Tag: addiction

Why Do Addicts Relapse When Things Are Good?

Why do addicts relapse when things are good? is a question we may ask ourselves. Many people abuse alcohol and other drugs in an attempt to cope with stress or failure. In times of despair, they turn to substances as a way to numb themselves to the emotional pain that they can’t address in a healthier manner.

As sad and self-destructive as this is, it makes at least some semblance of sense to many people. They understand that when times are bad, or when someone is having a hard time seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, they may react by making poor decisions.

Often, though, people have trouble comprehending why someone would abuse drugs when their life is going well. Their confusion may be magnified if the person has completed rehab, started building a healthy life in recovery, and then relapsed.

Though they may not put it in these exact words, the question many people have is, “Why do addicts relapse when things are good?”

What Is Relapse?

To understand why an addict may relapse when things are good, we first need to understand what relapses are and why they can occur.

When used in reference to addiction recovery, the term relapse typically refers to an unwanted return to substance use after a period of abstinence. Some people consider any substance use to be a relapse, while others apply the term only to an extended period of drug abuse or the re-emergence of active addiction.

No matter its duration, a relapse represents a setback in a person’s efforts to maintain their recovery.

What Causes People to Relapse?

The feelings, experiences, or events that can cause a person to relapse are often referred to as triggers. Examples of common triggers include stress, anger, breakups or other relationship problems, difficulties at work, financial pressure, and being around people who are drinking or using drugs.

One of the many important lessons a person can learn during addiction treatment is how to identify their triggers. Once a person knows what their triggers are, they can either modify their behavior to avoid them or develop strategies for dealing with them in a manner that doesn’t involve substance use.

Why Do Addicts Relapse When Things Are Good?

In the previous section, our list of triggers included problems and negative emotions. But unpleasant experiences aren’t the only ones that can trigger a relapse.

People don’t use drugs only when life is difficult. Certain substances – especially alcohol – are commonly used to mark important events or to celebrate significant successes.

A champagne toast at a wedding. A team spraying beer in the locker room after winning the Super Bowl. A ceremonial drink to commemorate a reunion with old friends. These are just a few of the many ways that alcohol is incorporated into festive moments.

Thus, one reason why addicts may relapse when things are good is that they’ve become conditioned to associate substance use with times of joy. If they mistakenly believe they can have just one celebratory drink without sabotaging their recovery, their risk of relapse may increase.

Addiction Is a Disease, Not a Behavior

Another reason that addicts may relapse when life appears to be going well is that they have a chronic, progressive disease that requires continued vigilance to control.

We wouldn’t think of asking a person why they had a recurrence of heart problems when they had so much to be happy about, so why would we wonder how a successful person could once again succumb to the symptoms of addiction?

The overwhelming urges that are characteristic of addiction don’t simply fade away when a person gets a good job or moves into a nicer house.

There’s a reason why “one day at a time” is such a popular saying among members of the recovery community. It’s because, no matter how long a person has resisted the urge to abuse alcohol or another drug, they have to remain present and focused every single day in order to protect their recovery.

Healthy Responses to Relapse

Earlier in this post, we described a relapse as a setback in a person’s efforts to maintain their recovery. It’s important to note that we did not equate relapse with failure.

When a person relapses, that doesn’t mean that they’ve failed or that their time in treatment was wasted. Getting professional help for addiction doesn’t guarantee that a person will never relapse. But quality addiction treatment programs will teach people how to respond to relapse in the healthiest possible manner.

Effective strategies for responding to relapse can prevent a temporary setback from turning into a long-term problem.

Depending upon each person’s unique circumstances, the ideal response to a relapse can range from a conversation with a trusted friend to a return to rehab. Other options may include scheduling an extra session with a therapist or becoming more active with an addiction recovery support group.

What’s most important is that the person who had the relapse acknowledges what occurred, takes responsibility for their actions, and makes a plan to get their recovery back on track.

Relapse Prevention Help in Birmingham, Alabama

If you’ve had a relapse, or if you feel that you’re at risk for imminent relapse, please know that there’s no shame in reaching out for professional help. At Birmingham Recovery Center, we understand how challenging it can be to remain abstinent from alcohol and other drugs, and we’re committed to helping those who have encountered obstacles on their recovery journey. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication that is often used to treat people who have been having convulsions, partial seizures, and nerve pain. As is the case with virtually every type of prescription medication, gabapentin use has both beneficial features and certain unpleasant side effects. Common questions about gabapentin’s side effects include, “Can you overdose on gabapentin?” and “Is gabapentin addictive?”

