Does Understanding The Science of Addiction Help Reduce Relapse?

Does Understanding The Science of Addiction Help Reduce Relapse?

Addiction is a disease that impacts your behavior, choices, and how your brain functions. Unfortunately, even with treatment, relapse is common. However, there are several ways that you can reduce relapse risks with the help of Laguna Shores Recovery Center.

While working with a treatment facility, you can address underlying trauma, and behavioral patterns, and learn about the science of addiction. This is particularly important because when you understand what is going on in the body and brain, you are more prepared to know how to help yourself after treatment. 

Learning the Science of Addiction to Reduce Relapse

Wanting to know why you have an addiction is understandable, and you might even blame your lack of willpower. However, the science behind addiction tells a very different story, and learning about it can help you be more successful in your recovery in many ways. Improving your understanding of addiction can help you to manage cravings, make good choices about triggers, and improve your self-care.  

Managing Cravings

Addiction includes physical dependence, which requires detox to heal from, and behavioral patterns to break. Both physical dependency and behavioral patterns can cause cravings for drugs or alcohol. In recovery, managing cravings is crucial to not relapse. However, it can be difficult. 

When you are addicted to a substance, your brain is hijacked to push you towards using drugs or alcohol again. This is because many addictive substances cause your brain to release large amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, which makes you feel good. Separate from addiction, it plays an important role in healthy habits like exercise or community engagement. However, when the patterns or circuits are rewired, they direct you toward using drugs or alcohol again to “feel good”.

Cravings are a normal part of recovering from addiction. However, later on in recovery, they can be a signal that you need more support or that something in your recovery is not working for you. Learning about cravings, what they feel like, and where they come from can help you to know when you need to seek help to stay sober.

Dealing with Triggers

Triggers are internal or external events that cause you to feel cravings. For example, if you have used drugs or alcohol to manage feelings of sadness or anger in the past, these emotions may trigger cravings for you. When you reenter your life after treatment, you are sure to encounter many different triggers that can affect your recovery. 

However, learning about the science of addiction can help. The brain is full of patterns. For example, you likely drive the same route to the grocery store and buy the same brand of soap or milk. While these patterns can be healthy and helpful, you might have patterns that increase your risk of relapse. 

When you understand these patterns and their strength, you can adjust. Therefore, if you know spending time with certain people is triggering for you and that triggers put you at risk of relapse due to the hold addiction has on the brain, you can make different choices to maintain your sobriety. 

Self-Care to Reduce Relapse

Relapse is often thought of as the singular event of using drugs or alcohol again. However, it is more complex than that. The journey to relapse takes time and involves many small and subtle changes. As a result, maintaining recovery means living a very different life than the one you did when you were using drugs or alcohol. This means building new and healthier self-care habits that help you to reduce relapse risk

There are four stages of relapse. The first, called emotional relapse, is described by changes in lifestyle, including decreased self-care. This might include getting little to no sleep or focusing on others instead of yourself. Understanding that self-care is integral to your recovery and a lack of self-care is often the first step toward relapse can help you to prioritize it after treatment. 

Learning Skills to Reduce Relapse

Addiction treatment is aimed at helping you to learn how to live your life without drugs and alcohol. It generally includes detoxing from substances and learning new behaviors that help you to remain sober. Some of the most common methods of reducing relapse include therapy, learning new skills, and self-monitoring. 

However, all of these methods require you to understand how addiction works. When you have a grasp of what addiction is and what it is not, you can see warning signs in your behaviors. Additionally, you are more likely to be motivated to learn certain skills like self-care that can make a huge difference in your recovery but, from the surface, might look unimportant or unrelated. 

Healing from addiction takes time and requires help. Treatment is the first step to building your understanding of addiction and how it looks in your life. You can learn about the science behind addiction and apply it to your experience, helping you to recover and thrive. Let us, at Laguna Shores Recovery Center, help you prevent relapse.

Addiction is a complicated disease that impacts how you think, feel, and act. However, it is a disease that changes how your brain functions and continually propels you towards continued use of drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, you can heal. At Laguna Shores Recovery Center, we help our clients to learn about addiction and what is going on in their bodies and brain. In doing so, they are more able to make choices and build a life that supports their sobriety. If you or someone you love is trying to cope with addiction, we can help. Call us today at (866) 774-1532 to learn more about our facility, programs, and how we can help you heal from addiction.