Relapse, Accidental Overdose, and Death

drug treatment in wilmington NCMeet Susie. Susie was addicted to heroin for five months. Susie figured out how to get clean on her own without going to a recovery center. Susie has been to our drug treatment in Wilmington NC for two months and is feeling pretty good about her life. However, Susie’s boyfriend is still using therefore Susie is still hanging around the people she used with and in all the old places she used to go. Sometimes Susie thinks back to the days when she was using fondly, remembering what she thought was a good time. Susie gets into an argument with her boyfriend and decides she wants to use for the last time, because just one time can’t hurt. Susie decides on an amount she used to do all the time back when she was a regular user and she does the drug. All of a sudden Susie wakes up in the hospital and is told she accidentally overdosed. She doesn’t understand why, when it’s a drug she’s used many times before and the same amount she used to always use.

In this scenario, a few different things happened. Susie got clean, then she relapsed and then she accidentally overdosed. But what exactly is a relapse? What are the warning signs of a relapse? And why would the amount of the same drug she used previously cause her to accidentally overdose? What are some things Susie could have done to prevent a relapse?

A relapse is when a person who previously used and abused a drug got clean, but then returns to using the drug. Relapses are very common among drug addicts because addiction isn’t just a temporary sickness, it’s a long lasting disease.

Although relapses are quite common, they do not usually occur without warning signs. Here are some things to look out for if you or a loved one are going through recovery or drug treatment in Wilmington NC.

Watch Out for These Things

1. You start hanging out with the people you used to use with or in the places you used. It is very important to make sure you create some distance between these people and places because it is just going to constantly be a trigger for when you were using. If the people you used to use with aren’t interested in doing anything else with you, you should cut all ties between yourself and them until they can become a positive influence in your life. If you start hanging around these people and places, it could very well be an indicator that you are craving your old lifestyle back and it is best to reach out to a counselor or supportive friend or family member to help you cut these ties.

2. While you were in recovery you probably set new goals for your life. If you notice that you are slacking off on accomplishing these goals, it could be an indicator that you are heading towards a relapse. You should keep yourself busy by doing the things that invite positivity into your life, not the things that are destructive towards the goals you’ve planned out and are working towards.

3. You think you can manage if you “just have one.” By inviting these thoughts into your head, you are opening the door to a possible relapse. When you start to think you can just have one drink or just get high one more time without anything bad happening, you’ll eventually start to believe that and eventually you’ll have just one more which could really be detrimental to your health and well-being. If you begin to have this warning sign, you should reach out to a substance abuse counselor or a support group.

4. There were probably times that you had fun when you were using, why else would you do it? If you start thinking back on these times fondly and thinking about how much “fun” you had, this could be a huge sign that you are headed towards a relapse. Try to remember all the damage and harm your drug addiction caused for you and your loved ones and remember these times as a lesson learned. If you are having a hard time thinking about these times without longing for them again, please reach out to someone that will offer you support.

5. If you are headed towards a relapse you will probably stop going to meetings or support groups because you may feel guilty that you’re having the desire to use again. If your friends and family notice a change in your behavior and attempt to point it out to you, you may become defensive or angry. This is really when you need to listen to them. Sometimes it is easier to notice things when looking from the outside in and the people closest to you during this time of recovery might be able to tell better than you can. It is important to try to keep an open mind if people begin to have these concerns about you.

If you are an addict in recovery and feel as if you might be heading towards a relapse or you are currently trying to recover, please call Legacy Treatment Center today. We can offer full support to get you back on the road to recovery with no judgment from our team of counselors. Recovery can be hard but we are here to help with a wide variety of treatment programs.

There are two types of overdose. There is an intentional overdose and an accidental overdose. An intentional overdose occurs when a deadly amount of drugs are ingested on purpose, to self harm the person who took them. Intentional overdoses can happen to people who are addicted to drugs or people who have never done drugs in their whole lives.  An accidental overdose is when someone takes so much of a drug that their body can’t metabolize it quickly enough or when drugs are mixed that have negative interactions. If you or a friend have relapsed and need help, please call Legacy Freedom for affordable alcohol and drug treatment in Wilmington NC. You'll love our outpatient drug treatment.

Go back to Susie’s story from earlier. Why did she accidentally overdose on the same amount of the same drug she used to always use? When you are a regular user of a substance, your body develops what is called a tolerance. A tolerance is when the body gets used to a substance always being present in the body and the body’s response to the drug is diminished. Therefore a user must take higher and higher amounts of the drug to achieve the same type of high. However, in Susie’s case, and in many cases all over the country, when a user becomes clean from their substance of choice, whether it be alcohol or heroin or any other type of drug, their body begins to lose that tolerance. That’s why when Susie decided she would use one more time and used the same amount she always used before, her body had a negative response. Her body was no longer used to constantly having the presence of the drug in it and since she had to use such a high amount before to combat her tolerance and feel high, she accidentally overdosed.

Sadly this type of accidental overdose leads to death in many users nationwide. Many friends and family members are surprised when this occurs to a loved one, especially since a lot of times it is shortly after receiving treatment. Remember to look out for the warning signs listed above for yourself or a loved one dealing with recovery. In the case of an accidental overdose, here is what to look for and what to do.

drug treatment in wilmington NCSome signs of an overdose:

  • Loss of balance or feeling dizzy
  • Drowsy, nodding out, or confused
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Having a hard time breathing
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Abdominal and/or chest pains

Immediately call 911 if you believe an overdose has occurred. Try to remain calm and be completely honest with the dispatcher about what drugs were ingested and what has happened. In many states there is such a thing as a “Good Samaritan Law” which means you will not be held accountable for illegal substances in your possession in the case of an overdose or health emergency. No matter what though, it is extremely important to get yourself, or the person who has overdosed, help as soon as possible.

You may think of a relapse as a failure but here at Legacy Treatment Center, we want you to know that it is not. If you have relapsed or a loved one has, we want to help you take this time to turn it into a learning experience and help you move forward in your recovery.

Legacy Freedom | The Best Drug Treatment in Wilmington NC

Want to get help with addiction? Call Legacy Freedom. There is no reason to wait if you're finally ready to get sober. Our caring admissions counselors can answer any questions you may have about our alcohol and drug treatment in Wilmington NC. We have alternative therapies that we customize to meet your individual needs. We want to be a part of your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Call Legacy of Wilmington today to discuss the many outpatient treatment options we offer.

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