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Relapse Warning Signs

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Most relapses (from any substance or behavioral addiction) occur before the actual substance has been taken! Why? This is because our habits and behaviors are the guiding tools to our lives. What we engage in leads our brain back to those old ways of thinking. Who we engage with brings up back to those same places and habits we’ve been trying to correct and heal through rehabilitation/recovery. How do we know when the actual relapse has occurred? We don’t ‘actually’ know. But, there are some relapse warning signs!

Promises Rehab Centers has a few guidelines that were very insightful to help aide against that pre-destructive and post-aftermath relapse. These are the guidelines that stuck out to us most when recognizing key patterns of behavior for relapsing:

1.  “You Start Romanticizing the Days When You Were Abusing Substances”

2.  “You Start Acting the Way You Did When Using”

3.  “You Start Thinking That One Drink or Pill Wouldn’t Hurt”

4.  “You Start seeking out old friends from your substance abusing days”

5.  You are extremely defensive when anyone brings up the changes in your behavior and attitude”

[Promises Treatment Centers. “7 warning signs you are headed for a relapse”. 7/19/2010] has a little bit of a different approach to this subject. As we may know, many substance abuse disorders stem/create mental health issues (such as depression). Some people who are depressed (or have other mental health issues) abuse chemicals to cover their distress. This can create a strict dependency on substances when our already misguided brain chemistry is thrown for a loop! What happens when you cut off the chemicals to the brain you’ve been feeding for so long?Do the symptoms of depression come back? Do you wish to abuse or use all over again, just like that? Are you stuck in a forever defeating cycle? Do you ‘give up’ with the warnings of a relapse? Or do you fight?

With these tips WebMD provides of “11 Warning Signs of a Depression Relapse,” we can combat mental health and addiction all in one. Some include:

  1. “Breaking Plans, Withdrawing Socially”
  2. “Irritability”
  3. “Loss of Interest in Sex or Other Pleasures”
  4. “Feeling Worthless”
  5. “Suicidal Thoughts”

{Brunilda Nazario, MD. “Slideshow: 11 Warning Signs of a Depression Relapse. 5/1/2014]

With most recoveries we're looking to make positive changes in our daily outcomes.  Focusing on the day-to-day and not worrying about the tasks at hand (staying clean), we may lose focus from time to time. provides us with some more patterns that may draw us back into those old ways of thinking of abusing and using:

  1. “Believing you are strong enough to use again without falling back into addiction”
  2. “Breaking down of social relationships”
  3. “Resenting those who try to help you”
  4. “Withdrawal symptoms suddenly start to reappear”
  5. “Loss of belief in addiction recovery program”
[ Recognizing Drug and Alcohol Relapse Warning Signs For You and Your Loved Ones. 2015]

If these tips were not enough to help combat the battle for you then here are some that we came up with on our own personal experiences:

  1. Irregular sleep patterns
  2. Where stints of money spending
  3. Planning to find money any way you can (include pawning personal materials)
  4. Losing interest in ‘regular’ activities and spending them dwelling (becoming addictive)
  5. Feeling lost but not asking for help
  6. Isolation
  7. Lack of focus on the positive things
  8. Reversion into narcissism (thinking only about yourself)
  9. Losing contact with sober friends
  10. Disconnected from worldly meanings and objects

Relapse can be horrible. Substance abuse can be devastating not just to you, but to everyone around you. There is no ‘best-case scenario.’  Every time you use or abuse you lose. Every single time you risk losing your life to jails, institutions, or death! Make the fight for your life with these preemptive tips on how to avoid relapse warning signs, it's possible to nip this in the butt! It may not be you struggling with addictions or it may be? Whoever the one with the problem is these tips will keep you aware and apt to your recovery and making a better life for all! What are some tips you could give others? Do you see any of these signs in someone you know? Are you someone who has these signs? Reach out!  Take care for those you care about!  Especially yourself!

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