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5 common dual diagnosis relapse triggers

Posted on 05-16-2016 Posted in Dual diagnosis treatment, Recovery, Sober living - 0 Comments

dual diagnosis relapse triggers

The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes 40 to 60 percent of recovering addicts relapse. A person with dual diagnosis is more vulnerable to relapse than a person with only a mental health or substance abuse disorder. Relapsing in one disorder can quickly cause a relapse in another. For these reasons, it is especially important for those with dual diagnosis to avoid these common relapse triggers:

1. Stress. Stressful events, such as life-altering changes or traumatic incidents, can lead to relapse. Unfortunately, stress is a normal part of life, making it impossible to completely avoid. Stress relief and management skills can help prevent stress from becoming such a burden that it triggers a relapse.

2. Poor eating habits. A bad diet contributes to relapse. Too much sugar, too little protein, and not enough fruits or vegetables wreak havoc on bodies and brains already weakened by abuse.

3. Poor sleeping habits: Science has long known that sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms of schizophrenia. But for an individual with co-occurring conditions, irregular sleep – not just deprivation – can be a catalyst for a psychotic episode. A symptom of schizophrenia is the inability to fully filter out stimuli. Quality sleep aids a normal brain in this filtration process. A person with schizophrenia requires quality sleep to help compensate for his or her poor stimuli filtration.

4. Stopping medication: Doctors prescribe many types of medication to help treat mental health and substance abuse disorders. Stopping medication against the advice of a physician as a key relapse trigger for either condition. Suddenly ceasing some medications can also cause physical problems due to withdrawal.

5. Old friends and habits: Many recovery addicts become tempted to look back on their life of drug abuse with rose-colored glasses, remembering the brief but dizzying highs rather than the long and punishing lows. Reconnecting with old friends they used to abuse drugs with, or returning to old haunts that hosted drug binges can lure addicts back into their old ways. It’s often best to make a clean break from the past for the sake of one’s mental and physical health.

The Spanish philosopher George Santayana said those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. A person with co-occurring conditions must remain vigilant against the triggers that lead to relapse. Relapse is typically the result of an accumulation of factors, not just a single event. Preventing relapse means maintaining balance.

Sovereign Health Group’s Fort Myers and Pompano Beach treatment facilities specialize in treating dual diagnosis. Our assessment protocols ensure no condition remains undetected. Based on the results of a thorough intake, our clinicians construct an individualized treatment plan. Call our helpline to learn more about our programs.

About the author:

Darren Fraser is a content writer for Sovereign Health Group. He worked two and half years as reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family’s farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at

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The dual diagnosis program was what attracted me to Sovereign Health. My therapist was always open for discussion and the group sessions were very informative and educational.

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