April K in the News

How To Avoid Relapse?

After Detox, Now What?


Relapse is defined as the resumption of heroin use after a period of abstinence.

Three stages of the relapse process:  Emotional, Mental, and Physical!

Emotional Stage:  May not feel like using but emotions are setting the stage of relapse.  Examples: feeling isolated, not going to meetings, poor health care, inability to sleep.

Mental Stage: Cravings often with inner dialogue wanting to use but knowing how the drugs have adversely affected their life.

Physical Stage:  They can no longer resist the desire to use.


Relapse Warning Signs

  • An upsetting event
  • Denial they still need help
  • Substituting other compulsive behaviors
  • Acting over emotional
  • Acting over intellectual
  • Feeling out of control
  • Negative all or nothing thinking, “I’ll never be able to stay clean.”
  • Lack of family support
  • Not receiving aftercare
  • Intense cravings
  • “Just Once” belief

If you relapse:

Do not think that this is failure; many schools of thought believe ‘relapse’ is a part of recovery.  In fact, in a study of heroin detox, of all of them, 91% reported a relapse, 59% occurred within one week of discharge.

Age of onset, heavy use of treatment, history of injecting, and not following aftercare were all factors of relapse in this study.

Remember:  Relapse is the a failure…you can begin again.


April Kirkwood

April Kirkwood LPC holds two masters and is presently working in the mental health focussing on both women's issues as well as addiction. Her desire is to help others take the present, healing the past, and creating a wonderful tomorrow. Focus: child trauma, holistic methodology, sexual molestation and harassment.

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