Individuals suffering from substance abuse have a higher risk of injury as a result of their addiction. The chemicals that they consume, willingly even when they know their dangers drastically change the way the brain and body functions. As different drugs have different effects, different drugs also range in severity of threat. One out of four deaths in the United States is the result of illicit drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. There is an average of 570,000 Americans that die from drug-related causes per year; making drug-related deaths the top ten leading causes of death. This problem is supplemented by a severe deficiency for substance abuse treatment. There is about 8.9% of Americans that require treatment for substance abuse, but only about 1% receives treatment. Drugs like Meth and heroin are two of the most dangers drugs. Heroin addiction is steadily rising in the United States, which is contributing to the increase in drug-related deaths. Relapsing during heroin addiction recovery is higher than other drugs because of the strength and intensity of the drug. Individuals recovering from a heroin addiction can relapse as many as 8 to 10 times before maintaining sobriety.
Relapse vs. Lapse
Relapse is the repeated reuse of a drug after a period of sobriety. It is the return to continued drug use for a particular time. A lapse is a one time slip. Individuals who lapse in their recovery have a momentary slip in their sobriety, use drugs again, but return to sobriety/recovery immediately. Roughly 25%-50% of individuals who begin treatment for substance abuse will relapse within the first two years after getting treatment. Studies have shown that the best way to maintain sobriety is by abstaining from drug use. Those who refrain from drug consumption for five years have a 15% chance of relapsing, while those sober for around a year have a 50% chance of relapsing. Those individuals who are in their first year of sobriety have a 67% chance of relapsing.
Factors of Relapse
The factors that cause someone to relapse differ from each and are unique to their environments. When an addict began their substance abuse can play a significant role in whether or not they relapse. If they started abusing drugs early in life, then they are less likely to have developed mentally and emotionally well enough to have the proper maturity and strength to remain sober. The length of time an individual abused drug is also a factor in sobriety. The longer they abused drugs, the more damage they would have caused. Many addictions are caused by or lead to mental illness, which when not treated correctly can increase the likelihood of relapse. The environment an individual lives can affect their ability to regress. After rehab, if a recovering addict goes back to hanging out where and with whom they abused drugs, then they are more likely to relapse. Proper treatment centers prepare recovering addicts with aftercare programs that encourage strong and elaborate support systems. If a recovering addict does not create a good support system, then they are more likely to relapse. Lastly, relapse is more liable to occur when a user does not commit to or receive appropriate treatment.
Factors of Heroin Relapse Death
Every drug reacts differently in different individual’s body, but one thing remains relative; drugs affect the reward center of the brain. When an addict does drugs, they increase the pleasure sensation in the reward part of the brain, so when the drugs wear off they need to re-consume to achieve desired euphoric feeling. The longer an addict uses, the higher their tolerance becomes and the more they need to achieve euphoria; which is never the same as the first time (which they are trying to recreate). Overdose on heroin is the result of an addict that takes too much of the drug to the point where the body cannot metabolize the dose. Drugs depress the respiration rates, which causes slowed breathing or even stopped breathing. Recovering heroin addicts have a 78% percent chance of relapse. Relapse death from heroin is common because of the intensity of the drug and the recovered addicts significantly reduced tolerance. When they relapse they take too much (what they would otherwise have taken before treatment), which is too much for their current metabolic rate.
If you or someone you know is recovering from a heroin addiction it is essential to remain in contact with your support system as much as possible. If at any moment you feel weak or likely to not resist relapse contact, someone, immediately; it could save your life.
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