By Steps to Recovery on December 1, 2012

Are you worried that a friend or loved one may be on the verge of relapse? But, how do you tell? Is there a way to know for sure? No one wants to accuse a friend or loved one of something that isn’t really happening. But there are almost always signs when an addict is about to relapse. Here are 5 things to look for if you think someone you care about may be about to relapse.

1- Withdrawal from people in support of the addict’s recovery. Isolating or withdrawing from the people who are the healthy support system for the addict is a big indicator that the addict may be relapsing or considering using. This could mean avoiding, staying out later than normal or not coming home at all, seeming quiet or withdrawn or just spending less time with supportive people in general.

2- Reconnecting with people the addict previously used drugs or drank with. This is an early warning sign, a big red flag that something is going on or is about to happen, especially if these people are still using and/or drinking. This is especially alarming if the addict in recovery is withdrawing from his or her healthy support system.

3- Participating in risky behavior. This could be a number of things…Gambling for the individual who was not a gambler in the past, being promiscuous, spending money in an out of character and overboard way, driving crazy or doing other dangerous things. Participation in behaviors like these creates a dopamine response in the brain which satisfies the need for euphoria and excitement, but for most addicts the only behavior or activity that will truly “satisfy” them is returning to their drug of choice.

4- Personal hygiene or productivity noticeably decreases. When someone is about to relapse, they generally start to stop caring enough to take care of themselves and their responsibilities. This can be exhibited by the person not doing self care as much, giving up their exercise routine, being late to work or missing school, less bathing, a messier home, etc. These are all signs of an addict who is caring less about their lifestyle, who may be considering relapse, or who may have already began using again.

5- Giving up on recovery. This is a huge warning sign that someone is considering relapse or has already started using again. This can manifest in many different ways, the most noticeable being when the person stops going to groups or 12 Step meetings.

If you have started noticing any of these behaviors or a combination of them, your loved one may be considering relapse or may have already started using again. If you think this is the case and you need advice finding this person help, click here to find resources.