A person who's trying to stop using drugs can make mistakes, feel bad, and start using again. This return to drug use is called a relapse. Relapse is common and normal and happens to a lot of people recovering from drug addiction. People will often have one or more relapses along the way because it takes practice to learn how to live without drugs.
Stopping drug use is like trying to diet and lose weight. It's hard to learn to do things differently, like eat less, exercise more, and avoid some favorite foods. It's easy to slip up, eat too much, and gain back the weight. But then you have to try again.
It's the same with quitting drugs. People with addictions might get treatment, slip up, and then go back to treatment many times before it works. If that happens, the person should get back into treatment as quickly as possible.
While relapse is a normal part of recovery, for some drugs, a relapse can be very dangerous—even deadly. If a person uses as much as they used to before quitting, they can easily overdose because their bodies are no longer used to having the same amount of drugs in their system. An overdose happens when the person uses too much of a drug and has a very bad reaction that results in serious, harmful symptoms or death.
This is why it's important to take a treatment plan seriously. Treatment can help to lower the chance of a drug relapse.