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Why Do Drug Relapses Happen?

The journey towards sobriety is often difficult, and most people experience setbacks on the way. This includes relapses, which occur when a person goes back to their drug of choice after establishing sobriety.

Relapses can be disappointing, but they’re a natural part of the recovery process. However, you can reduce your chance of experiencing a relapse by understanding why they occur. With this knowledge, you can better avoid relapse triggers in the future.

Common Causes of Drug Relapses

Every person is different, which means their recovery journeys will vary greatly. However, there are some common relapse factors to consider:

  • Relationship Issues – Conflicts with friends and loved ones can push a person away from sobriety. This is especially true when conflicts are ongoing.


  • Daily Stress – Stress caused by work or family issues is another common relapse factor. Many people turn back to their drug of choice to alleviate stress.


  • Lack of Support – Support from friends and family is an essential part of the recovery process. Without such support, a person can lack motivation to remain on track.


  • Mental Health Problems – Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can also contribute to relapses, especially when a person isn’t receiving therapy or counseling.

Some people are also tempted to use drugs and alcohol due to exposure to triggering events or people. For instance, spending time around people who use drugs can easily lead to a relapse.

How to Avoid Relapses When Possible

While you can’t always avoid relapses, certain strategies can help you manage your level of risk:

  • Take steps to lower stress in your daily life whenever possible
  • Seek out counseling and therapy for additional support during your recovery
  • Try to establish positive relationships with your friends and family
  • Address relationship issues in a reasonable and well-intentioned way

Reach Your Recovery Goals with Our Team

Ongoing drug and alcohol treatment is also key in maintaining sobriety. In Albuquerque, Duke City Recovery Toolbox provides essential assistance thanks to our outpatient programs and mental health services. Patients at our clinic can also work with peer support specialists, who provide direct insight into the recovery process. Contact us today to learn more or call (505) 224-9777 to schedule an appointment.