A Brief Look at Relapse Warning Signs
What is a trigger? There are various things that can prompt an addict to relapse. A trigger can be anything – certain events, people, or psychiatric issues, such as anxiety and/or depression. Alcoholics, for example, may be triggered to drink at the bar they used to frequent. Any addict may be triggered by old friends they used to get high with. Avoid people you used to get high with and places you would get high at. Even having a bad day can be a trigger. It is important to understand relapse warning signs and to have a strong support system.
Six common relapse warning signs
It is important to note that there are several signs of relapse. Below are six relapse warning signs to look out for.
- Seeking out old friends from your substance-abusing days. Among the relapse warning signs outlined here, this one may be the most telling. While it may seem innocent enough, it is, in fact, a very dangerous sign. You may just be wondering how your old friends are doing, however, if they are not in recovery then you need to stay away because it will be easy to fall in to old habits.
- Romanticizing the days when you were abusing substances. It may be fun to reminisce about the good old days but when addicts only remember the good times and not the rough ones – they may be headed down the dark path to relapse. Of the six relapse warning signs, this may be the most treacherous one. Remember that you became sober for a reason.
- Not going to meetings. It is very common for an addict to make excuses when they cease attending meetings: they do not like the praying, or listening to the same stories time after time. The most successful addicts are ones who maintain some sort of connection to a twelve-step program.
- You begin to think that maybe just one drink or pill won’t hurt. Living the sober life takes some adjustment – to say the least. Signs an addict will relapse include believing they can use recreationally. Those in recovery understand this is not true. A wise thing to do is create distractions for yourself (or the addict).
- Changes in behavior or attitude. If you are suddenly feeling depressed and lonely and begin isolating – you may be in trouble. Reach out to loved ones or see a therapist.
- Becoming extremely defensive when anyone raises the issue of changes in your attitude and behavior is indicative of denial. Falling back into old routines and patterns signals that the addict may be close to relapse. This familiar behavior should alarm the addict or their loved ones. If you are trying to confront the addict about their behavior you must do so in a gentle manner or they may spiral out of control and relapse.
Remember that addiction is a lifelong battle and there is no cure. NIDA estimates that 40-60%of recovering addicts relapse – which is extremely similar to the rate of relapse for people suffering from diabetes or asthma. Addiction is a disease. Become familiar with the signs an addict has relapsed and relapse warning signs – this will help you be proactive in your recovery or the recovery of a loved one.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.