Whenever beauty is mentioned, we think about pleasant things, places and experiences, women. People do not refer to anything unpleasant or undesirable as beautiful, at least as far as I know.
Concerning the word ‘Relapse’, What do we think of when it is mentioned? Let me know in the comments.
What does it even mean in this context?
Relapse in relation to substance use disorder simply means that, an individual who had stopped drinking or using drugs for a period has returned to a total state of using, which has started to affect every area of their life and thus is causing them not to function optimally.
So, you would be wondering, what could possibly be beautiful about relapse? It depends on what you choose to see. The Beautiful or the not so pleasant side?
Let’s look at some of the beauty in it.
1. The Individual is Willing to Make a Change
For someone to be said to have relapsed, the person must have been abstinent for a period. That is good news! It means that, the individual thought carefully about his/her life and realized that it was not going in the right direction and therefore, made the decision to get into treatment.
This fact is a good foundation to build on. Now the individual has experienced ‘life in active drug use’ and ‘life in active abstinence’, and has the ability to assess both situations. This assessment when objectively done sometimes with the help of a professional or a loved one, will highlight the benefits of ‘life in active abstinence’, (examples are improved health and well being and others which may differ for each person), which will eventually serve as motivation for someone to go back into treatment.
2. It is Not as Disappointing as it sounds
Yes, exactly, it is actually very kind of common in all chronic diseases.
If you are not new to my blog, you would know by now that substance use disorder is a chronic disease.
As a matter of fact, the statistics on relapse for substance use disorders are not as gloomy in comparison to other chronic diseases like Asthma and Hypertension. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), percentage of clients who relapse for substance use disorder ranges from 40% – 60%, for Asthma and Hypertension, relapse is likely to occur in 50% – 70% of patients.
Relapse in persons with substance use disorders should be seen as a need to offer another round of treatment, just like it is done in other chronic diseases and not seen as a failure in treatment.
3. An Opportunity to Try Something New
Substance use disorder is a very complex disease. It does not only affect an individual’s physical body, or brain. It affects the individual emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually and in many other ways that can not be imagined.
This is generally so because, the reasons why people may start using substances may be borne from a need to satisfy certain physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual needs.
These factors, in addition to the fact that, every individual has unique needs and therefore needs very specifically tailored treatment means that, an initial treatment plan may become inadequate or redundant when initial needs with which the individual entered treatment changes.
Instead of looking at relapse as a failure of the individual or the treatment program, it should be seen as an opportunity to try out new techniques and coping skills to address current needs.
After a storm there may be flooding, there may also be a beautiful rainbow. The storm of a relapse is no different!