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What Are the Warning Signs of a Relapse?

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After undergoing a drug and alcohol treatment program, it is important to remember your addiction is not cured. Addiction is a life-long struggle to use what you learned to help remain clean and sober. However, relapse is also a common side-effect some people experience when past triggers, stress, anxiety, major life events, and other such things become very overwhelming.

It is important to be able to recognize the relapse warning signs to avoid falling back into your previous bad habits. When you can catch yourself sooner than later, it is easier to manage your addictive tendencies and get help to get you back on track.

Relapse, just like your addiction, is not something that occurs overnight. It is a gradual process that begins when you are exposed to your triggers and fail to address them properly. Signs of relapse are also broken down into three categories: mental, physical, and emotional.

Mental Signs and Symptoms of Relapse

Mental relapse occurs when there is a struggle in your mind about using. The longer this goes unaddressed, the more likely you will eventually give in to that part of your mind which wants you to start using again.

Signs to watch out for could include:

  • Hanging out with the same group of friends that encouraged or even supported your drinking or drug use.
  • Lying to those people who support your recovery.
  • Daydreaming about how using made you feel so good.
  • Bargaining with yourself or making false promises that it will be a “one-time” thing.

Physical Warning Signs of Relapse

Physical relapse occurs when you start ignoring your physical care like getting plenty of sleep, eating healthfully, and exercising. Ignoring these things makes it easier for your mind to encourage you to physically start using again.

If you find yourself wanting to give in physically, it is important to call your sponsor, attend a meeting, or seek help from our rehab center in Los Angeles right away. Once you give in physically, you will have to undergo detox all over again, which you already know isn’t fun.

Emotional Signs and Symptoms of Relapse

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With emotional relapses, using is typically the farthest thing you are thinking about. Yet, you are unintentionally placing yourself into emotional situations that can trigger a mental relapse and advance into a physical relapse.

Some of the more common emotional signs to watch out for include:

  • You find yourself feeling stressed or anxious all the time.
  • You are not getting sufficient restful sleep or you are experiencing insomnia.
  • You notice you are quick to anger.
  • You notice your moods quickly change—like being upbeat and happy to feeling sad or even depressed.
  • You are isolating yourself from those who support your recovery.
  • You stop attending meetings, counseling sessions, or other ongoing addiction treatment.
  • You notice you have a lack of appetite or return to unhealthy eating habits.
  • You notice significant weight loss or weight gain.

Dealing with the Warning Signs of a Relapse

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Once you recognize the potential signs of a relapse, the next step is to address them using various methods. This could include one or more of the following:

  • Talking about the urge can help immensely as you can walk through what would happen if you did use and the outcome.
  • Go for a walk, attend a meeting, see your counselor, or occupy yourself with something for 30 minutes to see if the urge passes.
  • Rather than thinking long term when you have urges, concentrate on getting through the next 30 minutes or hour at a time.
  • Practice relaxation techniques you learned in recovery every day to help keep urges at a minimum.

For further help when you are experiencing the signs and symptoms or relapse, please feel free to contact Dedicato Treatment Center at 626-921-0113 today!