Recovery is a long road that consists of a process rather than just a singular event. Sometimes a relapse comes early in a person’s recovery, while other times it happens after a lengthy amount of time has been spent enjoying sobriety. Wherever you are in the process, dealing with relapse as soon as it happens makes a big difference, so make sure that you recognize the signs of relapse.
The Signs of Relapse Begin With Emotions
The beginning of relapse can start weeks before the actual physical actions occur. Emotional relapse is the first stage and involves experiencing consistent negative feelings like anger, guilt, or shame. Increased feelings of depression may initially pave the way towards relapse, which often results in a person feeling an urge to turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve the symptoms. Look out for experiencing low energy, appetite fluctuations, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities. These are all signs of depression and should be dealt with by using healthy coping skills to remove the risk of relapse.
Stress can also trigger a relapse. Returning to the “real world” means exposing yourself to old triggers, responsibilities, and situations you were able to leave behind while participating in your initial treatment. Monitor yourself closely for mood swings, increased feelings of anxiety or frustration, and an inability to complete tasks. The less happy you feel in recovery, the more likely you are to slide backward. Make a consistent effort to talk through stressful moments in a way that helps you blow off steam, and plan how to reduce your stress. This can take place by talking to a therapist, a support group, or a trusted family member or friend.
Pay Attention to Your Self-Care Habits
You may also have begun to notice a lapse in taking care of yourself physically, which can add to a desire to begin using drugs or alcohol again in order to make up for it. Signs of relapse can begin when you are not attending to physical needs such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, or eating healthy. Neglecting this part of your life helps create emotionally draining results that may result in wanting to use again. Take regular stock to see if you are filling your need for sleep, eating regular meals that fit your dietary needs, and getting your body moving through an exercise routine. All of these habits prove important for everyone to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. For someone trying to stay in recovery, they become even more important. When you are tired, nutritionally deficient, or in need of moving around more often, your body can signal to your brain that you need relief. For someone trying to overcome addiction, this may result in the decision to use drugs or alcohol again.
Another part of self-care has to do with surrounding yourself with friends and family who provide positivity in your life. Take stock of anyone in your circle of friends or family who is toxic to you, whether from their general negative attitudes or their own continued abuse of drugs or alcohol. Plan time with people who help lift you up and support your recovery goals. It’s also important to know that one of the signs of relapse is the tendency to isolate. Isolating from social activities and other people can leave even a person in strong recovery with the desire to use drugs or alcohol again. Make sure you aren’t pushing people away or making excuses not to socialize. The more involved you are with activities and other people, the more accountable you end up being to yourself.
Identifying Signs of Relapse In Your Head
A person in recovery from a substance use disorder who has begun to experience difficult emotions like stress and depression and is having trouble practicing good self-care is already in potential trouble. If those issues are not dealt with effectively, mental relapse can begin, which consists of an internal struggle as you battle between desires to remain sober and to return to using. You might find yourself idealizing your past, fantasizing about using again or even planning your relapse. This is a dangerous place to be and, if you do not seek help, can lead to a full-blown relapse.
If You’re on the Track to Relapse
If relapse seems imminent, take stock of all options you have to reverse your course, including reaching out to your doctor, therapist, support group, and loved ones. Remember that there is no such thing as just using drugs or alcohol again one time and not being in danger of losing everything you’ve worked for. If you know that you cannot handle the urge to relapse alone, seek help immediately. Professional treatment programs know that relapse commonly happens and they can provide the care you need to cut the relapse short.
Treatment for Relapse in Los Angeles
Have you found that you relapsed and are struggling with addiction again? We know how to provide the treatment that gets young adults back in recovery and learn to avoid relapsing again. We provide options for multiple types of therapy and help address accompanying mental health diagnoses.
Contact Riviera Recovery today and let us help you move back into recovery and stay there. We are happy to answer any questions you have about how we can help.