The Stages of Relapse: Identification and Prevention
It’s challenging to overcome an addiction problem. Many individuals struggle to ask for help when they recognize the signs of a substance abuse problem in their lives. And some have a difficult time while they’re going through treatment. It’s not easy to adapt to the changes that treatment and recovery bring. It’s especially difficult to deal with these changes when your body has grown dependent on a substance like alcohol or another type of drug. The road to recovery can be very hard and, in some cases, people become overwhelmed by these challenges. And, when these obstacles become too difficult to manage, people may begin to relapse. But, contrary to what some people may think, addiction relapse doesn’t just happen all of a sudden. It happens over time. In fact, there are actually stages of relapse. Let’s talk a little bit about what these stages look like.
An Overview of the Stages of Relapse
People who have an addiction problem did not develop the dependence problem right away. Addiction is a process. In other words, a person does not become addicted to pain medication just by using the medicine once or twice. The same goes for alcohol. But, after using the substance for a while, the individual may begin to grow dependent on it. When this substance dependence develops, a person might begin to abuse the drug or alcohol. He or she may use the substance even when it’s dangerous to do so. Sometimes, people use more medication than they should or drink more frequently. And, ultimately, they will find that they’ve developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Relapse, like addiction, is a process. It occurs in stages that may show themselves in various ways. It’s important to know about the stages of relapse if you or a loved one is in recovery.
Before we go into the details of each phase, we’ll briefly explain them. There are a few main stages of relapse. The first stage is emotional relapse. A person who is in this particular phase of addiction relapse might show various signs, from emotional disturbance to a lack of motivation. The second stage is mental relapse. This phase is often characterized by dishonesty and craving for the substance. Finally, there is the stage of physical relapse. In this stage, the individual uses alcohol or a drug once again. Now that we’ve had a quick overview, let’s look a little more closely at the stages of relapse.
Signs of Addiction Relapse
When a person is in the first phase of addiction relapse, he or she may begin having emotional issues. People in this phase may begin to have a hard time expressing themselves or discussing what they’re feeling. This problem may show itself in addiction therapy sessions or group meetings. The emotional stage of relapse might also affect how people sleep. Some people may begin to deal with depression and feel confused during this phase of addiction relapse. In the second stage of relapse, people stop feeling content. They may begin to feel restless and unsettled. As a result, they may begin to seem anxious about their recovery. Sometimes, people in this phase begin to question their plans of remaining sober. They might feel split between the world of substance use and sobriety. If these feelings continue, they may choose to look for chances to use drugs or alcohol again.
The final stage of relapse results in a person using the substance. They may only use once and then decide that they do not want to continue. Some people may choose to focus instead on their recovery and avoid substance abuse at all costs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in every case. Sometimes, this stage begins a long road of returning back to addiction. But, this doesn’t have to be your story.
If you or someone you know is working to recover from substance abuse, know that there is hope. You can find support and guidance here at Wellness Retreat Recovery Center’s comfortable and luxurious treatment facility. Our mission is to help you find a life that is free from addiction and help you avoid relapse. Contact us today to learn more about our services.