Addiction is a chronic disease. For someone who is overcoming an addiction, there is always the possibility of relapse. Remaining sober is a strenuous and long-term process. Knowing the warning signs of relapse and learning ways to address those signs is one of the best ways to prevent relapse from occurring.

Certain situations can bring about the desire to use again. Common triggers include:

  • Negative emotions
  • Social settings in which the substance is available
  • Stress
  • Isolation
  • Physical and mental illness

It is important to understand exactly what relapse is in order to help prevent it from occurring. Relapse happens in three stages: emotional, mental, and physical.

Emotional Relapse

 The first stage is an emotional relapse. This is when you experience emotions that may push you towards turning to substance use. At this point, you may not even have thoughts about using, but your feelings and behaviors are setting you up for a possible relapse to occur.

Signs of emotional relapse:
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Change in eating habits
  • Declining belief in the effectiveness of treatment

Early prevention requires recognizing these behavioral and emotional changes and using the tools and resources that you have learned in treatment to cope with them in a healthy way. Practicing self-care will ensure that you don’t let these negative emotions and tension build up.

Relapse Warning Signs

Learning to relax is an essential component of recovery. Using relaxation techniques is a beneficial way to ease tension and stress in a healthy way.

Mental relapse

 In this stage, your mind is torn between wanting to use and wanting to remain sober. This may start out with brief thoughts of using, which then turn into an overwhelming desire to use.

Signs of mental relapse:
  • Glamorizing past substance use
  • Hanging out with people you took the substance with
  • Putting yourself in settings where the substance is available
  • Thinking about using
  • Dishonesty

Open up to the people you trust and tell them that you are thinking about using. It is crucial to remain honest and to keep yourself accountable for your actions. Sharing your situation gives you a chance to take an objective look at your thoughts and consider why you are having these thoughts and what you can do to address them.

Physical Relapse

 Physical relapse is the final stage of relapse when you actually go and use the substance. This occurs when the previous signs are not addressed. Physical relapse can cause intense cravings to continue to use. It is crucial that someone gets back into treatment as soon as possible if they have reached this stage.

Recognizing the warning signs of relapse and taking early, preventative action is the best way to stop relapse from occurring. Take your recovery one day at a time. Every day you make the choice to remain sober. Thinking about recovery in the long-term can feel overwhelming and may make you feel stress and fear about whether or not you can remain substance free. Taking recovery one day at a time allows you to set realistic goals for yourself and allows you to see that you have the power to remain committed to sobriety.

Asana Recovery is committed to providing the highest quality and level of care to our clients.  We treat every client and their families with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Contact us today at 949-438-4504 to speak with one of our caring admissions counselors to discuss the best plan of care of you or your loved one.