A relapse is when someone with a substance use disorder stops maintaining their sobriety after recovery. Some people believe that relapse is a sign that someone will fall back into drug abuse, but you can prevent further damage by catching a relapse early.

If your loved one is going through a relapse, you can do things to support them during this time. Below, we’ll guide you through some of the common causes of relapse, how to support your loved one and when you should consider seeking professional help.

Why Did My Loved One Relapse?

Relapse is a common occurrence in someone struggling with and recovering from addiction. About 40%-60% of people who have substance use disorders experience relapse as part of their recovery process. A relapse does not mean that addiction treatment has failed. If your family member has experienced a relapse, there are many reasons this can happen.

People who have struggled with addiction have triggers, which are situations or instances that spur a craving, inducing an urge to use a substance. While addiction treatment and professional help can provide your loved ones with healthy coping skills to overcome these urges, a relapse indicates that a change needs to be made to their treatment plan.

Some common triggers include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms: Physical and psychological withdrawal from a substance can be uncomfortable, and your loved one might relapse to prevent these feelings.
  • Mental health: Some people who have a mental health disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Your loved one might be trying to cope with their mental health symptoms by using substances, and if their mental health condition is left untreated, it can cause a relapse.
  • Peer pressure: Many people use substances in groups with their peers. If someone has just gone through treatment for their addiction and continues to hang around others who continue to use substances, they feel pressured or compelled by their cravings to relapse.
  • Environments: Certain environments encourage substance use, such as bars, clubs or parties. Simply being in these environments can be enough to trigger a relapse.
  • Uncomfortable feelings: Some people might experience boredom, isolation or loneliness after they go through treatment, especially if they don’t have a robust support network. Your loved one might relapse to avoid these feelings.

What NOT to Do When Someone You Love Relapses

If your loved one goes through a relapse, you’ll want to give them all the support you can offer. However, there are certain things you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t get upset or lose hope: Relapse is often a standard part of the addiction recovery process. It’s more than possible to recover from a relapse and reach sobriety again. If you show negative emotions, it can make your loved one feel unsupported and prevent them from seeking the treatment they need.
  • Don’t assign blame or get angry: Blaming your loved one for their relapse and getting mad at them for it will only make the situation worse, and they may feel discouraged from seeking treatment. Instead, you should try to react calmly and offer support.
  • Don’t make excuses: On the other side, you shouldn’t make excuses for your loved one’s relapse. Recognizing that there is an issue can help you encourage your loved one to seek help.
  • Don’t push: You should encourage your loved one to seek treatment, but don’t push them too hard. It can make them resistant to treatment, and ultimately, it should be their decision to seek treatment and make plans for their recovery.
  • Don’t dismiss the problem: Relapse can sometimes seem like a one-time thing from people standing on the outside. However, it’s essential not to ignore your loved one’s behaviors. Avoid enabling them to relapse again or allowing them to become codependent.

By stopping yourself from taking part in these behaviors, you can instead offer support and care to your loved one during their recovery process.

9 Things You Should Do for Someone Who’s Relapsing

Your loved one will need plenty of encouragement and support during their recovery process. If a loved one in your life is going through a relapse, you can take steps to help make their recovery process smoother. Here’s what to do when your loved one relapses:

1. Remain Positive

Keeping a positive mindset will help your loved one feel supported during this challenging time. Know that relapse is a normal part of the recovery process, and achieving sobriety again is possible.

2. Offer Your Support

A support network is vital for the recovery process. If your loved one can rely on you for support during this time, they’ll feel more motivated to seek treatment after a relapse.

3. Educate Yourself

You can support your loved one by educating yourself on the signs of relapse so you can spot the symptoms sooner, offer your support and help them seek therapy before the relapse becomes severe.

 

 

4. Find Professional Treatment

If your loved one is going through a relapse, finding a professional treatment center for them can help take some of the burdens off their shoulders. Having a treatment plan set up can help streamline the process once they decide to pursue treatment.

5. Encourage Support Groups

Support or therapy groups can be an excellent way for your loved one to connect with other individuals with the same experiences. They’re also a perfect tool for holding someone accountable and preventing relapse.

6. Identify Triggers

If you can identify your loved one’s triggers, you can prevent them from being exposed or help them through the situation. If bars trigger their drinking, you help them find another location to spend time at, such as a coffee shop.

7. Enjoy Sober Activities Together

Someone who went through addiction might need to find new activities for occupying their newfound free time. You can enjoy enriching activities, such as hiking, yoga and meditation. These hobbies are great for physical and mental health and can create a healthy outlet for loved ones recovering from addiction.

8. Set a Healthy Example

One of the best ways you can help a loved one going through relapse is to establish a healthy standard for them. Take care of yourself during this time and participate in healthy activities so your loved one can look at your behavior as an example.

9. Open a Line of Communication

You should discuss your feelings with your loved one to show that you care and that you’re empathic about their situation. Be careful not to blame them, but let them know how this affects you and that you’re here for them if they need support. Knowing how you feel can encourage your loved one to seek treatment for their relapse.

When to Get Professional Help

You can look out for certain signs that might indicate that professional help and treatment are necessary. These signs include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Disinterest in hobbies or passions
  • Hostility when asked about substance use
  • Denial when confronted by friends and family
  • Absences or poor performance at work or school
  • Lack of self-care, such as bad hygiene
  • The appearance of mental health symptoms after treatment
  • Staying out at bars or parties

While not all of these signs can indicate a relapse, it’s essential to be aware of these signs and talk with your loved one and a professional to determine if further treatment is necessary.

Treat Relapse at Transformations By The Gulf

If someone you love has struggled with addiction in the past, there’s a chance they might relapse, but there’s no need to worry. Relapse is a normal part of recovery for many people, and it’s possible to overcome relapse, even if it happened after rehab.

At Transformations By The Gulf, we help our patients free themselves from addiction with the structure and skills they need to transform their life. If a loved one is struggling with an addiction or you’re worried about a relapse, contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs in Florida.