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Alcohol Dependence, Withdrawal and Relapse

It is a very sad story about Lena. She needed drugs to function and to survive. She was a very talented woman. For a long time, she tried to do both. She tried to keep her job and to be a healthy functioning persona. She did drugs in her off time.

There never was an off time. She always needed drugs to function and it became a necessary part of her life to survive. She couldn't show up at work as she was sick all the time.

It came to a point where she just grew to accept that life is okay. Lena just kept lowering her standards of what functioning was. Eventually, she lost everything. She had lost her career, her house and everything. She went in and out of treatment so many times.

Lena really can't count. But when she came to clean, she did get the care she needed. She probably got the right kind of treatment. She doesn't know why it worked when others didn’t. Lena has been sober ever since. The moral is very clear, relapse doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy again or stop doing any treatment. You never know which treatment may change your life.

Concept of Relapse

A study has been published on U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health regarding relapse for both natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders. It was pointed out that much less consideration has been paid to relapse rates among those who achieve short-term remission. In treated samples, approximate long-term relapse rates have varied between 20 % and 80 %.

The aim of treating addiction is basically to attain a sustained recovery, to create a new life, in which it is easier and more rewarding not to return to addiction-related behaviours. But the reality is that 70-90 % of people in recovery experience at least one setback before achieving sustained abstinence.

That said, relapse shouldn't be considered a necessary part of recovery nor should it be used as an excuse for relapsing. However, people who relapse gain nothing by beating themselves up about it. Frustrated family and friends won't accomplish anything by criticizing either.

The most productive response that will get the individual back on the road to recovery in the shortest amount of time is to use the setback as a learning experience. A slip is an indication that some aspects of the current treatment plan aren't working or difficult for the individual to adhere to. Relapse rates for addictive diseases which involve the brain are similar to rates for chronic diseases that affect other parts of the body.

Value of Response

When someone with a chronic condition like diabetes, hypertension, or asthma suffers a relapse, the typical response is to explore the reasons for the setback, re-assess treatment and make adjustments as needed. Experts encourage a similarly constructive response toward addiction relapse that entails:-

i. Responding immediately

ii. Dealing with negative feelings surrounding the setback,

iii. Determining what went wrong, and;

iv. Making necessary adjustments to prevent a recurrence.

Following books will help in achieving the goal of complete recovery:

In the end, let’s see this amazing video to save us from Alcohol use disorder.


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