relapse warning signs

Warning Signs of Relapse

Often a person finds themselves enjoying a sober life, thinking nothing can stop them now. Then, something like a challenging life event happens, their mood plummets, or they simply become bored and do not focus on staying sober. Relapse warning signs may begin to start without the person even being aware of them. This can cause them to delve back into their addiction and move back to square one. Knowing the signs of an impending relapse can help someone avoid falling into one. Getting help to avoid them or getting treatment right after a relapse occurs can keep a person from struggling unnecessarily.

What Is Relapse?

The term relapse refers to a recurrence of symptoms related to a disease. In terms of a purely medical disease, it can refer to something like someone relapsing into a cancerous condition they had previously been in admission from. In terms of substance use disorders, the individual has become sober after abusing drugs or alcohol, only to begin using them again. A relapse can happen just weeks after a person quits using or leaves a treatment center or it can happen years down the line. 

Just one instance of behavior does not mean a person has relapsed. For example, if someone who had remained abstinent from alcohol for a period of time had just one drink or a night of consuming several drinks and then did not drink alcohol again, that is not considered a relapse. It falls under the heading of a temporary and singular slip-up. 

What makes it different is when the use of the substance (alcohol or drugs) becomes a habit again. The person goes from having control over their addiction and being sober to engaging in the use of the substance as a pattern again. 

The warning signs of relapse occur in three stages, which we have outlined below.

Emotional Relapse

The first type of relapse warning sign is emotional. The person often isn’t even thinking about using substances again or planning to do so. Instead, their emotions have begun to feel overwhelming and problematic, which often proved to be a trigger to use drugs and alcohol in the past. Emotional symptoms can include mood swings, feelings of depression, and anxiety. 

Included under the umbrella of emotional signs are behavioral signs tied to troubling emotions. For example, someone might engage in any of the following:

  • Poor eating habits
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Avoiding friends and family
  • Not discussing their emotions with others, including loved ones and therapists
  • Skipping support groups or sober meetings
  • No longer using healthy coping skills they learned in treatment

Mental Relapse

When someone ignores the development of emotional relapse, they put themselves at risk of moving to the next stage, which is mental relapse. In this stage, the person begins to think more about using substances again. Common behaviors that occur during mental relapse include: 

  • Battling in their mind about whether or not it’s okay to use substances again
  • Fantasizing about getting high or drunk
  • Remembering past times of substance abuse as being all good and forgetting the bad times
  • Telling themselves they can handle using again just once or a few times
  • Glamourizing how much fun substances are
  • Going over potential plans for getting drugs or alcohol “just in case”

Physical Relapse

The final stage is physical relapse, which is when the individual actually engages in using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis again. While it does not mean they cannot come back from it, it does put their emotional, mental, and physical health in jeopardy. The faster they come to terms with the fact that they have relapsed and get back into treatment, the more likely they are to avoid another relapse down the road. 

Do Relapse Warning Signs Mean a Person Cannot Recover?

Experiencing relapse warning signs does not automatically mean a person cannot recover. In fact, when someone recognizes the signs, they often take swift action and avert a relapse. Even if they do relapse, there is no reason to believe they cannot get back on track. In fact, relapse proves to be quite common and happens to about 40 – 60% of those who are in recovery from a substance use disorder and is most common during the first year of sobriety. This points to the necessity of learning to recognize relapse warning signs because it can stop a person from entering into a cycle of relapsing more than once.

What Kind of Treatment Helps an Impending Relapse?

When a person recognizes they have begun to experience relapse warning signs, the sooner they get help, the less time they will spend suffering and jeopardizing their long-term recovery. One option that can turn a person around includes moving into a sober living home while they work on keeping themselves safe from relapse. A sober living home provides a safe space to reside with others who are also in recovery and working on their health and sobriety. 

Many sober living homes are located in upscale neighborhoods, have popular amenities, and even have a pet-friendly policy. Some homes provide access to addiction recovery coaching, which lets a person take advantage of someone who can help them avoid relapse or recover from one that happened.

Getting Help When Relapse Warning Signs Happen

Have you noticed relapse warning signs happening and fear that your recovery may be in jeopardy? Maybe you have a loved one who seems on the brink of relapse and they need a push in the right direction. Creekside Recovery Residences understands that even someone in strong recovery can quickly become at risk of relapsing. When this happens, it’s important to get help right away to keep from sinking fully back into a substance use disorder.

