26 Jun Five Triggers That Could Lead Your Teen to Relapse After Drug Rehab
Some say the most difficult part of rehabilitation is not the rehabilitation itself, but the period of time immediately afterward. After weeks of having a constant support system of people guiding, encouraging, and educating a teen who has an addiction, that recovering addict is sent back into the world from which he or she came. The same troubles remain at school, work, or home and the youths are possibly put back into the same environment that influenced their substance abuse in the first place. Now they have to keep working at recovering with a little less support; yet, hopefully finding help in loving family members, friends and local support groups.
There are certain circumstances that may trigger relapse after rehabilitation. Awareness of these triggers may help teens have a more successful recovery and assist their family and friends in steering their loved one away from these pitfalls.
Five Triggers of Relapse
When teens stop attending their recovery meetings, it often leads to relapse. Some quit because they are certain that they are doing just fine. Their pride may swell so much that it overrides the advice to keep attending meetings even if they seem to be back to normal. Recovery is a longer process than many teens realize. In this fast-paced world of instant-messaging, fast food and rapid responses, teens expect everything to be immediate. A false sense of recovery can threaten them when they think they are able to “handle” drinking alcohol or taking drugs again.
- An Environment of Substance Use
For some teens, it’s the environment they return to that can pull them back into relapse. If they still have easy access to drugs from friends or family, it will make it more difficult for them to control their cravings. Old friends may try to use peer pressure to get them to try “just one” drink or pill, but that will be all it takes to get them hooked again. Even at home, there may be risks as well-meaning parents might leave prescription drugs out where a teen can be tempted.
Some teens return from rehab feeling that when they used drugs or alcohol, it was the only thing that brought excitement to their lives. These teens need to be exposed to other activities that can bring them a natural thrill, such as rock-climbing, skiing, white-water rafting, zip-lining, biking, and other thrilling sports that may help them find that lost excitement.
When teens isolate themselves because of loneliness or fear of being around the friends who got them involved in substance abuse, they may be unintentionally starting to shut out everyone—even those who can help and support them in their recovery. They need to keep attending their 12-step meetings and interacting with those who can share the same fears, hopes and successes in their recovery.
- Stress and Anxiety
Returning to life’s everyday stresses can cause relapse. Some teens turn back to their substance to try and alleviate anxiety or tension, rather than turning to a mental health specialist who could help them manage and alleviate their anxiety safely.
The best way for teens to avoid relapse is to keep attending their 12-step meetings and to follow their relapse prevention plan that they designed during their drug rehab. With support from family and friends and knowledge of these most common triggers of relapse, teens can make good decisions that can help them keep working toward recovery. It will take time, patience, focus, and determination. It is not a quick fix—but it is possible.
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