Recognizing Symptoms of Relapse in Your Loved One
Substance abuse disorder treatment doesn’t follow a straight line.
Rather, it’s an up and down, curvy line that may include some instances of relapse. The sooner you notice your loved one heading toward relapse, the faster you can get help.
Most importantly, don’t view relapse as a failure of treatment. Rather, see relapse as a common component of the rehabilitation journey. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that between 40 and 60 percent of people in drug treatment will experience a relapse. That relapse rate is about the same as other types of chronic medical conditions.
By understanding what triggers relapse, you may be able to offer better support to your loved one. The following warning signs point to potential or active drug or alcohol relapse.
A Noticeable Change in Personality or Attitude
When a person starts using again, they know you’ll be disappointed. They do what they can to hide it. This may include pushing you away or being angry at you for unknown reasons. You may feel as though they are no longer communicating with you. A change in attitude like this may be due to the internal fight going on, one that may have your loved one considering using again.
If you notice this warning sign, take action. If your loved one will not talk to you about what’s happening, provide a way for them to speak with someone who can help. They may have a sponsor, counselor, or support team you can encourage them to contact.
High Stress and Exposure to Triggers
One of the key causes of relapse is exposure to triggers. Triggers can include the workplace, certain people, or a health problem. When exposure to a trigger occurs, your loved one may seem to be under a lot of stress. They may be worried, unable to focus on tasks, or speak about the same topics frequently. You may also notice that they are feeling overwhelmed with simple tasks.
Encourage your loved one to open up–if not to you than to their support team. High levels of stress can lead to relapse, but with early intervention, you may be able to convince your loved one to seek out sources of relief other than alcohol or drugs.
More Frequent Display of Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms should stop during alcohol and drug abuse treatment. If you notice withdrawal symptoms again, that could mean that your loved one has started using again. Specifically, look for things like memory loss, trouble sleeping, depression, and a loss of appetite.
If you think your loved one is undergoing withdrawal, confront them if it is safe to do. Discuss what’s happening and why. Ask them to be honest, but don’t be shocked if they are not. This may be a good time to revisit a support group or get back in touch with the treatment center.
Other Warning Signs You Cannot Ignore
Everyone experiences relapse a bit differently. If you believe your loved one may be using, for any reason, push them to seek help. Some additional warning signs include:
- Changes in behavior, such as deviating from a daily routine, or compulsive behaviors that were not there before
- Lack of personal hygiene or good nutrition, especially if those were symptoms of use previously
- A breakdown of their relationships with friends, family, or their 12-step program or AA group
- Loss of judgment, such as being willing to make bad decisions that put themselves or loved ones at risk
- Not seeming to care about work or family life or being uninterested in hobbies or other activities they used to love
- Onset of depression or sudden instances of high anxiety levels
- Overdose or any instance in which you see them using the drugs or alcohol
If your loved one has been through our drug or alcohol treatment program at Victory Addiction Recovery Center in Lafayette, LA, and they seem to be struggling with addiction symptoms again, it may be time to seek out additional help. There is no 100% fool-proof way to prevent relapse from occurring. However, with routine visits to their therapist and ongoing attendance at local meetings, your loved one has a better chance at avoiding relapse.
If you believe your loved one is relapsing, trust your judgment. Contact your treatment center for immediate help or call Victory Addiction Recovery Center for immediate help.
Share This Post: