What Is the Relapse Process?


Quick Answer

The process of relapse consists of emotional relapse, mental relapse and physical relapse, according to AddictionsAndRecovery.org. The physical relapse follows weeks, or even months, of emotional and mental relapse.

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Full Answer

During the emotional relapse stage, a person may not be considering using, but may be experiencing emotions that can lead to using, explains AddictionsAndRecovery.org. Symptoms at this point include poor sleeping habits, anxiety, isolation, anger and not asking for help. These signs mirror post-acute withdrawal, and knowing the symptoms of both issues help decrease the likelihood that a person starts using again. The further into the relapse process a person is, the more difficult it is to pull back.

During the first stage of relapse, it is important to practice techniques designed to ease symptoms and avoid physical relapse, states AddictionsAndRecovery.org. Employing relaxation techniques, asking for help and practicing self care are important at this stage.

In the second stage of relapse, which is mental relapse, a person is conflicted between wanting to use and not wanting to use, notes AddictionsAndRecovery.org. She may frequently think about people, places and things from the time she was using. She might start glamorizing her past use, lying, hanging out with previous friends who use, and planning a relapse. While in the second stage, it is critical to wait 30 minutes, push through recovery one day at a time, inform someone of the desires, and find distractions. Without proper care techniques in the emotional and mental stages of relapse, a person quickly moves into the physical stage.

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