Once a person has successfully completed a drug rehab program and passed the threshold into addiction recovery, family and loved ones are usually happy to have the person return home and begin their new life. This is the time, however, when the danger of relapse is the highest, and when loved ones must be aware of the signs of relapse. If it seems the person is heading toward drug abuse again, loved ones are encouraged to get help right away.
The Many Signs of a Potential Relapse in Addiction Recovery
One of the first signs of relapse is avoidance. A person who is about to relapse or who has already done so will avoid family and those who have hoped for their sobriety for so long. This is usually because of embarrassment and the desire to hide their problem once again, and also because they do not want to cause their loved ones any more pain. Another warning sign of relapse is if the person goes back to spending time with their drug-abusing friends and acquaintances. A person about to relapse will also quit going to support group meetings and therapy sessions, all in an effort to hide what they are really thinking about doing.
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According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), other warning signs of relapse include:
- Irrational thoughts about recovery
- Thinking patterns that bring on painful feelings
- Behaving in self-defeating ways to avoid pain
- Looking for people who use alcohol and drugs
- Thinking less rationally and behaving irresponsibly
- Being in situations where drugs or alcohol seem like an escape from pain
Families Can Help Prevent Relapse
To help their loved ones avoid relapse, family and friends can encourage them to faithfully attend support groups and therapy sessions. Loved ones can also ensure that all drugs and alcohol are out of the house and not easily accessible for the person. Finally, caring family members can be supportive of their loved one and work with them on stress reduction, trigger avoidance, and other techniques they learned at rehab.