The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines as addiction as a chronic brain disease, with behavioural, biological, social, emotional, and physical aspects, that is characterized by an inability to control substance abuse.
The fact that addiction is chronic means that relapse is often part of the disease. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) likens the relapse rates for addiction to those of other chronic and relapsing diseases, such as asthma, hypertension, and type I diabetes, estimating it to be between 40 and 60 percent. Relapse is the return to substance abuse after a length of time being drug or alcohol-free.
Relapse is considered a common aspect of the disease of addiction and does not, therefore, indicate failure. When a person battles addiction to mind-altering substances, brain circuitry is disrupted by repeated alcohol or drug abuse. Pathways involved in how a person feels pleasure and processes rewards, impulse control, memory, and decision-making are altered through substance abuse. With repeated use, brain chemistry and these pathways are changed, and a dependency on the substance is built. Once a physical dependency is established, withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings may be common side effects if the drug is removed or stopped suddenly. Someone struggling with drug dependency may not feel “normal” without the drug’s interaction in the brain. A return to drug or alcohol use may seem like a good way to get back to what seems normal, curb withdrawal symptoms, and combat strong cravings. Relapse may then be a form of self-medication.
The Relapse Prevention module is a 7 Hour Module (4 Hours if done on-line), and covers these key topics:
Substance Abuse Care Overview,
Screening Factors and Instruments,
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