In the United States, drug addiction is a severe problem. Millions of Americans are addicted to drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). There is treatment available for those who are addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, relapse is a common occurrence. This can be distressing for loved ones, and they may experience a sense of learned helplessness. Relapse warning signs need to be known by loved ones of drug users. Relapse can occur quickly and without warning, so it’s crucial to be prepared to help the addict get back on track. We will discuss the warning signs of relapse, as well as what you can do to help your loved one if they start to slip back into old habits.
What is Substance Abuse Relapse?
Defining relapse is crucial before talking about warning signs of relapse. A relapse is when a person returns to drug use after a period of abstinence. It may happen after weeks, months, or even years of sobriety. One slip-up can trigger a full-blown relapse for some people. For others, it’s a gradual return to drug use. There are many reasons why relapse occurs.
They include boredom, stress, anxiety, and depression. An individual may also relapse because of unexpected access to drugs or alcohol from former friends and peer pressure to relapse. However, relapse can be subtle, rather than blatantly obvious, showing up as a series of signs. The first signs of relapse are usually emotional. They are followed by mental symptoms. Lastly, physical signs of substance abuse mean that the individual has returned to struggling with drug abuse, unable to control their cravings any longer.
Signs of Emotional Relapse
There are numerous signs of emotional relapse. Some people may begin skipping recovery meetings or therapy sessions, isolating themselves from friends and family members, or lying to or being secretive about what they are experiencing. They might also exhibit mood swings, signs of increased anxiety or depression by either acting out in anger or suddenly adopting risky behaviors. If you observe your loved one exhibiting any of these behaviors, you should have a conversation with them. Find out what’s happening in their life and offer your support. It might be time to seek professional help if they are unwilling to talk or listen.
Signs of Mental Relapse
When someone starts thinking about using drugs or alcohol again, they are experiencing a mental relapse. Relapses can occur unexpectedly or after being triggered by something. Someone may offer them drugs, or they may see an old friend using drugs. Although mental relapses can be extremely problematic, they can also be treated. When you notice your loved one slipping into daydreaming or making jokes about getting back into using drugs, do not hesitate to seek help. Supporting and keeping them on track is crucial. If they are struggling to resist thoughts and feelings about drugs or alcohol, you might also want to consider getting professional help.
Signs of Physical Relapse
There are a few things you can do to help if your loved one is also showing signs of physical relapse. To begin with, familiarize yourself with the signs of physical relapses. For example, they may show signs of intoxication because they are secretly reusing drugs or alcohol. By recognizing subtle signs, you can better understand what is going on and how to help your loved one. Secondly, ensure that you have an honest conversation with them.
Now is the right time to offer your support. If they continue to deny the use or admit it but refuse to return to a sober lifestyle, they need to get professional help. Addiction recovery is possible after a relapse, but it takes time. We encourage you to reach out for help if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction once again. For those struggling with addiction, there are many resources available, and there is no shame in seeking help. Counselors at our facility can help you identify signs of a loved one’s emotional, mental, or physical relapse. Please call 833-820-2922 for immediate assistance.