Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for drug addiction usually isn’t a cure. But addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.
Relapse rates for all substance use disorders such as heroin or alcohol are 40 to 60%, relapse rates actually vary by drug of choice, stage of disease, co-occurring, and process disorders. Therefore, this 40-60% relapse rate is not a valid predictor of an individual’s long-term recovery.
Quitting drug use is just one part of a long and complex recovery process. When people enter treatment, substance abuse has often caused serious consequences in their lives, possibly disrupting their health and how they function in their family lives, at work, and in the community.
What Qualifies as a Relapse?
A relapse is characterized by a return to drug use after an extended period of sobriety. This can mean anything from taking a single hit of marijuana after months of being clean to relapse is defined as a recurrence of symptoms or illness after a period of improvement.