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 addictions. People will often have one or more relapses along the way. 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 drug 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.

Danger of Overdose

For some drugs, a relapse can be very dangerous—even deadly. If a person stops taking drugs and then takes the amount they used before quitting, they can easily overdose. Their body is no longer used to having the same amount of the drug in its system. An overdose happens when a drug causes 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 and overdose.

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