Relapse rates for addiction after rehab can be as high as 90%, depending on the study, so if you’re one of the 10% who doesn’t relapse, congratulations! But why do so many people struggle with returning to their old habits after ostensibly completing treatment? Part of it is due to the nature of addiction itself – it’s a chronic disorder that requires ongoing care and support. However, there are several other contributing factors. This post will look at what contributes to relapse rates and what you can do to avoid them.


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What Is Relapse?

If you’ve been in this spot in the past, you are fully aware that relapse is a genuine possibility. It does not, however, have to be a forgone conclusion. There’s no reason why you can’t maintain your sobriety for good as long as you recognize the risks of returning to drug or alcohol use, get assistance when required, and are prepared to make behavioral changes that will safeguard your recovery!

Relapse is Common:

A relapse is a specific event during recovery. Relapse rates lie in the range of 40% to 60% among those who complete therapy, states The National Institute on Drug Abuse. This relapse rate, comparable to that seen with physical diseases such as asthma and high blood pressure, has a relapse rate of between 50% and 70%.

The odds of relapse after rehabilitation are high, indicating that relapse is a natural component of recovery rather than an individual failure. However, those who fully recovered reported that following a 12 step guide helped them recognize the warning signs and get back on track long before relapse occurred.

The Stats:

According to a survey conducted by The Recovery Village, only 29.4 percent of Americans claimed not to have relapsed. The most significant number (32.3%) fell back into drinking in the first year after stopping. Your chances of relapse decline as time pass: 21.4% relapsed in their second year in recovery, but only 9.6% did so after years three through five, and 7.2% did so after their fifth year in recovery.

Why Is Relapse So Common?

One of the main reasons relapse rates are high is that addiction is a chronic disease. Like diabetes or heart disease, addiction requires ongoing care and support for effective management. That’s why treatment shouldn’t stop once you leave rehab – it’s crucial to have a solid aftercare plan in place that will help you stay on track. It might include attending regular meetings with a sponsor or counselor, having a supportive network of friends and family, and being mindful of your triggers.

Another reason relapse rates are high is that people often don’t recognize the warning signs until too late. In many cases, people return to their old habits without realizing them. They may think that completing rehab was the last step towards a cure when in reality, they still have a long road ahead.

What Are Some Common Signs To Be Careful Of?

The good news is that relapse can be avoided if you’re aware of the dangers and take steps to protect yourself. Here are some signs of being watchful of:

  • Using drugs or alcohol again
  • Spending time with old friends who engage in drug or alcohol use
  • Isolating yourself from loved ones
  • Feeling overwhelmed or stressed out
  • Experiencing intense cravings for drugs or alcohol

If any of these warning signs prevail, it’s essential to get help right away. Don’t try to tackle things yourself – reach out to your sponsor, counselor, or family and friends for support. You can get through the relapse process safely and successfully with the right tools and resources.

Steps to Dodge Relapse

  1. Keep busy by staying active. Hanging out with friends or family who aren’t involved in drug or alcohol use can help keep your mind off drugs and alcohol. Keeping positive influences around will make it easier to stay away from substances!
  2. Find support within the community like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). You can also get involved at an aftercare program for continued relapse prevention. Many people find attending meetings very helpful when trying to remain free of addiction.
  3. “Get back on track” by putting together a list of activities you used to enjoy before using drugs or alcohol became part of your life; then go do them again! You can always find newer hobbies and interests, but rekindling an old passion can be an excellent way of reminding yourself of what you are giving up to stay clean.
  4. Get your body moving. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects and can help reduce stress.
  5. Stay positive – Addiction can be a lifelong struggle, but as long as you focus on your sobriety and put in the work, you can stay sober for the rest of your life.


If someone close to you has returned home from rehab recently, chances are they’re already struggling with thoughts about whether or not they’ll end up relapsing again. This shared concern needs an answer because many people are in the dark about relapse and why they’re likely to experience it after returning home. Please provide all the support you can and help them find their old selves again. Good luck!