exactly what you need to stay clean and sober. How do you know when you need more treatment? Consider the following scenarios.

How to Know When You Need Another Visit to Treatment

In the mental phase of relapse, you think of using again and glamorize past drug-using life

Relapse doesn’t just “happen.” You don’t just call up an old drug-using buddy and ask for a stash of his best drug. Relapse is actually a process that you can identify by its markers.

According to a 2009 article from The Examiner, the three phases of relapse are:

  • Emotional – In emotional relapse, you haven’t used drugs yet. You’re not even thinking about using again. However, unchecked emotions can set you up for a relapse. If you’re struggling with anxiety, anger, depression or other feelings, this might signal that danger is ahead. Unacknowledged and unchecked emotions can set you on a downward slide.
  • Mental – In this phase of relapse, you’re having a mental battle in your head. At first, you have a fleeting or passing thought of using again. If left to itself, that thought will turn into constantly thinking about using. Mental relapse involves thinking about your former drug-using friends, places and things. You’ll glamorize your past drug-using life. You may lie to others, especially anyone who keeps you accountable. If you plan to relapse so as to avoid others, then that’s a major red flag to get back into rehab as soon as possible. Relapse is looming large.
  • Physical – Actual, physical relapse occurs soon after mental relapse. This is the return to drugs in any form. Relapse could be one re-occurrence with drugs or a downward spiral into full addiction again.

When You Have Relapsed

Relapse is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 40-60 percent of people of recovering drug addictions will relapse at least once. This rate of relapse is similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure. Nobody stresses over going back to the doctor when they’re having problems with these chronic illnesses, so don’t see relapse as a sign of failure. It’s simply a sign that you need to revisit your recovery plan, which is best done with a return to rehab.

When Others Recommend Returning to Rehab

One of the critical aspects of addiction recovery is your willingness to be honest about your history, feelings and behavior. Having other people hold you accountable for those things is important in recovery. Other people who are invested in your life and who spend a lot of time with you are able to see your blind spots. That is, they can see areas of weakness that you cannot. They may be able to spot the signs of impending relapse (see above). They may also be able to recognize when you are responding poorly to stressors and other triggers. This is especially true of family members who are around you all of the time. If one person suggests returning to rehab, you may not need to be concerned. However, if several people from different areas of your life (work, church, friendships, family, etc.) all recommend that you return to rehab, you need to see that as an indication that you need some more time in treatment.

When You Feel Overly Confident

According to a 2012 article from Psychology Today, many recovering addicts feel a sense of confidence, energy and clarity in the early stages of recovery, especially after the worst part of withdrawal is over. They are feeling emotions and energy that they’ve not experienced in a long time. This gives them a little too much confidence. If you leave rehab at this point, chances are you will return in time — and you need to. Those initial feelings will not last. You will eventually feel more negative feelings, intense cravings, and external pressure and stress. Even if you’ve finished rehab, you may need to return again if you begin to feel overly confident about your progress in recovery.

Don’t Be Embarrassed

When thinking about returning to rehab, one of the biggest hurdles you will face is embarrassment. You may think others are judging you because you need extra help. You may wonder if there’s something wrong with you. You may feel like you have disappointed your family and loved ones. Those feelings are normal. Just keep in mind that the people who care about you and are invested in your future are concerned about your long-term recovery, and they would rather you return to treatment and get the help you need than you try to impress them and act like your recovery is on track when it’s not.

Getting Help For Your Addiction

If you want help deciding whether to return to treatment, we can help. You can call our toll free helpline any time. We’re available 24 hour a day, seven days a week. We can help you decide what to do next. We can even help you find a new treatment center if you feel you need to try something different. Call us today.

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