Maintaining sobriety is often a daily struggle for someone who has suffered from drug addiction. The risk of relapse is always present, but being aware of the warning signs of relapse might help prevent it. Friends and family members should be trained on what to watch for as potential relapse triggers, and people in recovery should be taught and equipped to monitor themselves and seek help when necessary.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people recovering from any kind of addiction are likely to have at least one relapse. Addiction is a chronic condition, which means that relapse is always a possibility regardless of how long a person has been sober. Once a person has relapsed, it can be difficult to get back on track to recovery. It’s critical to get someone back into treatment as soon as possible after relapse for their long-term health and rehabilitation. You need to choose the best rehabilitation center that offers suitable treatment and a welcoming environment necessary for effective and greater chances of recovery. The Delphi Health Group‘s main objective is to treat addiction at its core by providing personalized treatment to in and outpatients in a safe setting. They equip people with a history of substance abuse with the tools they need to begin a long-term recovery journey.
Stages of Relapse
There are three main stages of relapse that a person goes through before fully giving in to their addiction.
Long before the actual use, you are in the emotional relapse stage. You may be struggling to deal with your emotions healthily. You may bottle up your emotions, distance yourself from others, reject the existence of your difficulties, and neglect your self-care. While you may not be thinking about using immediately, suppressing your emotions and challenging situations might set the stage for a relapse later on.
You are conscious of having mixed feelings regarding sobriety throughout the mental relapse period. While you may desire to stay sober, another part of you may be fighting urges and subconsciously contemplating methods to relapse. A mental relapse also includes glorifying prior drug use, ignoring the negative repercussions of using and seeking ways to get the same feeling provided by drugs.
Physical relapse is when you use drugs or alcohol again after being sober for a considerable period of time. What starts as a single drink can soon escalate into a full-fledged relapse in which you have no control over your use.
Signs of Relapse
There are various signs of relapse before a person starts using again. Knowing these signs and taking appropriate preventive action can help you further commit to recovery, so look out for the following things.
Change in Attitude
There is a significant change in your attitude. Things that you used to like or participate in do not amuse you anymore. You may have mood swings, feel agitated, and even decide that participation in your recovery program is no longer as crucial as it once was.
You may begin to alter your daily routine that helped replace your obsessive habits with healthy alternatives during early recovery. In circumstances that require an honest assessment of your conduct, you may tend to avoid it or get defensive.
You may begin to feel nervous around others and make excuses for not socializing. You either cease attending support group sessions or drastically reduce the number of meetings you attend. You start isolating yourself. Isolation can be a primary warning sign of relapse for family and friends. Check-in with the person in recovery if they refuse invitations, do not respond to phone calls and messages, or suddenly stop participating in normal social activities.
Reoccurrence of Withdrawal Symptoms
Anxiety, depression, insomnia, and memory loss can all persist long after you’ve stopped drinking or using drugs. These symptoms, known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms, might resurface during times of stress. They are risky because you could feel compelled to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.
Hanging Out with People Who Use
You may begin to engage in activities that you know will cause you to relapse—talking to or visiting former buddies who are still actively using. It is also a red flag to hang out in areas where you used drugs or where you’re likely to run into former buddies.
How to start getting better
Relapse is only a setback in your addiction recovery. After a relapse, you may feel hopeless. Remember that long-term sobriety is a journey, not a destination. Every long-term goal will have some difficulties. Addiction treatment is difficult, which is why many people avoid confronting their problems. However, you went through the procedure and overcame your obstacles. A setback is not anything to be ashamed of. Recognize that you’ve had a relapse and attempt to determine what caused it. If you’re a loved one of someone who has relapsed, you should avoid blaming or shaming them and instead create a safe space for them where they can reflect and prepare to get better again.
Ask for Help
Most people begin their recovery by doing it on their own. It has been proven that joining a self-help group increases the odds of long-term rehabilitation. The following are some of the well-known advantages of active engagement in self-help groups:
- Individuals feel that they are not alone
- They learn how other people have coped with their addictions and what coping methods work best
- They have a secure place to go where they will not be judged
Self-care is one of the most ignored components of rehabilitation, despite its importance. Individuals can attend self-help groups, have a sponsor, complete step work and still relapse due to the lack of focus on personal development beyond recovery. Drugs and alcohol are used to escape undesirable feelings, but they are also used as a reward to increase happy emotions and feel good. In these instances, poor self-care often leads to drug or alcohol use.
The Bottom Line
Accepting help for any addiction usually starts with a basic understanding of what addiction is, how it affects individuals, what signs and symptoms to watch for, and who to contact for assistance. By learning how alcohol and drugs affect the body, you can make better decisions for yourself and support loved ones fighting drug addiction.