What Are The Early Warning Signs Of A Relapse?

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Are you worried yourself or a loved one may relapse? Learn the early warning signs of a relapse.

Recovery from addiction is a marathon, not a race. It requires steady and slow progression and the truth is that there is no quick and easy solution for addiction. Breaking free from alcohol or drug addiction takes time, persistence, and consistent effort. Even if someone has initially achieved success, relapse is still a possibility. 

Since the danger of relapse remains ever present throughout an individual’s recovery, it’s essential for those in recovery to understand the early warning signs of a relapse. Spouses, family, friends, parents, and other loved ones should also know what the early signs of relapse look like as well. Quick action could mean the difference between a relapse and continued recovery.

What Is A Relapse?

A relapse occurs when an individual stops maintaining their goal of reducing or stopping the use of alcohol and/or drugs and returns to the previous levels of use. 

A relapse should not be confused with a lapse. A lapse is a brief departure followed by a quick return to the individual goal of reducing or stopping the use of drugs and/or alcohol. For instance, an individual has a lapse if they have one alcoholic drink at a party, but then stop the use of alcohol again immediately. 

The degree of drug or alcohol use can vary in a lapse, but a lapse is different from a relapse due to the length of time in which the return to drug or alcohol abuse occurs. Relapses tend to be greater in length and have far more negative consequences, than a lapse. 

Regardless, if you have a lapse or relapse it is important to contact an addiction treatment facility in order to speak with a professional and get help getting back on the right track.

The Early Warning Signs Of A Relapse

Just like the signs and symptoms of addiction are different for everyone, so are the warning signs of a relapse. Fortunately, there are some general things to look out for when it comes to potential relapse signs. 


Lack of Self Care

If someone who normally takes care of their appearance starts to dress sloppily or not keeping up with daily hygiene routine, then it may indicate a relapse. Individuals who go back to active addiction normally stop taking care of themselves. Furthermore, people’s appearance will normally decline as their addiction worsens.


Borrowing Money

Addiction is normally very expensive and those struggling with addiction need an income stream in order to support their habit. If a family member or friend who previously struggled with addiction is now asking to borrow money, it could be an early warning sign of a relapse.


Asking to borrow money is an early warning sign of a relapse, and so is theft. Sometimes individuals in active addiction are desperate and begin to steal. If you notice this behavior in a loved one, then contact a drug rehab right away in order to get your loved one the help that they need.

Defensiveness or Anger When Questioned

People who are struggling with substance abuse, or those who have relapsed, will often deny their drug or alcohol use. If you ask them if they are using again and they become angry or defensive that is a classic early warning sign of a relapse.

Compulsive Behaviors

Individuals who have relapsed may show compulsive behaviors. This could equate to constantly checking if the door is locked, to paranoid activities such as constantly looking out the window. This type of behavior is often triggered from the type of drugs being used and it should not be ignored.

Hanging Out With Old Friends

Triggers can happen from anything at any time. It is important to understand that old friends who the individual used to abuse substances with are often triggers. If someone is hanging out with old friends again it could be an early warning sign of a relapse.

Skipping Support Group Meetings

Support groups are normally an important part of the recovery process. If someone stops going to support groups they no longer are participating in a form of relapse prevention. This puts them at risk for a relapse and is a behavior that could end up leading to a return to drug abuse.

Treatment For A Relapse In Cherry Hill, NJ

If you or a loved one are struggling with a relapse, then The Healing Center’s drug and alcohol rehab in Cherry Hill, NJ can help. It is important to seek help for a relapse as soon as possible in order to avoid any life altering consequences that can come from them. Get the help that you or your loved one needs today. Our team of addiction specialists is here to help you address the root cause of your addiction to prevent any future relapses from happening again. Call our admissions team today and begin your healing journey.