It can be a relief when our loved ones who have struggled with addiction finally enter rehab. However, the fear that they will relapse, especially after they leave rehab, can begin to follow us around like a rainy cloud.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within 1 year of treatment.” We care about our loved ones and only want the best for them. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the signs of a drug relapse so that you could prevent the relapse, provide support, and make a treatment plan.
One of the most dangerous results of a drug relapse is an overdose. A person will try to go back to the same dosage they used before, however since their tolerance has gone down, their body is more sensitive to the drug and that leaves them at a higher risk of overdose. Familiarize yourself of relapse warning signs so you can take immediate action.
Triggers Of Drug Relapse
Relapse in drug addiction doesn’t come out of just anywhere. It’s an ongoing process the goes from emotion to mental to physical relapse. There are triggers that may leave a recovering addict more susceptible to drug use and, just like relapse warning signs, acknowledging these triggers and doing what you can to prevent them could mean the difference between relapse in drug addiction or continued recovery. These are the most common triggers:
- Going to places where the used to take drugs
- Hanging with people who they used to take drugs with
- Having stressors in their life (finances, work, relationships)
- Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, disturbed sleep, and irritability
- Normal withdrawal symptoms like physical discomfort or pain and anxiety
Warning Signs Of Relapse
Many recovering addicts go through stages where they look back on their experience addiction. Unfortunately, sometimes they seem to look over the struggles of their addiction and the pain that they brought upon themselves and others, and just focus on the positive aspects of drug use, like the high and the people they took it with.
Erratic behaviors are another clear sign of a drug relapse. Eating or sleeping too much or too little and lashing out at loved ones are signs of a deeper internal struggle. Someone teetering on relapse might begin missing prior commitments at work or school and isolating themselves. Experiencing anxiety, mood swings, memory loss, compulsive behavior, and extreme anger can be indicators of a coming relapse.
A recovering addict might deny that they ever really had a problem with addiction or think that they would be able to use the drug without becoming addicted again. They might talk badly about their drug treatment program or the process of recovery. Consequently, these are all aspects of mental relapse.
What Can You Do?
Simply put, the best thing you can do to prevent a relapse in drug addiction is to be supportive and acknowledge the warning signs. Make sure they feel comfortable enough with you, to be honest. Let your loved one know you care about them and if you feel like you need to approach them about their relapse, make sure you go in without any criticisms or negativity, only love and concern.
It is also helpful to have a long-term treatment plan. These could last anywhere from six to more than twelve months. It would be beneficial to your loved one, as it allows your brain to heal and gives you more time for your new positive behaviors to set in stone and become a lifestyle. There are lower rates of relapse in drug addiction in long-term treatment than in short-term.
It is hard to watch your loved one fall down the path of drug relapse, especially knowing how hard both of you worked to get to their recovery. So pay attention to those warning signs of relapse and address them before it spirals out of control.
Remember, relapse doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a process of emotional, mental, and physical relapse. Mental relapse is the hardest one to get over, and it comes right before physical relapse and drug use. All you can really do to help your loved one is let them know you’re there to support them and guide them to the help they need to maintain their recovery.
If you are seeing the warning signs of relapse in yourself or a loved one, contact Treatment Centers XL. We have the resources that can help you overcome your addiction and prevent future relapse. Call us today at (720) 600-1043.