Warning Signs of Drug or Alcohol Relapse

Man sitting in office chair wearing glasses covering his eyes with his hands looking frustrated and stressed

Relapse is a common occurrence during the addiction recovery process. However, relapse starts far before physically having a drink or returning to drug use. There are a number of warning signs to look for before a full-blown relapse occurs.

Here are important warning signs to recognize in hopes to prevent a relapse:

Elevated Stress

Stress is one of the top causes of drug or alcohol relapse. Oftentimes, people who struggle with addiction turn to their substance of choice as a means of temporary comfort, using it as a coping mechanism.

In times of trouble, people seek feelings of relief or look for a “quick-fix” for their situation. It is helpful to frequently evaluate the stress levels you or your loved one may be experiencing in an effort to prevent a relapse from taking place.

Loss of Judgement and Control

Making healthy decisions may be a struggle for you or your loved one. If you begin to feel yourself getting more confused lately, finding it more difficult to think clearly, or have noticed yourself making irrational decisions, you may be experiencing a lapse in judgment or control. These feelings may make it difficult to relax or effectively manage your life and emotions.

Losing a sense of control over your life can lead to the belief that you can also manage socially drinking or recreationally using drugs, which then turns into relapsing. You may begin to hang out with the wrong crowd and cut off those that can help you.


Denial of having a substance abuse addiction is very common. People often use denial as an excuse to keep partaking in addictive behavior. However, on the road to recovery, people may also begin to deny their emotions. In circumstances where stress levels may be elevated, people are likely to dismiss their feelings and pretend that everything is okay. Denial of these feelings can be a warning sign to relapse to try and mask the underlying cause of the problem.

How Decision Point Center Can Help

Decision Point Center recognizes the importance of relapse prevention which is why it is a pivotal component of our recovery program. The goal of providing relapse prevention strategies is not only to prevent you or your loved one from relapsing but to educate you and your loved ones about relapse. Together, we can establish a relapse prevention plan.

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