For someone in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, relapse is always a possibility. However, the signs of relapse are not always evident. As a result, a person may end up revisiting their addiction before realizing there was a problem that led to the relapse. Substance abuse treatment programs help clients identify their triggers and develop skills for managing their cravings.
However, not all clients are successful in remembering or implementing what they learn in therapy. They may relapse multiple times before finally recovering for good. Recognizing the early signs of relapse can help someone maintain a sustainable recovery, especially if they seek addiction treatment therapies, like those available at Midwest Detox, while they are tempted to relapse.
Understanding the Stages of Relapse
Relapse is broken down into three stages:
- Emotional Relapse: Emotional relapse occurs when a person in recovery is triggered by a person, event, or environment that connects them to their addiction. They may have a sudden longing to drink or retake drugs. This stage of relapse occurs before the person realizes they are relapsing.
- Mental Relapse: Mental relapse occurs when someone is struggling internally with making good choices. Part of them wants to remain in recovery, while another part wants to return to their addiction. As this phase of relapse progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult for a person to stay on track.
- Physical Relapse: Once mental relapse has reached a certain level, it turns into a full-blown physical relapse. A person gives in to their cravings and starts drinking or using drugs again. Their addiction is as bad or worse as it was the first time. This stage often requires professional help from a drug and alcohol detox center.
Common Signs of Relapse
Detachment from a support network is common. When someone completes an addiction treatment program, they are motivated to stay connected to a support system. They may take advantage of aftercare services such as:
- Support groups
- Continued therapy
- Sober living houses
- Alumni programs
- Online resources
However, they may unplug from each source of support as they gain more independence. Detachment from a support network causes the person to become more vulnerable to relapse.
Recalling the Past
A person who has been in recovery may forget the pain they caused themselves and others while struggling with addiction. The painful emotions they felt in their darkest hours may be long gone. Consequently, they may romanticize the past and relive the days of drug or alcohol abuse in their minds. Recalling the past is a foray into mental relapse, which can lead to physical relapse.
Flirting with Temptation
Many people in recovery relapse at the precise moment they feel the most confident about their recovery. Why is this? Because their confidence (or overconfidence) caused them to test the waters and put them in situations where they are most vulnerable – many times without realizing it. They may attend a party knowing that alcohol is present. Or they may spend time with people who are a negative influence.
A person in recovery quickly finds out that the world has not changed, although they have. Life continues to bring challenges at home, work, or school. When the challenges pile up, and life becomes unstable, it can create mental instability. The person eventually crumbles under the weight of stress, anxiety, or depression that accompanies the difficult circumstances. It is not long before they turn back to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Learn More About the Signs of Relapse at Midwest Detox Center
Do you have a friend or loved one who is on the verge of relapse? If so, you can get help for them today. Contact Midwest Detox Center at 833.647.0392, or contact us online to explore treatment options or determine how to stage an intervention. We are here to help your loved one stay on track with their recovery goals.