How To Determine If You Should Go Back To Rehab

For those struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), relapse is often part of the recovery process. This kind of setback does not signal the end of the road to recovery, even if professional rehabilitation has already been attempted in the past. Because an AUD can frequently require ongoing treatment, choosing to go back to rehab is always an option.

To determine if going back to rehab is necessary, it’s important to understand the definition of relapse, the qualities of lasting treatment, and the individual’s current situation.

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What Is Relapse?

In recovery, a relapse occurs when someone has had a period of abstinence followed by a return to alcohol or drug use. Relapse can occur for many reasons, including a return to previous conditions, higher stress levels, and changes to social group or environment. With so many possible triggers, an AUD relapse is not out of the ordinary as 40-60% of substance users experience a relapse. This statistic is on par with other chronic illnesses like hypertension and asthma that also require changing deeply rooted behaviors.

Despite the commonality of relapsing, drinking alcohol post treatment can be more dangerous due to a loss of tolerance. When consuming alcohol, the normal function of brain cells is disrupted. The brain reacts to this change and adjusts its normal operation to compensate. Over time, the feelings associated with drinking alcohol lessen due to a built-up tolerance, so a larger amount is needed to achieve the same effect. Early in the treatment process, this tolerance is lost which means the body can’t handle the large amount of alcohol that it could previously handle.

Things To Consider When Going Back To Rehab

For some, an AUD requires continuing treatment. Because of this, going back to rehab is often just another one of the steps to lasting recovery. A return to treatment allows those with alcohol addictions to assess their needs and modify goals to meet their present situation. This kind of evaluation and modification can be a recurring and long-term process. It is not unusual for it to take multiple attempts at rehabilitation to overcome an addiction.

There are several additional factors to consider about treatment when deciding to go back. Because alcohol abuse alters the brain’s basic structure and function, negative changes can persist even after alcohol use has ceased. More treatment may be needed to continue correcting the changes that have been made to the brain’s normal operation. An AUD can also be accompanied by other medical, psychological, vocational, or legal issues. Rehab facilities can assist with these additional needs of a patient while also treating an AUD.

The services provided, as well as the therapeutic approaches, may not work as effectively for some people compared to others. Returning to treatment with an open-mind provides the opportunity to try a new approach for sustaining recovery.

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Evaluate Your Current Situation

Individuals considering going back to rehab need to assess their own current situation. Ultimately, one must determine if they can afford to go back as rehabilitation can be costly and time-consuming. There are other treatment options available for those who can’t afford rehab or cannot be removed from their daily life due to current responsibilities or previous commitments.

Luckily, there are plenty of other options for treatment when a relapse occurs. Outpatient treatment programs are more affordable and can treat an AUD with little impact on daily life. Patients can return to their homes each night after treatment; this is ideal for those with families or jobs that they are unable to leave for rehabilitation. For many, continuing care after treatment can help lessen the chance of relapse and the need for more rehabilitation.

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Signs That Going Back To Rehab Is A Good Idea

Because setbacks are a natural stage of the recovery process, being persistent and self-aware is advantageous. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of an AUD and be willing to admit when more treatment is needed. Identifying the unhealthy behaviors associated with drinking alcohol may be easier for those with previous treatment but also could be more difficult to accept. Examples of indicators that signify needing to go back to rehab include:

  • Drinking more or longer than intended.
  • Wanting to cut back or stop drinking but being unable to.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking, being sick, or getting over the effects of drinking.
  • Having frequent cravings to drink.
  • Drinking interferes with responsibilities.
  • Continuing to drink despite the negative consequences.
  • Giving up other enjoyable activities to drink.
  • Ending up in unsafe situations due to alcohol consumption.
  • Drinking larger quantities because of a built-up tolerance.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.

Making The Decision To Go Back To Rehab

The goal of rehabilitation is to help those with alcohol addictions find their way back to a productive, functioning life. By counteracting addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and overall behavior, those struggling with an AUD can one day return to their family, workplace, and community. Those who receive treatment are likely to decrease their chances of participating in criminal activity and improve the occupational, social, and psychological aspects of their life.

Relapse and multiple rounds of treatment are not abnormal for those struggling with an addiction. Because of this, going back to rehab is not considered a failure. It’s an opportunity to learn about how one has changed and how treatment needs to be adjusted. Addiction can be a lifelong struggle, so an enduring sense of determination and willingness to learn and adapt are essential to achieving long-term recovery.

If you’re considering going back to rehab, contact a treatment provider for more information.

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