No one gets sober with the intention of relapsing, but it happens. In fact, it happens quite a lot.\r\n\r\nAddiction relapse rates hover between 40% and 60%. Try not to beat yourself up. While you shouldn\u2019t diminish the significance of a drug relapse, it\u2019s what you do next that\u2019s most important.\r\nI Relapsed. Now What?\r\nFew things feel worse than relapsing after you\u2019ve put so much time and energy into getting sober. You can turn this around though, and be stronger for it. If you\u2019re wondering if drug relapse means you need to go back to inpatient addiction treatment, here are some questions to help guide your decision.\r\nWas it a Slip or a Full-Blown Drug Relapse?\r\nSome recovery communities like SMART Recovery, distinguish between a slip and relapse. A slip is when you briefly re-engage with drug abuse, immediately feel regret and start taking steps to get back on track. Slips may seemingly come out of the blue. Some examples could be a loved one\u2019s death, a highly triggering social situation or a sudden loss such as a relationship ending or job termination. You didn\u2019t see the trigger coming. You were a bit blindsided by it. Some people look at slips as reminders that life is uncontrollable. They take them as warning signs to be more diligent with recovery work and relapse-prevention plans. SMART Recovery provides tips on ways to do this. If you\u2019re able to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and are confident this was a one-time event, returning to drug addiction treatment may not be necessary.\r\n\r\nA drug relapse where drug addicts return to old patterns of alcohol and drug abuse is more serious. This could go on for days or weeks. You may isolate, reconnect with \u201cdrug friends,\u201d skip support meetings and engage in all around unhealthy behavior. Even if you haven\u2019t crossed that line into repeated drug abuse, but using again makes you homesick for your old lifestyle, drug rehab is likely the right decision.\r\nWhat\u2019s Your Support Network Like?\r\nIf you\u2019re like most people in addiction recovery, you\u2019ll agree recovery \u201ctakes a village.\u201d You need to lean on others especially when you\u2019re facing a drug addiction relapse. Research shows family support can be a critical part of staying sober. Social support and involvement in sober communities like Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs are linked to a greater sense of self-efficacy, less stress and more success in the recovery process. They also recognize relapse warning signs and can intervene before you spiral back into drug abuse. They\u2019ll offer moral support and help you find treatment options. Only you know what type of help you need from others. For people in recovery, a strong support system often includes a sponsor, peers in recovery, empathetic friends and family, and behavioral health professionals. If you\u2019re feeling like you are going to have to walk this road alone, it might make sense to return to the safe, supportive environment of a treatment center.\r\nDo You Understand Why You Relapsed?\r\nThe old saying, \u201cYou don't know where you're going until you know where you've been,\u201d rings true in recovery too. Relapses occur for different reasons. Being able to identify why you experienced a drug relapse is critical. You must understand the reasons you relapsed in order to move forward and prevent it in the future. Maybe it was a stressful event. Perhaps it was as simple as boredom. Many times it\u2019s a combination of several factors. Research shows that cognitive behavioral approaches can help prevent an alcohol or drug relapse from spiraling. Work with your therapist to identify the thought patterns or events that triggered your return to drug abuse. They\u2019ll help you reapply the tools you\u2019ve learned to change your thinking and behaviors around those circumstances as well as the drug relapse in general.\r\nWhat Kinds of Substances Are You Using?\r\nWhen you\u2019re off a substance for a period of time, your tolerance drops. Your body can\u2019t handle the amount of drugs that used to get you high. A relapse on drugs of any kind can be dangerous, but some are especially lethal. Opioids are one of the most risky drugs for overdosing. The CDC tied opioids to 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017. That accounts for more than 67% of all drug overdose deaths. There\u2019s a real risk for people with opioids to overdose after a period of abstinence because they try to use heroin in similar quantities as before. With a lowered tolerance, effects of drugs like opioids can be deadly. Cocaine is also risky in drug relapse. In one study of inmates who relapsed on drugs after being without them in prison, cocaine accounted for the most overdose deaths.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s impossible to know how much of a drug will cause dangerous consequences, especially when you\u2019re under the influence and chasing the high. You may have made it through this drug relapse, but why risk it? Returning to inpatient treatment might make sense if you abuse drugs with a high risk of overdose like heroin, opioid painkillers, cocaine and benzodiazepines. If you\u2019re using a combination of prescription and illicit drugs this can also be extremely dangerous and you should consider another visit to drug rehab.\r\nAre You Managing Mental Health Issues?\r\nResearchers at Texas Christian University reviewed several studies on substance abuse and mental health disorders. They found that alcohol and drug relapse rates are significantly higher in people with a dual diagnosis. If you have co-occurring disorders like depression, personality disorders or anxiety, make sure you\u2019re managing those symptoms. You\u2019ll be less tempted to self-medicate them with drug and alcohol abuse. See your psychiatric treatment expert. Take any treatment medications as instructed. Go to therapy regularly. If underlying psychiatric conditions are a significant part of your addiction relapse, it might be best to go back to rehab. You\u2019ll have space and time to get psychiatric symptoms in check and regulate medications with the help of dual diagnosis treatment.\r\nCan You Forgive Yourself for Relapsing?\r\nForgiving yourself for a drug relapse can make the difference between a slip and a quick spiral back into addiction. Known clinically as the abstinence violation effect, some people feel so much failure, guilt and shame over a brief relapse, they \u201cgive up\u201d and continue abusing drugs and alcohol, full speed ahead.\r\n\r\nAddiction is a chronic illness. Just like other chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, you must manage this illness for a lifetime. You must always follow your relapse prevention plan for a sober life. Drug relapse doesn\u2019t mean addiction treatment didn\u2019t work. It doesn\u2019t mean you\u2019re a failure and should throw in the towel. It doesn\u2019t mean you\u2019ll never get better. It means there\u2019s still work to do. There are still lessons to learn. Many people come out of drug relapses more committed to recovery and stronger for it. Listen to what this relapse is trying to tell you.