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What Do I Do If My Loved One Has Relapsed?

If your loved one relapsed, it’s not the end of their recovery and sobriety, so don’t lose hope. Notwithstanding, relapse is a distinct possibility, especially for those who have achieved long-term sobriety. According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study, those who recover from an addiction will relapse at least once. Maintaining sobriety is the daily goal of those who have recovered from an addiction, and it is possible to remain sober with the help of an educated support system. 

The unfortunate and highly dangerous relapse for those who have maintained sobriety over the long term can result in overdose or death. For example, being sober for a lengthy period will result in losing tolerance for the misused drug. If the user takes the same amount of the drug they once used during their addiction, adverse consequences may occur. Therefore, identifying signs and symptoms before your loved one relapsed could prevent an unfortunate setback. 

Signs and Addiction Relapse Triggers To Look For

Relapse after addiction treatment is an essential factor to consider with every person in recovery. Consequently, the support system, family, friends, and coworkers need education on the vital elements of relapse to know what to look for that could indicate an impending relapse. It is not advisable to wait until your loved one has relapsed. Therefore, relapse prevention and education concerning signs and triggers must be a part of the treatment process. 

Your loved one who seems to be successfully living a successful sober lifestyle may struggle with challenging thoughts and feelings. Quite possibly, these thoughts and feelings are the same as before the addiction occurred, but they did not possess the healthy tools for coping at that point. This dilemma often occurs throughout recovery and, if not recognized as a trigger or problem, can lead to relapse. Fortunately, this situation can be an opportunity for a support system rescue to help cope and reduce relapse possibility. 

The following signs and triggers of possible relapse could include any of the next:

  • Stress: Overwhelming stress could produce the desire to go to drugs or alcohol for escape. Checking stress levels regularly through listening and observing behaviors is supportive behavior. 
  • Easy Access to Drugs or Alcohol: If a loved one begins to go to bars or mentions regular participation with groups or friends using substances, it may be an excellent time to revisit the temptation or challenges presented with being in those situations. 
  • Facing Negative Connections: Support systems must listen closely to who and where their loved one connects with people. The presence of friends and acquaintances still using drugs or alcohol as they were in the past could be a negative factor in a recovery lifestyle. 
  • Loneliness and Social Isolation: This uncomfortable feeling is difficult to address and cope with. If you notice social isolation is occurring, suggest finding a source of healthy and positive peer interactions.
  • Illness or Physical Injury: losing control of developing a disease or encountering a physical injury is a stressful challenge. In some cases, education helps cope with the situation, and asking for advice from a provider is a positive coping mechanism. 
  • Major Life Transitions: Listening to your loved one when major life transitions occur is helpful, but suggesting additional therapy from a professional could reinforce a positive coping mechanism. Everyone needs help with the change. 
  • Boredom: Boredom breeds negativity, so finding a new hobby, asking for additional therapy, group therapy sessions, and challenging your loved one with finding new activities of interest could eliminate boredom. 

Why Does Relapse Happen?

Relapse occurs because addiction is a chronic disease to manage daily to prevent relapse. Unfortunately, returning to sobriety and recovery might be challenging if your loved one has relapsed. As part of the support system, it can be a struggle to understand why relapse occurs, but if it does, it is crucial to get back into treatment immediately. Understanding the triggers that led to deterioration is essential to future prevention. 

Relapse is a symptom of the disease of addiction. Consequently, the possibility is always present just as an outbreak of any given chronic disease experiences. The goal is to understand that relapse is a symptom and not a failure when a loved one relapsed helps to process addiction as a disease. Finally, recognizing triggers to relapse occurring in your loved ones’ life could offer the chance to discuss their feelings. 

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Relapse prevention strategies fall back on having an education about why relapse happens and recognizing the triggers and signs that impending relapse could happen. In addition, triggers are unique to each case, so understanding what occurred with your loved one before addiction is valuable knowledge. The first strategy in relapse prevention is having open communication with your loved one, developing a trusting, safe, and supportive relationship, and being attentive at all times. As a result, you can be observant and in tune with your loved one’s behaviors, words, and actions to clue in on possible triggers.    

The following signs and symptoms could indicate the possibility of relapse. Watching these signs and communicating concerns with your loved one could prevent relapse. 

  • Your loved one is communicating an overconfident mindset, which could be dangerous. Once overconfidence becomes a standard thought process, they could forget the vulnerability to addiction. 
  • A significant change in attitude could indicate negative emotions, feelings, and mental health problems. Mental health concerns can be a discussion with a therapist. 
  • Adverse changes in behavior could indicate impending relapse. It is always challenging to be positive, but if the support system notices the change, it is time to talk about it. 
  • Changes in appearance indicate neglect of personal hygiene. Neglect in personal hygiene could indicate depression. A therapist appointment is a positive choice to address this problem. 
  • If you find your loved one dishonest with you, this is a sign of a problem. Dishonesty is beyond healthy boundaries, and there must be a conversation about how to resolve it. 

How Detox Can Help If Your Loved One Relapsed

When a loved one has relapsed, do not shame or blame, but encourage immediate detox. While complete treatment may not be necessary, some time with group and individual therapy is beneficial. In addition, each case is different, and depending upon the situation, it is essential to listen to the advice of the professionals in moving forward after detox. So, in the long run, don’t be discouraged if the recommendation is inpatient treatment for a period. Relapse can be a time for reflection, learning, and the opportunity to make a more substantial relapse prevention plan. 

Explore Opportunities if Your Loved One Has Relapsed in Georgia

Once you understand that relapse is a symptom of the chronic disease of addiction, you can have a more positive outlook on addressing your loved one who has relapsed. Fortunately, the Retreat of Atlanta in Georgia is experienced in detox after relapse and offers solid treatment options to build a new comprehensive relapse prevention plan. Contact our admissions for more information concerning immediate detox and assessment for additional treatments. The support system for your loved one needs to be understanding and compassionate with their care. Family counseling is also available.

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