Signs of Relapse In Your Loved One

HHRC-Close up of addict man on street

A relapse in the sense of alcohol and drugs refers to the use of a particular substance again after a significant period of abstinence. Relapses may be very upsetting for everyone involved, not only the patient but also their family and friends, mainly if they happen after treatment is over.

Relapse or even numerous relapses can be a common aspect of rehabilitation, just as failure in other settings can be a requirement for long-term success. Despite this, if you or a loved one starts to show indications of relapse, you should act immediately to stop any additional harm to the patient’s money, career, family, friends, and—most importantly—health.

What Is Relapse

Relapse is a phrase that is frequently used, particularly concerning addiction treatment. It alludes to resuming previous drug and alcohol use and previous ways of thinking and acting. Relapse happens gradually. The stages of relapse include three phases: emotional, mental, and physical.

The stages of relapse are unfortunately recurring for individuals who had previously recovered after going into remission.The two types of relapsing are as follows:

A “Slip” 

When relapse is referred to as a “slip,” it signifies that an addict in recovery turns to use only a little of their preferred substance. A slip may, for instance, be taking a drink of alcohol during a party or wedding toast or taking a brief dose of marijuana.

Most people would not consider these occurrences very harmful from the outside, but for someone with an addiction, even the slightest slip-up or temptation to use can cause relapse and force them back into treatment.

While relapse and denial play a significant role in the cycle of substance misuse, recovering addicts must accept their mistakes and take the necessary precautions to avoid repeating them. As previously indicated, after extended periods of sobriety, even a modest quantity of drug use or a sip of alcohol might trigger cravings, but this time more strongly.

Full Relapse 

Relapses happen when addicted people try to use drugs or alcohol once more. This might happen sometimes or all at once. Relapse is defined as returning to therapy following even the slightest slip-up. It is also seen as a relapse if they do not seek assistance once more, but this time, they have relapsed into a full-blown addiction.

As you can see, becoming sober and recovering from addiction rarely strolls in the park. Unfortunately, the majority of addicts have relapses at least once. The likelihood of relapsing is 40–60% for patients who have been in a rehab center for at least 30 days, which is regarded as the beginning or early stage of recovery.

This is because the addict invariably experiences stresses from outside forces like job and family, pushing them to use again. Cravings are like glue; they stick to a person until they find effective coping mechanisms.

Although they are not inevitable, relapses can happen at any time. Knowing the warning signs of relapse for yourself and your loved ones can help you identify triggers and avert the worst-case scenario if suspicious behavior occurs during treatment.

What Does It Mean When Someone Relapses?

Addiction recovery is not a linear process. There are ups and downs, and occasionally moving ahead means going back two steps. Unfortunately, relapse occurs often during treatment. The American Medical Association Journal reports that nearly half of patients relapse after a year of therapy. It may take numerous attempts for close to half of those who are recovering from drug, alcohol, or behavioral addictions to completely break a habit.

However, relapsing into drug abuse or a behavioral addiction takes time and effort. It is a gradual process that starts with a concept, followed by a few others, and finally results in use. Before a person ingests alcohol or drugs, it may begin weeks or months earlier. When relapsing, people frequently think, “One drink is alright,” or “I’m just hanging out with friends.” Long before using, I say, “It’s not a huge issue if I smoke. However, a person has already started to relapse during those times of denial.

Signs of Relapse 

Relapse is frequent, but it may be prevented with the right resources and the help of family members and medical experts. It’s important yet challenging to spot the warning indicators. In certain people, compared to others, it is simpler to tell when toxic behaviors are reviving. However, there are specific standard methods to tell if a loved one is experiencing a rebound. According to several medical studies and academics, the following are some typical relapse warning symptoms.

High stress levels

Pay greater attention to your loved ones if they are under a lot of stress because of a significant change or a buildup of little things. Stress is one of the best indicators of relapse; sadly, it’s prevalent in today’s society. A slip may result from situations like job seeking, divorce, or simply becoming used to life outside of treatment. Other warning signs of relapse, such as an exaggerated response to “spilled milk” or lost keys, may also point to the fact that life’s minor irritants overburden your loved one.

Behavior and attitude toward sobriety

A loved one may appear proud and eager to begin their road to recovery when they first leave treatment—attending support meetings, talking to sponsors, and practicing the routines they acquired in therapy. But pay attention if you see that these habits are fading. Something is amiss if, for any reason, your loved one isn’t as engaged in their recovery program or doesn’t appear as excited about being sober. A warning sign might be a shift in their healthy habits or defensive, avoidant conduct.

Isolation and social avoidance 

It’s common for someone to have social anxiety after leaving a treatment center. However, something is wrong if the person makes no effort to interact with others or continually finds an excuse not to attend an event. Your loved one could be severing ties with others who encourage their sobriety. Take note if you observe a change in their weight, a decline in their cleanliness whenever you see them, or the appearance of fatigue.

Behavior at risk and exposure

Individuals must completely alter their way of life to assist and maintain their recovery. They make illogical decisions like attempting social drinking or drug usage for fun. Your loved one may be relapsing if you notice they struggle with self-control, look disoriented, or have difficulties making good decisions. If they are spending time with the same social groups that first inspired their usage, that may be another sign. However, when someone is relapsing, they could start to revert to previous behaviors, such as making unsafe choices.

Ways to Prevent Relapse

These are just a few of the signs of relapse that can be used to diagnose it. It can be challenging to tell when someone you care about is slipping away. Sometimes it can take several weeks or even months for someone to notice the problem. But, there are still ways to fight it:

  • Encourage self-care.

  • Do your best to make sure they feel comfortable communicating with you.

  • Help your loved ones identify their triggers.

  • Keep your mind open, and don’t judge.

  • Ask them if you’d like to go to therapy or a support group with them.

  • Keep drugs and alcohol out of reach.

  • Be open about your struggles and the ways you have overcome them.

Key Takeaway 

Recognizing that relapses are regular is part of the healing process. It is possible to get sobriety, but it can be difficult. Do your best to help your loved one if you see them becoming relapsed. You should pay attention to the warning signs of relapse and get involved as soon as possible. Be patient with them as well as with yourself. Remember that relapses are not due to anything you did or didn’t do. It’s all part and parcel of the learning process.

Long-term recovery can only be attained with a relapse prevention strategy and those who have the willpower, fortitude, strength, and bravery to put in the effort to become healthy.

Haven House Recovery Can Help Lower the Risk of Relapse 

Most importantly, people receive the counseling and treatment they require for their addiction. Asking for help is the first step, so if you’re unsure where to start, immediately reach out to rehab centers in Nashville, TN, for more details. You and your loved one may find Haven House Recovery the ideal answer. We are a rehab facility in Santa Rosa Beach that offers a 12-step Christian program to assist men in managing their addiction and preventing relapse. Contact us right away so we can assist you and your loved ones.

Newsletter Signup

Discipleship Training

“The teaching of the wise is a Fountain of Life, turning a person from the snares of death.”
Proverbs 13:14 NIV

Recent Posts

Post Categories

Follow Us