The transformation from treatment to everyday life may be one the hardest transitions your loved one suffering from addiction may have to face. They are coming to grips for the first time with their new found freedom after a lengthy visit to a drug rehab. For those suffering with substance abuse disorder the adjustment period from treatment to recovery is the hardest part on their road to long term sobriety. During this period your role as a family member or caretaker becomes very important and these tips will help you to spot the signs of an oncoming drug relapse.

How to identify an oncoming drug relapse:


The return of denial and avoidance

This is the earliest stage of a relapse and usually rears its ugly head in many different forms. During this phase you may notice your loved one sinking into an avoidance routine. They avoid specific places, outings, friends, fellow employees and family. They begin to show signs of loneliness and compulsive behavior. Be on the look out for signs of defensiveness as they are tell tale signals the reigns of self control are loosening.

Crisis building

In tandem to the stage above your loved one will display signs of tunnel vision. They begin to fixate on minor problems instead of solutions. They begin to stop planning and lose structure in their routine. And they begin to experience minor depression.


This is a more noticeable stage as they become more restless and display heightened depressive moods. They may also begin day dreaming and verbalizing their unhappiness instead of finding alternative ways to find happiness.

Confusion & Overreaction

You may begin to notice they experience periods of confusion and that they have become easily angered. Things they usually have patience and understanding for quickly become triggers for their anger and frustration. A big tell tale sign will be their relationships. At this stage you can pick up displays of irritation directed towards their friends or family.



During the depression stage you may see they have become a recluse and lose their entire recovery structure. Their usual activities like attending meetings or working have come to a standstill. They also show a lack of desire to take action and fall into irregular eating and sleeping patterns.


Loss of control

At this stage relapse is soon to follow as your loved one may develop an “I don’t care attitude” and dissatisfaction with their life. Following this outlook they may recognize they are falling behind according to their treatment regimen and begin self pity or losing confidence.

The relapserelapse

The relapse may start with social drinking or drug use with the thought that they can control their addiction. At this point they have discontinued all treatments and are no longer in control of their addiction. They have also lost control of their behavior and exhibit feelings of loneliness, shame, guilt or frustration.

If your loved one begins to behave in this manner be sure to take note and follow up either with their sponsor or aftercare treatment therapist. Addressing these signs early on can save them from another dreaded battle with addiction in their life.

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