If you have a loved one who has suffered from drug addiction or alcoholism in the past, it can be a relief and joy when you see them recover and become sober. Unfortunately, relapsing is always a risk, making it necessary to know what signs to look for to ensure you can provide the necessary support.
Symptoms of Depression or Anxiety
Many people who relapse often have a change in their behavior and attitude and are prone to becoming more anxious or depressed. You may notice your loved one is less talkative, sleeps more, or has a sudden change in their mood and personality.
They may also start to have compulsive behaviors and prioritize activities that bring them pleasure rather than their obligations or responsibilities. They may start to miss work, school or fail to follow through with their commitments.
Expressing Hopelessness or Self pity
You may start to notice your loved one starts to express hopelessness and self-pity after they relapse. Returning to addiction can cause them to have a lack of self-confidence or hope for the future. They may stop working towards certain goals or adopt a victim mentality. You may notice they start to blame everyone else for their problems and fail to take any personal responsibility for mistakes they make or their lifestyle.
Having a Harder Time Coping with Stress
Substances can alter the brain, which can make it harder to cope with stress and manage it in a healthy way while using drugs or alcohol. Many people who suffer from opioid addiction can have meltdowns easier and can make them more sensitive to stress than when they’re sober. Long-term stress can start to affect their mental and physical well-being, as well as their relationships and career.
Changes in Physical Appearance
Addiction often results in a change in the physical appearance as the drugs or alcohol become a top priority in the user’s life. You may notice they lose a lot of weight due to a suppressed appetite. Other individuals with an alcohol addiction can experience sudden weight gain. Some people also fail to maintain their personal hygiene, whether they stop brushing their hair or fail to wear make-up. They may even wear the same clothes for more than one day and stop doing laundry.
Withdrawing From Social Situations or Activities
A significant amount of condemnation can come with relapsing, which can cause many people to isolate themselves. Your loved one may have returned to their addiction if they’re failing to spend time with their family members and friends throughout the week. You may notice they spend less time on the phone or spend a lot of time in their room.
Understanding the signs of relapse to look for can allow you to become a better friend, spouse, or family member to your loved one. You can know when it’s time for an intervention and to seek the right resources to help them work back towards sobriety again.
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