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Recognizing Relapse Triggers

a person puts their head in their hands in a dark background while dealing with relapse triggers

Experts estimate that a slight majority of individuals who complete a drug rehab program will experience a relapse in their lives. Avoiding relapse is possible with the proper support and a clear understanding of your personal relapse triggers. If you’d like information about a rehab aftercare program in Nebraska, call Northpoint Omaha at 888.687.8014 today.

Recognizing the Stages of Relapse

Relapse is a return to drug or alcohol use after a period of stopping use. Most recovery experts agree that relapse is a process with recognizable warning signs, not a single event. Relapse triggers may differ for everyone, but they generally develop in three stages.

Emotional Relapse

During the emotional stage, a person may be setting themselves up for a relapse through how they behave and handle their emotions. Some of the warning signs are:

  • Skipping recovery support meetings or not participating
  • Poor self-care, not eating well, and not getting enough sleep
  • Not expressing emotions in a healthy way
  • Isolation from their sober support network
  • Focusing on other people instead of taking care of themselves

Once you are aware you are exhibiting signs of emotional relapse, it’s essential to put your coping skills to work and figure out a way to address your needs. Speaking with a sobriety sponsor or other recovery specialist can help.

Mental Relapse

During stage two, a person becomes more preoccupied with thoughts of using substances. Their ability to resist weakens, and they are at higher risk for physical relapse.

  • Signs of mental relapse include:
  • Romanticizing drug or alcohol use
  • Spending time with old friends who are still using drugs or alcohol
  • Minimizing the consequences of addiction
  • Bargaining with yourself about an acceptable level of substance use
  • Lying
  • Thinking about ways to use substances in a controlled manner
  • Fantasizing about using substances
  • Planning the logistics of a relapse

Cravings also become more intense during a mental relapse because more time is spent thinking about them.

Physical Relapse

During stage three, the person drinks or uses drugs. It may be only a single glass of wine or a full binge for weeks. Once physical relapse has happened, returning to a recovery program may be necessary to strengthen your coping skills and get back on track.

Avoiding Relapse

Personal stress, toxic people, and unexpected life changes are factors every adult must learn to deal with healthily. Still, for people with an addiction disorder, these everyday stressors can lead them to return to destructive behaviors. Aftercare programs help people improve their coping skills and avoid relapse.

People who would most benefit from an aftercare program are those who need:

  • A support network
  • Accountability from peers as well as recovery specialists
  • Continued access to medical professionals

The most important thing to remember about relapse is that it is not the end of your recovery journey. Just as a relapse in diabetes or hypertension is an opportunity to adjust a patient’s treatment plan, an addiction relapse can be viewed similarly.

It is not a sign of weakness nor means you are incapable of remaining sober. A relapse is a sign that your treatment plan needs to be adjusted. With the proper support, you can get back onto your recovery path and learn new skills to keep going.

Northpoint Omaha Offers an Effective Aftercare Program

Avoiding relapse is easier when you understand your relapse triggers and have a plan of action. The aftercare program at Northpoint Omaha helps patients do exactly that.

Our aftercare program prepares patients for life after their treatment program is over and offers ongoing support that can help them remain in recovery. Contact Northpoint Omaha today at 888.687.8014 for more information.