Relapse
a woman learns how to recognize relapse
By BrightView
Author Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS
Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Dan is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervision designation (LPCC-S) and a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor... read more

Published: April 22, 2022
Updated: April 29, 2022

Relapse occurs when a person who is in drug or alcohol recovery starts using again. However, before it occurs, most people will go through a period of time where they start thinking about using again. They may even weigh the pros and cons of doing so. By recognizing relapse warning signs like that, you can get into treatment sooner, minimizing risks to your health and well-being.

At BrightView, our team understands how challenging it can be to maintain recovery in the “real world.” That’s why our mental health professionals help our patients identify their unique triggers, which are people, places, or objects that make people want to use drugs or alcohol again. If you want to set yourself up for long-term success in recovery, our BrightView team is ready to help. Learn more about how we can help you stay on the right track and avoid relapse by calling BrightView today at 1-833-510-HELP or filling out our online form.

Know What Triggers Relapse

Recognizing relapse symptoms is important. Sometimes, the best way to do that is to start with understanding the most common reasons for it to occur. That’s when you’ll know you need to take steps to get help.

Some of these triggers include:

  • Relationship problems, especially in high-stress situations
  • Visiting locations where you used to use drugs or drink alcohol
  • Poor self-care, including poor eating, sleeping, or not managing stress well
  • Isolation from other people and spending too much time thinking
  • Overconfidence in your ability to use drugs or thinking it’s behind you
  • People who you used to use with or those involved in past traumas

If you’re experiencing these situations, it’s important to pay close attention to your thoughts and actions. Do you feel urges to use again? If so, it’s time to get help.

How to Recognize the Stages of Relapse

It’s possible that a person in recovery will simply pick up a drink or use drugs out of nowhere. That’s not common though, especially if you’ve been through a professional recovery program. What is more common is for a person to go through stages of relapse risk.

The stages of relapse are:

  • Emotional relapse – Emotional relapse tends to occur when a person isn’t thinking about using, but they are experiencing behaviors or emotions that make it more likely they will use in the future. That may be not managing anger, anxiety, or fear well. They stop asking for help. They are eating or sleeping poorly.
  • Mental relapse – There’s a war going on in your mind during mental relapse. Some part of you wants to use drugs or alcohol, but you still don’t really want to go down that path. You’re thinking about using, or the things, people, or places you used to use. You may even be fantasizing about it.
  • Physical relapse – At this point, you’ve fallen back into old patterns of behavior, including substance use. Your brain has convinced itself that you can use or you should use for some reason. You can no longer limit your ability to stop. You feel overwhelmed with not using.

What Do You Do When Relapse Is Occurring?

The most important step in recognizing relapse is also realizing you can stop this process at any stage. To do that, you simply have to reach out for professional help and guidance. That’s not easy to do because your brain may be convincing you that you don’t need to do so.

Our BrightView team recommends reaching out for help and counseling before you reach that emotional relapse phase. That may mean turning to us for help with any type of counseling or support service we can offer, such as:

We will work with you to determine which of these programs would be best for your recovery journey. One of the first steps of treatment at BrightView is a thorough assessment, which includes finding out information about such factors as frequency of use, history of addiction, and identification of existing mental health disorders.

The soon you take that step and call for help, the easier it will be for you to stop relapse in its tracks. The good news is that if you do get help, you can avoid relapsing in many cases. That means all of the hard work you’ve done to this point isn’t for nothing. Learn more about how BrightView helps you abstain from drug or alcohol use today.

Maintain Recovery with Support from BrightView

When it comes to relapse, it is never too soon to call for help when you need it. Recognizing relapse faster may help you avoid relapse occurring, and it may allow you to get the support you need sooner.

Fortunately, our BrightView team has the knowledge and dedication to help you keep up your recovery from addiction. Contact BrightView online or at 833-510-4357 for fast, reliable help.