Drug Rehab Is Just the Beginning – Actor’s Death Proves Addiction Recovery Is a Lifelong Process

Oscar-winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who was acclaimed for the depth of his abilities, lost his battle with addiction early this month even though he had been to drug rehab many times. Authorities found the 46-year-old actor dead in his home in Manhattan of an apparent overdose. Police found two bags of heroin in the apartment, eight empty heroin bags and a needle in Hoffman’s left arm.

Actor Recently in Drug Rehab

Phillip Seymour Hoffman revealed last year that he had recently spent time in drug treatment to cope with drug addiction. His most recent stint in rehab came after having been sober for 23 years.

Hoffman’s first visit to drug treatment center came in 1989, after he graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He first talked about that experience in 2006, right before he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the film “Capote.” He told 60 Minutes that he chose to go to drug rehab at the age of 22 because he “got panicked” about the possible effects of drug use on his life. Prior to his first stint in treatment, Hoffman had been using drugs and alcohol heavily and indiscriminately.

“Anything I could get my hands on, I liked it all,” he told 60 Minutes.

Hoffman returned to drug rehab in 2013 after falling off the wagon. After 23 years of sobriety, Hoffman’s relapse found him snorting heroin and abusing prescription pills. After relapsing into active addiction for at least a year, Hoffman hoped that drug treatment could help him regain control of his substance abuse issues.

He was wrong.

Hoffman leased the apartment where his body was found after he left the latest treatment facility. His family – consisting of longtime partner Mimi O’Donnell and three daughters – live nearby.

Recovery is a Lifelong Affair

Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death from a heroin overdose, after 23 years of recovery and two stints in drug rehab, underscores the need for long-term aftercare for people recovering from addiction.

Addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky told CNN that “Someone with an opiate addiction, they are doing pushups their whole lives. And they must work on it all the time. And even working on it, there’s a high rate of relapse. And God willing, they get adequate treatment…and things go well. But often, it’s a…fatal condition.”

Even with treatment from the best addiction resources in the world, addiction is a lifelong disease. It requires lifelong treatment even after inpatient rehab ends. It’s not uncommon for recovering addicts to find themselves back in rehab after many years of sobriety. Recovering addicts must stay in treatment, in the form of counseling and recovery support groups after their time at an inpatient drug treatment center is through in order to maintain their sobriety.

Recovering Addicts Can Get Too Confident

While there’s no way of knowing if Hoffman really was completely sober for the entire 23 years between his first stint in drug rehab in 1989 and the relapse that led him back to treatment in 2013, it’s not uncommon for recovering addicts who’ve been clean for many years to begin to think that their substance abuse problems are no longer an issue. When that happens, recovering addicts can begin to disengage with addiction aftercare work and that’s where the road to relapse begins.

Relapse Must Be Addressed Seriously

Addiction is a chronic disease and relapse is considered a normal occurrence in recovery. The relapse rate for addiction is about 60 percent, the same for other chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma. What makes the different is how the recovering addict reacts to his or her relapse. An addict who admits that he or she is experiencing a relapse and who seeks continuing professional drug treatment, and re-engages fully in the treatment process, has a better outcome than one who gives up and decides not to go back to rehab or not to participate in treatment.

Even for those who do go to drug rehab and engage fully with treatment, addiction can be fatal. This deadly disease kills without warning – as happened in the sad case of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call FHE Health today at 844-299-0618.

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