A relapse is defined as “a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement.” And while relapse can come in a number of different ways a majority of people are the most familiar with it when it’s via drugs and/or alcohol. Some may view it as the addict “picking back up where they left off”－or “falling back into bad habits”－but a big question that many may have is “What does one experience following his/her relapse?” For there are several factors that can cause that individual to feel as though he/she is beyond help, and most of these said factors come in the form of emotion(s).
In turn, the effect of relapse on the addict himself/herself can have a great influence on not only his/her physical health, but mental health as well. Consequently, the biggest setback happens internally, rather than externally as that person begins to feel overwhelmed by anger, shame, and hopelessness. These three feelings in particular can greatly shape the mindset of the addict making it a little bit more difficult for him/her to get back on the right track.
First and foremost is anger which the addict may experience following the relapse. Oftentimes this isn’t anger towards others, but anger towards himself/herself, as he/she begins to feel mad at himself/herself for having used again－no matter whether it be drugs, alcohol, or both. The second emotion that one might feel is shame, which can follow closely after anger, or right alongside it. He/she may find himself/herself painfully humiliated and/or distressed due to being conscious or aware of having used again. The third feeling is hopelessness which is the place where a number of addicts may oftentimes find themselves stuck. For after their relapse they may feel as though there is no possibility for them to get clean again, and back on the right track.
In conclusion, the effect that relapse has on the mind of the addict can oftentimes be far greater than the effect that it has on his/her body. That’s why it is important that he/she be surrounded by supportive people in the case of a relapse so that he/she might be encouraged to get right back on the road to recovery. It is only then that he/she can truly get the help he/she needs without being negatively affected by his/her relapse, and the emotions that come with it.