Peninsula Health Center

Recognizing Early Signs of Relapse

Statistics indicate that an average of 50 percent or more of individuals who go through some form of substance abuse treatment will face a relapse. Sometimes, it starts with a slip where someone who is recovering uses a small amount, such as a recovering alcoholic taking a sip of champagne at a wedding. But these small slip-ups can lead to greater slip-ups and eventually to a relapse.

The more personalized the care, the farther away or less severe that relapse is from the time they leave their treatment center. That said, a relapse can happen when an old trigger or stress source gets worse, when someone faces a new source of stress, or when there is a change to other circumstances like mental health. Recognizing early warning signs of relapse can help you take action for yourself or others by finding a new form of treatment with the right level of care.

Early Signs of Relapse

The early warning signs of relapse can help you recognize in yourself or others the need to take action to manage the relapse and prevent it from getting worse. 

This can include physical signs, psychological signs, and behavioral signs. 

Behavioral Signs

Some of the early warning signs of relapse are behavioral. Someone close to you might suddenly stop going to their support group meetings or therapy sessions. Any change in treatment that is not authorized or decided upon by a care team could be an early marker. 

Other behavioral signs include social withdrawal. When an individual starts recovery, social isolation is one thing to avoid. As such, they might be encouraged by their care team to engage in support groups and community organizations or to reach out to friends and family regularly. When this behavior ceases and that same individual withdraws from activities, it is often an early warning sign of a possible relapse. 

Psychological Signs

Agitation, irritability, and unexplained mood swings are common early signs of relapse. Usually, this is depression, anxiety, mood changes, and a decreased ability to focus.

Psychological signs often surround mood changes, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Increased fear
  • Anxious physical habits like biting nails
  • Paranoia
  • Disturbing thoughts
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Hopelessness
  • Uncontrollable crying

Physical Signs

Physical early warning signs of relapse often center around eating, sleeping, and hygiene. 

This can include changes in sleeping patterns where an individual starts sleeping too much or too little. It can also include changes in eating habits, such as eating more or less than they normally do. Then, there is typically a decline in personal hygiene.

Getting Help with Early Signs of Relapse at Peninsula Health

It’s important to recognize that a relapse is not a failure or a sign that an individual should give up. A relapse is a common part of the recovery journey, something that many people struggle with. The failure comes in not taking action to prevent damaging negative consequences when you are aware that a relapse is happening. By learning to recognize early signs, you can prevent a relapse from getting worse by reaching out to professionals like at Peninsula Health to get help. 

At our Palos Verdes drug rehab, we provide clients with top-of-the-line, evidence-based treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with early signs of relapse, getting help sooner rather than later can give you the skills necessary to improve coping strategies, boost socialization, and recognize triggers.

Sometimes, clients participate in fast, short programs like outpatient treatment that only involve support group meetings, but they don’t get the deep level of connection and care they need through residential programs. That is why our LA County partial hospitalization programs can be a viable alternative to those who have tried other recovery methods in the past and are struggling with a relapse.If you notice the early signs of relapse in yourself or someone close to you, it’s important to get help from a professional treatment center as soon as possible. Let Peninsula Health connect you to flexible outpatient drug treatment in Long Beach that can stop a relapse from getting worse. Call our team today.