Sometimes people quit their drug use for a while, but start using again no matter how hard they try. This return to drug use is called a relapse. People recovering from addiction often have one or more relapses along the way.

Drug addiction is a chronic (long-lasting) disease. That means it stays with the person for a long time, sometimes for life. It doesn't go away like a cold. A person with an addiction can get treatment and stop using drugs. But if he started using again, he would:

  • Feel a strong need to keep taking the drug.
  • Want to take more and more of it.
  • Need to get back into treatment as soon as possible.

He could be just as hooked on the drug and out of control as before.

Recovery from addiction means you have to stop using drugs AND learn new ways of thinking, feeling, and dealing with problems. Drug addiction makes it hard to function in daily life. It affects how you act with your family, at work, and in the community. It is hard to change so many things at once and not fall back into old habits.

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong effort.