Although relapse is common, as long as the addict remains committed to his or her recovery, they can avoid becoming a statistic of chronic relapse. A drug rehabilitation program significantly reduces the chances of chronic relapse.
Addiction requires long-term treatment and lifestyle changes. However discouraging, setbacks are very common. It is estimated that 80% of all addicts who get off drugs by detoxification will go back to their drug/alcohol lifestyle within a year. Only 20% of these addicts achieve a stable abstinence from a given detoxification program.
Research is currently underway to determine the cause of these relapses. One culprit for chronic relapse is the phenomenon referred to as a “craving” or the powerful “hunger” for drugs and alcohol which can last for months or even years after an addict quits using. Some scientists have discovered evidence that this craving may be partly a physiological response related to the long-term changes in brain function that the initial addiction causes. In other words, the addicted brain becomes unable to function normally without the presence of the addictive substance. Drug addiction treatment typically includes an aftercare program aimed at helping the addict eliminate or neutralize “cravings”.