Why Can’t I Stay Sober After Detox?

Many people have the experience of going through the difficult process of detoxifying their body of alcohol and drugs, only to relapse quickly after leaving treatment. It is not an uncommon situation– about 85% of people who seek treatment relapse on drugs within one year after discharge. This is because there is no cure for alcoholism. We can spend months in treatment, but if we do not continue managing the disease of addiction and its symptoms, we are likely to return to drug use.
Addiction is not a momentary illness that can be cured. Rather, addiction is a chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension, or asthma, and like these illnesses, it requires consistent management to stay in remission. Furthermore, the brain changes caused by addiction can require up to two years to heal. Within the first two years of sobriety, an individual is in much greater danger of returning to drug and alcohol use.
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, explained that repeated drug use can damage the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for decision-making. Fortunately, the brain can usually heal from the damage but this requires complete abstinence from drugs. According to Volkow, “When the frontal cortex isn’t working properly, people can’t make the decision to stop taking the drug—even if they realize the price of taking that drug may be extremely high, and they might lose custody of their children or end up in jail. Nonetheless, they take it.” The brain changes created result in changes in behaviors that make one much more impulsive and at a greater risk of falling back into the painful cycle of addiction.
Medically-assisted detoxification is an effective first step toward achieving sobriety, but alone it does little to promote long-term sobriety. Detoxification must be followed up with treatment that addresses all underlying causes of drug use and, according to the NIDA, “Research indicates that most addicted individuals need at least 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use and that the best outcomes occur with longer duration’s of treatment.” Behavioral therapies, counseling, treatment of underlying mental health concerns, and the development of coping skills are all necessary tools to promote long-term sobriety after detoxification.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can begin building a happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety by making the courageous decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a Substance Abuse Disorder and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center located in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a full continuum of care from Drug and Alcohol Detox to Transitional Treatment. Oceanfront was founded with the goal of providing the best care and service possible, at an affordable price, and in a location where people seeking recovery would want to get well. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777