Josh Chandler | March 14, 2022

How to Help a Loved One Who Has Relapsed

What Is a Relapse?

Many people don’t realize that once you have experienced an alcohol addiction or a drug addiction and have come to a place in your life where you’re ready to commit to addiction treatment, you will be on an addiction recovery journey that will last you for the rest of your life. Although you may commit to the best recovery program, the cunning part of alcohol addiction or other substance abuse issues is there is always the possibility that you could relapse back into your substance abuse for a myriad of reasons. 

A relapse is categorized as a person reverting their substance abuse after going through a treatment program to address their drug or alcohol treatment program. There are many reasons why a person may relapse. Although it’s essential to understand what led to relapse, it’s just as crucial for a person to address their relapse as soon as possible. Often, a person’s relapse can result in a more severe addiction. This is one of the leading reasons a loved one may be incredibly concerned when they suspect or learn that their friend or family member is struggling with their alcohol or drug addiction once again. 

Click here to call Muse Addiction Center today. Our staff is available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process. Call (800) 426-1818.

Understand the Stages of Relapse 

When you’re participating in drug addiction treatment, top-of-the-line addiction treatment centers will provide you and your family with the addiction resources you need to understand the different stages of relapse. Often, drug or alcohol relapse isn’t something that simply happens. And instead, the alcohol or relapse process builds up and occurs over time. Therefore, you and your loved one must understand the different stages of the relapse process. 

If a relapse does occur, read our blog to discover the best tips on how to handle it:

How to Deal with a Relapse of a Recovering Alcoholic

Emotional Relapse

There are many signs that a person may be going through the initial stage of relapse, which is emotional relapse. Some of the warning signs of emotional relapse include: 

  • Bottling up emotions 
  • Poor eating habits 
  • Neglecting to go to recovery support groups 
  • Inability to manage anxiety 
  • Defensiveness 
  • Mood swings 

Mental Relapse

The next stage of relapse is mental relapse. This, along with the other stages of relapse, is dangerous because mental relapse could quickly escalate into physical relapse. This stage of relapse often occurs when a person gives into romanticizing the time they were in active addiction. They begin to justify their addiction in different ways or block out all of the pain caused by their addiction. If you notice that your loved one has started to hang out with people that also share a substance abuse problem, there is a strong possibility that your loved one could be negatively influenced as a result of this interaction. 

Another sign of mental relapse is minimizing the consequences of your substance abuse. For instance, you may feel that since you have a period as a sober individual, you may be able to manage or control your addiction now. Therefore, you may make the mistake of trying your drug or drink of choice, which can open the door to Pandora’s box. 

Physical Relapse

The last stage in the relapse process is physical relapse. This occurs when you or your loved one physically consumes the drug or drink of choice. Unfortunately, often a relapse can lead to a more serious substance abuse issue than when you initially went through the addiction treatment process. This is one of the leading reasons why you or your loved one must reach out for help as soon as possible if a physical relapse has occurred. 

How to Help Someone Experiencing a Relapse

If you would like to help a friend or a family member that is experiencing a relapse, there are many steps that you can take to do so: 

  • Be as supportive as possible without contributing to codependency
  • Try to help your friend or loved one identify potential triggers 
  • Understand that empathy is important 

Taking these steps does take time and patience, so you may need to develop your own support system during this time. Taking steps like going to an Al-Anon meeting or a Nar-Anon meeting can be incredibly helpful to you. 

What to Say to a Loved One Who Has Relapsed

You can say several things to a loved one that has experienced a relapse. However, before you have this type of conversation, a good rule of thumb is to reach out to an addiction treatment center to ensure you’re approaching the conversation in a way that will not harm you or further exacerbate the addiction of your loved ones. Here are some examples of how you can have this type of conversation with your friend or family member: 

Would you like to talk about it? 

If you ask this question, you should always be prepared for the possibility that the response will be no. If that is the response, then that is something that you have to accept. However, if the answer is yes, you must put yourself in a calm and understanding of the situation. However, if the answer is no, it’s vital that you don’t take additional steps toward pushing your loved one into feeling as though they have to speak with you. This process is something that could simply lead to further substance abuse issues. 

I know that you can do this 

Often, after a person experiences a relapse, they feel disappointed and frustrated with themselves. Providing them with encouragement and support can help them remember how good it felt to be sober and active in life. As a result, it could motivate them to get back to that good place in their life once again. 

What can I do to help you? 

Before you ask this question, it’s essential to remember that there is nothing that you can do to take away from the emotion that your loved one may be feeling as a result of their relapse. However, what you can do is offer assistance in different ways. For instance, if they are ready to look for help, you can assist them in finding a treatment center or the closest Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the area so they can begin to recommit themselves to addiction treatment. 

Helping a Loved One Get Support or More Treatment After a Relapse 

If you’re concerned about the addiction recovery of a friend or a loved one, Muse Treatment Center can provide you and your family with the help and support you need. Whether you’re interested in learning more about addiction treatments we offer at Muse Treatment Center, or you feel as though you may be in a position for drug relapse, you can rest assured that our professional treatment team will provide you and your family with the support and care you need to to make your story a recovery story. 

It’s important to remember that Muse Treatment Center can also assist a person who has never been through the drug rehab process before. Muse Treatment Center is known for its multitude of treatment options. For example, depending on the severity of your relapse, you may need to begin your addiction recovery journey in a drug and alcohol detox program. Drugs and alcohol detox typically takes seven days, but it can provide you with the refresh and restart that you need. During the time that you’re in drug or alcohol detox, there is a strong possibility that you may not be able to properly care for yourself, which is why you should always turn to addiction experts to assist you. On average, drug or alcohol detox lasts approximately seven days, with the worst of your withdrawal symptoms manifesting within the first 72 hours of your time in detox. 

From there, you or a loved one will be in a better place to reapproach a treatment program. Regardless of the treatment program you worked through before, you will have a fresh opportunity to commit to an inpatient or an outpatient treatment program. You will want to seriously consider this decision with your recovery team as they can provide you with unique insight regarding this choice. 

Whether you have personally experienced a relapse or you’re trying to gather more information for a friend or family member, you can take comfort in the fact that the team of addiction experts at Muse Treatment Center is here and ready to help you. Our intake team is available around the clock to help get you started with a treatment program that will stop the fallout from relapse and help to restore your sobriety and the health and wellness aspect of your life. If you have more questions regarding possible treatment options or possible signs of relapse, please get in touch with us at (800) 426-1818

Recovery,Relapse,Sober Living,
Josh Chandler

Research | Editorial
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