Three Major Signs of Relapse to Watch Out For

Recovery is a difficult but crucial process to undertake when choosing a life of sobriety. Many hurdles stand between an addict and their addiction, even post-recovery. Any addict, even ones with straightforward and effective recoveries, may struggle with relapse. Relapse is a return to compulsive and addictive behaviors, causing a great fall from recovery to addiction once again.

Addicts must be wary and cautious after treatment for any potential signs of relapse. According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), relapse rates for substance abuse disorder range from 40 to 60 percent. From an onlooker’s perspective, you may feel hopeless in providing any help and support for your addicted loved one. However, you can actually serve as a great advisor.

Oftentimes, most addicts are completely unaware of or neglectful about relapse. By watching their habits and routine, you might notice signals that indicate your loved one is fighting a relapse. With great observation and honesty, you can help inform and help them live a healthier life by discovering the signs.

Lacking Communication

Opening up about one’s feelings is a crucial part of maintaining sobriety and why addicts may see therapists post-recovery.  But once that communication slows or even stops altogether between friends, family, and therapists, there could be a problem. When addicts go quiet, it could be because they are dealing with feelings of fear and doubt of fully recovering.

This withdrawal of communication often arises from such thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, and there are noticeable signs. These can include not responding to texts or phone calls as quickly as they used to—perhaps not even at all. Possibly they hide and avoid activities and events at home, work, or certain social events they attend.

The best way to investigate and help in these situations is to approach them and discuss it with them. Inform them that you are always willing to listen to how they feel and that they can talk to you anytime about anything. When you provide an extra pillar of support, you can make a difference in an addict’s sobriety.


Traumatic life events can scare and change how we perceive different affairs and experiences. Known as triggers, people may fear certain activities, places, individuals, or patterns based on past experiences. For example, a person might be cynophobic due to a dog attack they dealt with in their childhood. With an addict, they may feel uneasy at a bar knowing they could give into alcoholic tendencies. Certain environments like the workplace can act as a trigger for stress that drives a person to substance abuse.

Triggers can stir emotional and irrational reactions out of fear and stress, such as fight-or-flight response. Along with communication, it is important to learn and discuss the potential triggers your loved one might have. This way, you can watch out for these triggers, help an addict avoid them, and assist them when facing one.

Hanging Out with Drinking/Drug Buddies

When a person becomes addicted to alcohol and various other drugs, they meet new people. They find buddies to drink with or do drugs with. While these people may not be inherently evil, they can encourage unhealthy habits in recently recovered addicts. By exposing themselves to substances in post-recovery, addicts make relapse even more likely.

Though you should not need to control who an addict spends time with, you should provide recommendations and guidance. Additionally, providing and building a support group with them can help prevent the need to hang out with such individuals. Instead, it can encourage healthier interactions and support in sobriety.

Ultimately, what matters in helping a loved one avoid relapse is providing support. You should not be responsible for their sobriety, as they likely already have the knowledge they need to go forward. Nevertheless, by offering a lending hand to them, you can point out a potential relapse and help them walk the path of sobriety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.

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