Addiction Treatment
Addiction Treatment

What Should I Do If I Relapse Back to Opioid Abuse?

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Medically reviewed: 01/31/2019
Last updated: 05/13/2019
Author: Medical Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Relapsing back to drug abuse, especially to opioid use, can be very dangerous. This is why it is important to follow a number of rules that can help you to safely remain on the road to recovery and to avoid harmful consequences.

Relapse is Common

Unfortunately, relapse is a common part of addiction recovery, and many individuals go through it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Relapse rates for addiction resemble those of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.” However, recovering addicts must still do everything they can and try to avoid this result during addiction treatment. If you do experience a relapse, remember it is common, and you can get back on track with your recovery.

Seek Treatment Immediately

After relapsing, you should get help immediately, as the repercussions of this are often dire. As stated by the National Library of Medicine, “Most opiate overdose deaths occur in persons who have just withdrawn or detoxed.” This means they are people relapsing.

Opioid Abuse

Remember that relapse is common and a normal part of the recovery process.

Your immediate response should be to call 911––especially if you have taken a large dose of the drug or have begun to show signs of overdose like:

  • Breathing problems or slowed breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Extremely small pupils (often called pinpoint pupils)

If you do not experience these issues, seek regular addiction treatment. You may need to attend a residential program, particularly if you never have before; the controlled environment will likely be safer for you at this unsteady time. Attending another treatment program is also beneficial for those who experience relapse because it helps them get back on track with their recoveries and avoid further abuse while in rehab.

Ask a Friend for Help

It can be valuable to ask your friends, parents, spouse, children, or other loved ones for help after relapsing. They should know your situation; if they support your recovery, they can help you to find the right treatment option, as well as help you to avoid another relapse. They can also pick up the slack with things that may otherwise not get done when you are attempting to recover from your relapse.

Remember: It’s Part of the Process

Though you should absolutely seek treatment again and do what you can to avoid further abuse of opioid drugs, remember that relapse is common and it is part of the process of recovery for many addicts. It is good to understand this, rather than feeling like you are starting over again from the very beginning of your recovery; instead, keep in mind that you have much more wisdom and a better idea of what helps you stay sober and safe.