Relapse is a difficult and sometimes painful part of the recovery process. There are some warning signs that can signal the onset of a relapse. Becoming more aware of these warning signs can help us to seek out support for ourselves or for loved ones when needed. Depression affects many of us struggling with addictions. It is considered one of the common co-occurring disorders because of how often they affect people simultaneously. A warning sign for a relapse can be worsened depression. Whereas we might be functionally depressed and plateau at a certain level of depression, when we’re headed towards relapse we might become considerably worse. We might feel increasingly more sad, desperate and hopeless. We might experience worse anxiety and panic. Signs a relapse might be imminent are changes in our mood and reactivity. We might become more moody, restless, agitated, reactive or aggressive. We may even become angry or hostile. We might withdraw from other people and reject their support. We may isolate ourselves more. When we are heading for relapse, sometimes we are aware of it coming and are already preparing for it, whether consciously or not. This can mean we start to become more dishonest, with ourselves and others. This might mean lying about small things like where we went after work, which can start patterns of dishonesty and denial that can fuel our addictions, but it might also be lying to conceal the fact that we’re planning to use again or figuring out how we can get away with it without being caught. Being on the verge of relapse can cause changes in our behavior. We might start having different eating and sleeping patterns. Our anxiety might cause us to eat or sleep much less than normal, or much more than we normally would. We might stop doing the things we usually enjoy, also a sign of worsening depression. We might feel increasingly bored or unsatisfied. We might feel more tempted to give into our addictive urges. Our mentality can be a clue we’re going to relapse. We might start reverting back to old patterns of denial, where we try to minimize our addictions and convince ourselves we don’t actually have a problem. We might start to think that we will be ok if we use a little, that we can use in moderation. We might reject the idea that we need help and think we can recover alone. We might avoid the truth of how bad our situation has actually become.
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