Do You Know the Early Signs of Relapse?
Recovery is a long, winding path with ups and downs, successes and disappointments, progress and back-sliding. While relapse is common – the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that about 40 to 60 percent of people with addiction slide back into drug use after rehab – it’s not inevitable. In fact, there are some early warning signs and triggers that can alert you to impending relapse. Learning to recognize these signs is the first step toward avoiding them or reaching out for support at the first sign of trouble.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends making a list of any early warning signs you’ve noticed in yourself in the past. For example, ask yourself: How do you feel when you know you are not feeling quite right? How did you feel just before you had a hard time in the past or when you noticed that your habits or routines changed?
Below are some common signs of impending relapse; you don’t need to experience all of them to be at risk. For some, a single trigger can signal relapse is on the way, while others succumb after several red flags have appeared.
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling slowed down or speeded up
- Being uncaring
- Avoiding others or isolating
- Being obsessed with something that doesn’t really matter
- Displaying of irrational thought patterns
- Feeling unconnected to my body
- Increased irritability
- Increased negativity
- Not keeping appointments
- Changes in appetite
If you have any of these early warning signs, it’s important that you don’t ignore them. You can take action by taking the following steps, according to SAMHSA.
- Ask for help: Tell a supporter/counselor how you’re feeling or check in with your healthcare professional.
- Do at least three, 10-minute relaxation exercises each day (deep breathing or mediation, for example).
- Write in a journal for at least 15 minutes each day.
- Spend at least one hour involved in an activity that you enjoy enjoy each day.
- Read a good book.
- Dance, sing, listen to good music, play a musical instrument, exercise, go fishing, or fly a kite.
Preventing Relapse at Seabrook
We know that a relapse prevention plan is a critical part of maintaining sobriety. Similarly, don’t ever feel that you’ve slipped too far from recovery to return to addiction treatment. We’re here to support you every step of the journey. To learn more, call: 800-761-7575.