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How to Spot Behaviors That can Lead to Relapse

Behaviors that lead to relapse can be difficult to spot. Some are more internal than external. How do you know when someone you love is on the road to relapse? Or even yourself? Maintaining recovery from addiction can be a struggle for anyone. Knowing what behaviors to look for to identify when someone is on the verge of relapse can be vital to preventing the action from occurring. Understanding what can be done to prevent relapse can also be crucial to curbing its occurrence. 

What is Recovery?

Recovery from addiction is the process someone goes through in order to resume living a normal life without using drugs and/or alcohol. A person who is dependent on substances generally has life interruptions where these substances become priority, and normally important things like family, friends, careers, and having a productive life fall to the wayside. Recovery also provides a space to improve mental and spiritual health along with the physical portion of addiction.

What is Relapse?

During recovery, the addiction has been essentially subdued. When behaviors that lead to relapse take over, it can cause someone to act on the thoughts and feelings of using drugs and alcohol to get them through a rough patch. Relapse is when someone who is suffering from a disease, such as addiction, has a set back in improvement from the symptoms associated with the disease. In easier terms, a relapse is when someone who has stopped using drugs or alcohol begins using again.

Stages of Relapse

Way before someone actually picks up drugs or alcohol, they can exhibit behaviors that could be warning signs. This does not mean that someone cannot have a weak moment and begin using again. However, watching out for the behaviors that can signify relapse helps to stop it from happening. So what are the stages of relapse? Well, relapse can be broken down into three general phases, emotional, mental, and physical.

Emotional Relapse

Emotional relapse occurs when someone has experienced relapse in the past, and continues to beat themselves up over the things that occurred as a result. They generally are not thinking about using, however the thoughts and feelings associated with reliving the relapse are setting the path for relapse occurring again. The behaviors that lead to relapse generally begin when someone allows the negativity to enter into their thoughts. 

Mental Relapse

Mental relapse is when someone has an internal struggle, and they begin fighting their own thoughts. At this point, someone is probably going back and forth between thoughts of using and thoughts of staying clean and sober. 

Physical Relapse

This is the final stage of relapse, and occurs when someone picks up the substances again and begins using. Once someone begins using again after any length of recovery from addiction, it can prove to be extremely difficult to control their use or stop using. Meaning that one drink can lead to uncontrollable drinking once again.

Risk Factors and Signs of Relapse

Behaviors that lead to relapse generally have associated risk factors and signs that can vary from person to person. There are some general behaviors that can be seen as signs of relapse. Again, these signs aren’t one size fits all and any or all of them can show up in one person.

  • Isolation: a person on the verge of relapse could begin to withdraw from enjoyable activities as well as family and friends.
  • Unmanaged Stress: learning stress management can be one of the most important tools someone can learn to help prevent relapse. 
  • Reassociation: this means that the person may have returned to previous people, places, and things they were associated with while using.
  • Doubt: doubting the recovery process can be one of the more prominent behaviors that lead to relapse. Thinking that recovery isn’t possible can lead someone to relapse quicker than most other signs.
  • Depression: showing signs of depression and changes in mood can be a sign of impending relapse due to the chances of isolation and the negative thoughts intruding and someone thinking self medicating with drugs and alcohol is better than feeling what they are feeling.

How to Help Prevent Relapse

There are ways to prevent relapse, regardless of the stage someone may be in. Having a plan in place to combat the thoughts and feelings that generally lead to using again can be pivotal for someone struggling to maintain sobriety. Therapy, both individual and group, can help someone immensely when they are plagued with the thoughts of using drugs and alcohol.

Getting Help in Marietta, GA

If you or a loved one are struggling with thoughts or using, or have begun using drugs and alcohol again, there is help and there is hope to make it through. Here at Empowered Recovery Center, we aim to provide the best care for anyone who needs help. Our team of professionals is versed in all facets of addiction. We can help to lead you to a road of recovery. Contact us today and we can help to guide you through this process of beginning a new life.

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  • Empowered Recovery Center
    3651 Canton Road,
    Marietta, GA 30066

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