Relapse occurs when a person returns to drug use after a period of abstinence. It is a common experience for those on the road to recovery to relapse at least once

Opiates stimulate the mesolimbic system of the brain, which is strongly connected with reward and conditioned associations. When a person uses opiates, they cause a release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure) and at the same time activate parts of the brain that connect surroundings with pleasurable feelings. These feelings then become the reinforcing triggers for an addiction relapse.

Certain risk factors may increase the chances that a person relapses on opiates, including

  • History of using opiates intravenously
  • Not seeking aftercare.
  • Having used high doses of opiates

Relapse is an inevitable phase of recovery for opioid addicts. The ability to recognize potential signs is key to preventing relapse. Common factors that could increase the chances of relapse include

Stress: A life-changing event such as a divorce, the death of a friend or loved one, a move can have a big impact on a patient that is in the recovery phase, which may increase the likelihood of a relapse.

Lack of positive support systems: This can be in form of families, friends, colleagues, and support groups. Surrounding yourself with positive can go a long way in your recovery process. However, surrounding yourself with known addicts can hamper your recovery, and likely lead to a relapse.

A relapse does not necessarily mean treatment failure. The reality is that opioids addiction in itself is a chronic disease, which makes relapses more likely. The rates of relapse are similar to those seen in other chronic diseases such as lupus or cancer. Relapses for recovering opioid addict mean that the therapy must be tried again or adjusted. Relapses may also mean that another form of therapy must be tried.





Opiate Addiction Treatment to Help You be Free from Drug Dependence.

Prolong use of prescription opioids, even as prescribed by a doctor in treating chronic or debilitating diseases, can cause them to develop a tolerance, which means they require an increased and/or more frequent administration of the drug to the desired results. With repeated and constant use, the neurons in the brain try to adapt so that they can function normally in the presence of the drug. The absence of the drug causes severe physiological reactions, from mild to potentially life-threatening conditions

Drug addiction is one of the severe consequence of opioids misuse. It is characterized by compulsive or uncontrollable use despite damaging consequences and long-lasting changes in the brain.

For those who have severe opioid addictions, inpatient rehabilitation may be the best option. Inpatient treatment options may include:

  • Medication management
  • Individual therapy
  • 24-hour nursing supervision
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychiatric care for those with anxiety, depression and other co-occurring disorders

FDA approved drugs available for treating opiate use disorder include

  • Buprenorphine and Methadone: These two drugs were previously used for the treatment of opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, these cause drug dependence for the patients.
  • Lofexidine hydrochloride: This is the first non-narcotic and non-addictive drugs of its kind approved by the FDA. Since its approval, it has been successful in treating over 200,000 opiate addicts successfully. It works by suppressing the release of catecholamines (adrenaline) in the body, thereby lessening some of the withdrawal symptoms
  • Naltrexone: It is used for treating opioid addiction as well as opioid dependence. It belongs to a class of opiate receptor antagonist. Works by blocking the effects of opioid drugs

There are different types of group therapy sessions

  • Support groups: Provides a conducive environment for patients to express their frustration and improve their social skills
  • Cognitive behavioral groups: Cognitive behavioral therapy renews negative thinking so patients can begin to think differently
  • Skills groups: Equips patients with healthy tools and strategies for dealing with challenges in life


Opiates vs Opioids

Lately, there seems to be stories and news about the opioids epidemic, and how they are ravaging lives, families, and communities. In the year 2016, more than two million people were diagnosed as having an opioid misuse disorder, costing more than $500 billion economically.

As part of the crisis, it might be helpful to know what they are and learn the difference between the two

Opiates are chemical substances that are derived or extracted from natural plant opium or poppy plant. Examples of opiates are Heroin, Codeine, Morphine, and Opium

An opioid is a chemical substance which possesses some properties characteristic to the opiate narcotics. Most opioids are synthetic or partly synthetic.

There are over 500 different opioid substances manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies all over the world. Some are widely used medically, while others are used for recreational purpose. Examples of popular opioids used in the medical field are

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Hycodan)
  • Loperamide (Imodium)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)
  • Methadone (Dolophine)
  • Fentanyl/fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Carfentanyl (Wildnil)
  • Dextropropoxyphene (Darvocet-N, Darvon)
  • Dextromethorphan

Opiates and opioids are both referred to as narcotics. When used, they attach to and activate opioid receptors in many areas of the brain, spinal cord and other tissues in the body that possess similar receptors, especially those involved in the sensation of pain and pleasure. When opioids attach to these receptors, they block pain signals sent from the pain center in the brain and release large amounts of endorphins and dopamine throughout the body. The endorphins help to relieve pain and the dopamine make people feel relaxed and euphoric. However, can have serious adverse effects, including

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Severe cravings
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cold flashes and goose bumps

Hope for the Hopeless

Living a life free from addiction is a personal journey that requires a daily recommitment to recovery. If you feel you need a little assistance in your journey, there are relapse support representatives who are available all the days of the week to provide you with various resources for all levels of care. This should not be a burden you alone should bear.






Bates, M. (2018). Tackling an Epidemic: New and Emerging Opioid Addiction Treatments Offer Hope for Solutions to This Crisis. IEEE Pulse9(2), 22-25. doi: 10.1109/mpul.2018.2790904

Campana, R. (2017). Opioid Addiction Treatment. MOJ Addiction Medicine & Therapy3(4). doi: 10.15406/mojamt.2017.03.00044

Hassan, A., & Nunes, E. (2018). Medication Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder: What Is the Impact on Mood and Mood Disorders?. Current Addiction Reports. doi: 10.1007/s40429-018-0215-x