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is the generic name of a drug that is sold under several brand names, including Neurontin, Gabarone, and Gralise. It is sometimes categorized as an anticonvulsant. It may also be included in a relatively new category of medications called gabapentinoids.

Gabapentin was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993. The medication was initially authorized for use by adults. Today, physicians in the United States are permitted to use gabapentin to treat children as well as adults.

Gabapentin use has increased significantly in the United States over the past two decades. One of the main reasons for this increase is that this medication has been seen as a safer option than opioids for treating certain types of pain. However, this does not mean that gabapentin is harmless. Gabapentin can be addictive and misuse may result in dependency and even overdose.

How Does Gabapentin Work?

Gabapentin affects the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter. GABA blocks certain messages from being transmitted throughout the central nervous system. Insufficient GABA production may increase a person’s risk of experiencing seizures and certain other health concerns.

Many medications are designed to interact with areas of the central nervous system that are associated with GABA production and transmission. This includes several anesthetics, sedatives, and muscle relaxants, as well as some medications that treat anxiety and depression. In the case of gabapentin, its impact on the central nervous system can diminish a person’s risk for certain types of seizures. It can also ease nerve pain that is associated with shingles and restless leg syndrome.

What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin?

When gabapentin is used as directed under the supervision of a qualified professional, it can be both safe and effective. However, gabapentin use can lead to a variety of side effects, such as the following:

  • Fever
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired balance and coordination
  • Restlessness

In addition to the effects listed above, gabapentin use has also been associated with some severe side effects, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulties breathing or swallowing
  • Panic attacks
  • Outbursts of anger or violence

Anyone who develops gabapentin side effects may need to consult with their physician or seek immediate medical attention.

Is Gabapentin Dangerous?

Because gabapentin can create a sense of sedation or mild euphoria, some people abuse this drug for recreational purposes. People who abuse gabapentin sometimes use it to enhance the effects of opioids. Whether gabapentin is used alone or in combination with another drug, any recreational abuse of this substance can be extremely dangerous.

The CDC has reported the following statistics about the use and dangers of gabapentin:

  • In 2019, U.S. pharmacies filled more than 69 million prescriptions for gabapentin. Only six other medications were prescribed more frequently than gabapentin in that year.
  • From 2013-2017, the annual number of reports to U.S. poison control centers related to gabapentin increased by 104%.
  • A study of 58,362 overdose deaths from 2019-2020 revealed that 9.7% of those who died from drug overdose had gabapentin in their system.
  • Almost 90% of overdose deaths involving gabapentin also involved at least one opioid.
Is Gabapentin Addictive?

According to a study in the December 2020 issue of the journal Drug Safety, gabapentin misuse and abuse can lead to the development of dependence. This means that gabapentin can be addictive. The 2020 study noted that gabapentin abuse appears to be more common among people who have a history of substance use disorders and certain mental health concerns.

In addition to the risk of gabapentin addiction, people who abuse this medication also expose themselves to an array of additional dangers. For example, those who abuse gabapentin in combination with opioids may have an increased likelihood of drug addiction, overdose, and death.

Polysubstance abuse, the simultaneous misuse of multiple substances, is an extremely dangerous behavior. Anyone who has been abusing multiple substances may be in crisis and should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare provider.

How is Gabapentin Addiction Treated in Birmingham, AL?

People who have become addicted to gabapentin, opioids, or other prescription drugs are often treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Medications may ease the symptoms of withdrawal, address the impact of co-occurring mental health disorders, or treat underlying physical concerns. For example, if a person began abusing gabapentin after receiving a prescription to treat seizures or nerve pain, they may need alternative medical support to help with these concerns.

Therapy can help a person learn to resist the urge to abuse gabapentin or other drugs. During therapy, clients can learn to identify their triggers, which are the events or experiences that may prompt them to abuse gabapentin. Therapy sessions are safe spaces where clients can develop healthier strategies for responding to triggers without resorting to substance abuse.

Begin Treatment for Gabapentin Addiction in Birmingham, Alabama

Addiction to gabapentin or any other prescription drug can have a devastating impact on just about every part of your life. But when you get the care you need, you can achieve true healing in mind, body, and spirit. Birmingham Recovery Center is a valued source of comprehensive care for people who are struggling with gabapentin addiction and other substance use disorders. Give us a call or visit our admissions page to learn more about how we can help.