mental struggle with addiction

Recognizing Relapse Warning Signs

Recognizing Relapse Warning Signs

Just as an individual’s specific addiction relapse triggers are unique to them and their experiences, warning signs that your loved one has relapsed depend on a number of unique personal factors. However, noting one or more of the following common warning signs can be a strong indicator that a stage of relapse has occurred or is imminent:

  1. Dishonesty. Little white lies are one thing, but if your loved one seems to continually be lying to you about things like whether or not they went to therapy, where they are spending all their time (or money), or why they never seem to come to the weekly family dinner anymore, this can be a sign that they are trying to hide a relapse.
  2. Overconfidence. While it’s important for your loved one to feel confident in their own ability to recover from addiction, overconfidence can be dangerous and a common sign of relapse. This supposed period of improvement could be them trying to overcompensate for something. If they start talking about quitting treatment or giving up on certain parts of their aftercare plan because they “just feel better” or don’t feel like they need to anymore, this can indicate that they are no longer actively pursuing their long-term recovery goals and may be at risk for relapse.
  3. Neglecting personal hygiene. Poor self-care practices, such as forgetting to wash their hair, refusing to take a shower, not brushing their teeth, or wearing the same clothes for days is nearly always a sign that something is wrong and that they are potentially in the middle of a mental relapse—if not relapse, then perhaps some other negative experience that may trigger a relapse.
  4. Reviving old (negative) connections. If your loved one is spending time with the people they used to use with or hanging out in the same places in which they used to use, this can be a strong indicator that they are in a stage of relapse, or the mental relapse has already occurred—especially if they try to hide that they are spending their time thus.
  5. Self-imposed isolation. Social withdrawal from positive relationships and neglecting or avoiding social connections, in general, isn’t merely a relapse warning sign—it can also occur as a result of the guilt and shame your loved one may feel if they’ve already had an emotional relapse.
  6. Significant change in attitude. Bad days are a natural part of the process of recovery. But if your loved one seems to be experiencing distinct stages of negative feelings, like feelings of anxiety or sadness, and other possible signs of decreasing mental health, over an extended period of time, they may be at risk for a relapse. Similarly, mood swings, increased irritability, and other sudden marked changes in attitude can indicate either a risk of relapse or that they’ve already been in the throes of mental relapse. Even strong positive feelings, if it’s extreme or seems to come out of the blue, can be a sign that they are experiencing the highs of using again. It’s important to keep an eye on their emotional health, alongside their mental and physical health, as any changes to them can be indicative of something bigger going on.
  7. Significant change in behavior. If your loved one starts repeatedly skipping school, “forgetting” appointments, acting out, or simply acting contrarily to their usual character, a significant change in behavior is often one of the most pronounced warning signs of relapse. This is especially true if there is a marked change in eating or sleeping habits.

The best way to recognize a potential sign of relapse is to listen to your sober support system and loved ones. It's all too easy to write off red flags as something temporary or innocuous, but ignoring a potential relapse will only make recovery harder in the long run. If it feels like something is wrong, then something probably is wrong.

Don't panic if the warning signs above sound all familiar. Even if your loved one is already on the cusp of relapse, there is still hope for recovery, both in the short and long term.

If you or someone you know would like to know more about Transformations by the Gulf Substance Abuse Treatment Center Give us a Call 24/7 (727)498-6498

The success of a person’s recovery depends on the level of personalized treatment provided. It is important to find an addiction treatment program that works.  When we say our treatment is individualized, we mean that we craft a program that is tailored to address the client’s unique physical, mental and emotional needs.

In the client’s first 24 hours with us, we’ll evaluate their current state and work to understand what challenges they need to overcome. They’ll also have an initial session with our doctor and meet with one of our licensed mental health professionals.

After the initial evaluations, we’ll design a treatment plan with the sole mission of helping the client overcome and heal from addiction. Their program will focus on things such as:

  • Addressing and Identifying root causes of addiction.
  • Creating a support system.
  • Developing healthy stress management techniques.
  • Eliminating Substance use.
  • Learning how to communicate emotions effectively.
  • Maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
  • Repairing damaged relationships.

Our Facility is near the beach and offers a comfortable setting for substance abuse treatment and recovery.


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