If you would like to talk about how to avoid relapse for yourself or a friend, visit our admissions page now. Our friendly staff understands how to help you help yourself or someone you love.

high functioning depression

Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression

A myth exists that someone dealing with depression finds themselves unable to get out of bed or function in their daily lives. Actually, many people who struggle with depression may act in a way that hides their conditions from others, including their loved ones. This makes it important to recognize the signs of high-functioning depression so that a person can understand they have an illness. This allows them to receive quality treatment that helps them manage their symptoms and live happier, more fulfilling lives. 

What Is High-Functioning Depression?

Depression affects one in six people at some point during their lifetime. Someone who shows signs of high-functioning depression may be diagnosed as having a major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder. Depression can be easily spotted in some people, such as those who find themselves unable to work, go to school, or otherwise participate fully in their lives. When a person develops high-functioning depression, those around them, including loved ones, may have a more difficult time recognizing what’s going on.

The effects of high-functioning depression may build up over time, making it difficult for even the person suffering from it to realize they have a mental health disorder. This type of personality often does not feel comfortable reaching out for help and will do their best to act as if everything is fine. In some cases, the person experiences short bouts of feeling fewer depressive symptoms. This can add to the belief that they just suffer from bad moods but manage to push through them. 

The term “high-functioning” can lend itself to the idea that the person who has this level of depression is stronger than others who deal with the illness. In reality, anyone who struggles with depression is at risk of becoming worse off and even developing suicidal feelings. This makes it imperative that the person receive professional treatment so they can overcome their depression.

Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Many of the signs of high-functioning depression are similar to those of regular depression. Common signs include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Low energy
  • Unexplained physical ailments like headaches, stomachaches, and body aches
  • Weight gain or loss due to eating in relation to moods
  • Constantly feeling sad or hopeless
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Lack of motivation for daily chores or hobbies
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Consistently feeling pessimistic
  • Crying jags
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Lack of enthusiasm or trouble performing well at work or in school
  • Using or abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate

Someone with high-functioning depression may go to work every day and even excel at it. They may do similiarly well in school, hobbies, or raising a family. Still, underneath it all, they are fighting their depression and not living the happy, fulfilling lives they deserve. 

How Does Treatment For Depression Work?

Treatment for depression happens in a variety of ways, often in stages. Someone who has severe signs of high-functioning depression may need to start out getting help in a residential program, then move into an outpatient program. Outpatient care takes place during the day and allows the person to live at home while receiving it. 

As an alternative, many people benefit from living in a sober living home while getting outpatient care. While some may associate sober living homes with substance use disorders, many of them also help people overcome mental health disorders. In fact, a lot of residents in this type of home are receiving treatment for both an addiction and a mental illness. 

Can High-Functioning Depression Happen With Substance Abuse?

Approximately half of those who have a mental health disorder, including depression, also develop a substance use disorder. This is called dual diagnosis and can be treated by many residential, outpatient, and sober living home treatment programs. 

It’s common for someone exhibiting the signs of high-functioning depression to begin to abuse drugs or alcohol in order to try to alleviate their symptoms. Sadly, this attempt at self-medicating can turn into a full-blown addiction. When the person receives treatment for a dual diagnosis, it addresses both illnesses. As their depressive symptoms begin to subside, this can cause their desire to use substances to lessen. As well, when the individual stops abusing substances, it can help reduce the symptoms of depression.

A benefit of outpatient care, including that which comes with sober living homes, is that the person can receive medication management. This allows the person to work on themselves in traditional talk therapy sessions, including individual and group therapy. Alongside this, they visit with a clinician who assesses their need for medication to address their depression. This medical expert effectively oversees how the person does taking their meds and manages any need to change the dosage or type of prescription medication being used. 

Begin Treatment For Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Do you deal with signs of high-functioning depression and are tired of how challenging it can be to live your daily life because of it? Creekside Recovery Residences in Atlanta provides a safe haven for people to live while they work on treating their high-functioning depression. We offer comfortable, modern homes shared with peers who are also in the process of rebuilding their lives and can support each other. We provide access to several kinds of outpatient care that help you work on mental health disorders, as well as any co-occurring addiction to drugs or alcohol. 
Please visit our admissions page for more information on how to overcome high-functioning depression. Our staff will be happy to talk to you about our program and answer any questions you have.