An alcohol or drug relapse does not happen overnight. In fact, it is a long process that can be effectively prevented before a physical relapse occurs. Due to the gradual stages of relapse, it is crucial for an individual to learn to identify the early warning signs of relapse for preventative measures. This can be beneficial not only for themselves but for others facing challenges with addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions as well. Having a strong understanding of the five rules of recovery can increase awareness for all. Restoration Recovery can teach individuals the sober living skills needed to stay on track to a sober lifestyle. Treatment can teach alumni helpful strategies to maintain a stable path moving forward.
Three Stages of Relapse
Based on a study by the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, relapse prevention is the main reason why most individuals seek professional care. A success of relapse prevention is to understand that relapse happens in small increments. The three different stages that lead up to a substance relapse include:
- Emotional relapse: One may remember their last time using but does not at this time think about using again.
- Mental relapse: The individual is spending time daydreaming about drinking or using drugs again.
- Physical relapse: Ultimately, the stage where the individual drinks or uses substances once again.
The Warning Signs of a Relapse
Many individuals are unfortunately oblivious to the warning signs of relapse due to a lack of relapse prevention. It is imperative for an individual to communicate their feelings, concerns, and questions with their health care specialist regarding their mental health. Reaching out to address certain challenges with unwanted triggers can also be very helpful in preventing a relapse. Learning to recognize the warning signs of relapse can help one slow down and appropriately respond to unwanted triggers. Warning signs may consist of:
- Feelings of depression
- No longer participating in sober activities
- Spending time with the wrong crowd
- Feeling irritable
The Importance of Early Intervention to Address the Warning Signs of Relapse
When an individual starts to sense they are emotionally slipping in recovery, early intervention may avert a substance relapse. According to the journal Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, substance use disorder (SUD) treatment was created to help those who are facing problems with severe addiction. Treatment can help effectively guide one to discontinue using harmful substances.
Many different aspects of an individual’s life may be negatively impacted by misusing drugs or alcohol. Addiction can interfere with relationships, work performance, and one’s ability to function in an academic setting. Treatment can significantly improve an individual’s quality of life as a whole. This includes everyone involved as well. Relapse prevention is one type of addiction treatment that is very effective in preventing a major setback. It is a cognitive-behavioral approach that works to help one effectively identify and respond to warning signs with the goal of preventing a relapse. Relapse prevention can also provide lapse management.
Understanding the Warning Signs of Relapse and Learning From Setbacks
A majority of individuals may feel that a drug or alcohol relapse is a major setback. This is not entirely true. Many individuals are at an increased risk of having a substance relapse within the first year after completing their chosen treatment program. Although a relapse can bring a whirlwind of emotions the best thing to do is take it as a learning lesson. It can be easy for an individual to beat themselves up over their addictive behavior but there are just a few strategies that can help one reestablish alignment. Some helpful tips may include:
- Seeking professional care
- Spending time with friends and family
- Taking full responsibility
- Returning to one’s original structured routine
- Reevaluating the stages of relapse
- Partaking in sober activities
- Removing toxic friendships
- Staying active and exercising
- Eating a nutritional diet
Finding Forgiveness and Learning the Warning Signs of Relapse With Restoration Recovery
There are many different reasons for a substance relapse. An individual may feel severe stress due to an intense workload. Perhaps there was a tragic death in the family. Maybe an individual is going through a sudden divorce or other forms of trauma. Regardless of the reason for relapse, everyone is met with major life changes. Forgiving oneself can bring light to a new chapter. Learning the safest ways to respond to the warning signs of relapse can prevent feelings of grief and shame when starting over.
Once a rehab program has been completed, support does not have to stop there. Relapse prevention and aftercare services with Restoration Recovery can help an individual learn to recognize the three stages of relapse and appropriately react. Everyone deserves to heal and find peace after a regretful relapse. The transition into society can sometimes feel overwhelming. Moving forward with aftercare services can help individuals develop a strong foundation for a lasting recovery.
At our California recovery center, our serene setting helps clients achieve not just wellness, but wholeness. Our mission is to help people struggling with substance use disorder, a mental health disorder, or dual diagnosis disorders to achieve long-term sobriety by offering treatment options that heal the mind, body, and spirit. At Restoration Recovery, we believe that unity, honesty, communication, and clinical support can work against the disease of addiction. Addiction aftercare is a comprehensive and continuous support system designed to provide individuals with the tools, resources, and guidance to maintain sobriety. If you are having difficulty recognizing the warning signs of relapse, our relapse program and aftercare services can help. Call us at (888) 290-0925 to learn more.