Chronic Relapse

We Do Recover

Chronic relapse can be defined as the continuous return to a previous addiction after treatments have been conducted. Chronic relapsers need more treatment and a clearly defined sustainable recovery strategy that lists behaviours they adhere to. Chronic relapse refers to a pattern where an individual repeatedly goes through cycles of treatment, recovery, and relapse in the context of substance abuse. Unlike isolated incidents of relapse, chronic relapse is characterized by a recurring cycle that suggests a deeper issue within the recovery process. It highlights the chronic nature of addiction, reinforceing that addiction is a relapsing disorder. Despite the negative connotation of the term, chronic relapse does not signify a permanent state but rather a pattern that can be broken with the right approach to treatment and support.

The significance of chronic relapse is that it’s important to recognize that addiction is a chronic disease. Despite best efforts, even with the support of rehab and addiction treatment, many individuals may experience setbacks along the way. Chronic relapse occurs when someone repeatedly returns to substance abuse despite previous attempts to quit. Relapse, in general, involves a process that can start with seemingly harmless behaviors, such as reconnecting with old acquaintances from substance-using days, and can escalate to full-blown substance use. Warning signs precede the actual relapse, offering opportunities for intervention through coping skills, support networks, or professional help. Recognising these signs and understanding the process of relapse are important in preventing it.

It’s important to remember that chronic relapse is not indicative of failure or a lack of willpower. Addiction is a complex and challenging disease that affects the brain, making it difficult for individuals to control their urges. It is also important to recognize that relapse is a common experience shared by many people in recovery. Chronic relapse occurs for various reasons, including underestimating the duration and complexity of the recovery process and assuming recovery can be “completed” within a fixed time frame. Factors such as maintaining connections with substance users, exposure to triggers, isolation, untreated health issues, inadequate support, and low self-efficacy can increase the risk of relapse.

Various factors contribute to chronic relapse, including unresolved emotional issues, environmental triggers, and inadequate aftercare support. Sometimes, individuals may not receive the necessary tools or ongoing care to maintain long-term sobriety, leading to a higher likelihood of relapse.

However, it is essential to understand that chronic relapse does not mean you’re incapable of achieving lasting recovery. It may take time, patience, and willingness to explore different strategies and treatment options. By learning from each relapse and understanding the triggers that contribute to it, you can enhance your ability to prevent future setbacks.

In response to the challenges posed by chronic relapse, many addiction treatment programs and facilities now emphasize comprehensive aftercare plans. These plans often include ongoing therapy, support groups, and additional resources to help individuals maintain their sobriety after leaving rehab. By extending care beyond the initial treatment phase, these programs aim to reduce the risk of chronic relapse.

Why Do People Relapse?

  • High stress levels, combined with inadequate coping mechanisms, often lead individuals to seek solace in drugs and alcohol. Negative emotions like anger, anxiety, depression, and boredom can amplify the likelihood of relapse. Stressors from work or personal relationships are particularly notorious for pushing individuals towards relapse.
  • Interpersonal conflicts with family and friends can generate emotions such as anger, sadness, and frustration. If these emotions are not effectively managed, they pose a significant risk for relapse, with conflicts being a factor in over half of all relapse instances.
  • Encountering triggers is a significant risk factor for relapse. Triggers can be social or environmental cues that evoke memories of substance use, such as interacting with individuals who use drugs or encountering specific sights, smells, or locations linked to past use. These cues can ignite powerful cravings that might result in a relapse.
  • Pain management for injuries, accidents, or medical conditions often involves narcotics, which can be particularly risky for those with a history of substance abuse. Despite the necessity of managing pain, the high addictive potential of opioids poses a danger for relapse, especially without strict medical supervision.
  • Peer influence is another critical factor; being around family or friends who consume drugs and alcohol can create strong urges to use, making it harder to maintain sobriety. The presence of drug-using peers is a substantial predictor of relapse.
  • A lack of supportive social networks can exacerbate the difficulty of staying sober. Without positive support, coping without substances becomes more challenging.
  • Interestingly, positive emotions can also be a relapse trigger. Feelings of happiness might lead to a desire to enhance these emotions through substance use. Additionally, celebrations and special occasions, often accompanied by alcohol, can tempt individuals into relapse.
  • Self-efficacy, or the confidence in one’s ability to maintain sobriety, plays a important role in recovery. Individuals with low self-efficacy are at a greater risk of relapse, while those who feel in control of their sobriety are better equipped to handle challenges.

To combat relapse and support recovery, strategies such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, ensuring adequate rest, and building a strong support system are vital. Exercise can improve both physical and psychological health, reducing relapse risk factors like stress and improving the brain’s reward system. Adequate rest and a strong, supportive network of family and friends can provide the emotional and social foundation needed for a sustained recovery from substance use disorders.

    Addiction and Mental Health

    Treatment Services

    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specializing in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa, and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance, the organization facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualized care that addresses the physical, mental, and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Our rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This rehab option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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