According to the ""Relapse and Recovery: Behavioral Strategies for Change"" report by the Caron Foundation, relapse following treatment for an alcohol and drug addiction is predictable, preventable, and fairly common. It is not supposed to be viewed as a failure, but rather as part of the learning process which helps to eventually lead to recovery. Relapse rates for addictive diseases do not differ significantly from the rates associated with chronic diseases. The relapse rates for addictive diseases range from 50 percent for resumption of heavy use to around 90 percent for a brief amount of use.

Gender is considered to be an important factor when dealing with relapses. Women are less likely to relapse than men because they are more likely to seek treatment and get involved with group counseling. The Caron foundation separates relapse treatment from primary care, admitting those who have acknowledged their condition and maintained their sobriety for at least six months. They should also be familiar with the 12 step recovery process. The treatment includes identifying early warning signs and relapse triggers. Individuals should also be able to develop strategies to help them cope or avoid these triggers.

The potential for a relapse is part of chronic disease. Just as the case is with chemical addictions, patients with diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and asthma usually fail to keep up with their treatments correctly. People with chronic diseases have to adjust their lifestyles and assume responsibility for their own care, just like those who are dealing with addictions to alcohol and drugs. Having access to after care plays a major role in the long term recovery of the individual. More than 60 percent of Caron patients that are able to regularly attend some form of aftercare when they have finished their treatment are able to remain completely abstinent from their substance abuse. This is compared to 40 percent of patients who attend irregularly and 30 percent of patients who do not attend an aftercare program at all.

By understanding how addiction relates to chronic disease and how both are able to relate to the issues that are associated with relapse, individuals can gain a better understanding of their relapse experience and understand that there is a success rate associated with their decision. The most important point to remember is that relapse is not an automatic failure of the pathway to recovery. It is a mistake that addicts must make in order to fully understand the importance of their sobriety. There are many people who experience a relapse and realize that they did not enjoy the substance abuse any longer, but rather wanted to pursue their sobriety even more passionately than before once they really understood what was at risk. If you or someone you know have recently experienced a relapse, it is important to get involved with a program and treatment as soon as possible again. This will help to reduce the chances of another relapse occurring and will help the individual to identify their triggers.

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