Making the decision to enter a drug rehab center is just the first step along the long road that addicts often face. The commitment to sobriety is hard-fought and most addicts will tell you that not a day that goes by that is easy. It’s no surprise, then, that relapse rates are generally between 50 and 90%. Though many experts attribute relapses to craving that addicts feel for drugs and alcohol, there are also other factors that come into play, such as entering high risk situations and being influenced by individual “cues” that entice an addict.
It is nearly impossible to predict the precise moment when someone might relapse. For example, many get through tough situations like family deaths without a problem, but something seemingly insignificant or as simple as boredom might produce a trigger. However, there are some warning signs and symptoms that you or a loved one might be on the verge of slipping.
- Post acute withdrawal symptoms. Many addicts experience depression, anxiety, sleeplessness and memory loss after they quit taking drugs or alcohol, and these issues can arise during times of stress. It’s important to seek medical help when they occur.
- Elevated stress. A change in one’s life while trying to get sober, such as divorce, or just little things building up over time can create stressful situations for someone trying to get reacclimated to functioning in the “real world” day-to-day.
- Return to denial. Ignoring your feelings and believing that you can keep up with the stress of life can be disastrous for an addict. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel and ask for help before you feel tempted to reengage in an addiction to cope.
- Behavior change. In rehab, addicts are encouraged to find a daily routine filled with positive people and situations. Getting off-balance with something as simple as a sleeping or eating schedule, and coming up against challenges can create a feeling of immobilization that lead an addict to think he or she is stuck with nowhere to turn and lead to compulsive behavior with things like food, sex or caffeine.
- Loss of judgment and control. When you find yourself unable to make or make unhealthy choices you might begin to feel out-of-control and will not be able to think clearly. It’s important to step away from these situations, take some time to relax and regroup before turning to alcohol or drugs as a source of comfort.