6 Warning Signs of Relapse To Look Out For in Your Teen

6 Warning Signs of Relapse to Look Out for in Your Teen

If your child has previously completed an addiction treatment program, you should congratulate them on their success in quitting drugs. However, sobriety can serve as a challenge for teens following treatment. Knowing the warning signs of drug use can prevent relapse and help spot the signs early enough to seek help and avoid your teen from succumbing to addiction again.

6 Signs of Relapse

Addiction is a chronic and complex disease that requires a lifelong commitment to a drug-free lifestyle to recover. During sobriety, there is a chance that your teen may relapse and use drugs again. Being aware of the warning signs of relapse will keep you alert on when it is time to speak with a professional and prevent future addiction. Here are six warning signs of relapse. 

#1. Returning to Familiar People or Places

For most teens, their social circle influences their behaviors and what activities they engage in outside of the home. It is common for teens who engage in drug use to partake in using drugs with specific people and places. 

If you see your child hanging out with friends or in places where they once used drugs, there could be a chance that they are using again. However, it is important to encourage them to evaluate their social circle and sever ties with people who influence drug use. While this can be a difficult task, it is necessary. 

#2. Changes in Behaviors 

Retreating from social situations, loneliness, and isolation are common signs that a person has begun using drugs again. Isolation is a key component of addiction. When a person becomes addicted to drugs, their entire world revolves around satisfying cravings and dependence on the drug. This causes them to detach from relationships and friendships. They may also seek isolation because they feel embarrassed or guilty. 

Along with withdrawing from their social circle, they may stop participating in activities or hobbies they love. Changes in behavior can become evident through self-neglect like poor hygiene or lack of upkeep in appearance. 

#3. Experiencing a Trigger 

The most common reason people, especially teens, use alcohol and substances is to self-medicate and cope with uncomfortable feelings. Experiencing a trigger can be one of the biggest causes of relapse. Certain situations that once caused your teen to do drugs can trigger them to use again due to the feelings associated with the event. While in recovery, it is vital to stay away from anything that can trigger a relapse; triggers aren't always something you can predict. A few examples of what can be triggers include:

  • Familiar people or places
  • Sensory triggers such as smells or sounds
  • Abuse 
  • Stress
  • Being around drugs or alcohol
  • Financial strain 

#4. Doubting The Recovery Process

Losing faith in the recovery process happens when a person has a mental relapse before a physical one. It can include things like your teen saying the sober life isn't for them or that they don't deserve nor want to be sober. When individuals start to develop a negative view of their recovery process, it is a sign that their sober lifestyle does not yet fulfill them. 

#5. Reminiscing About Drug Use

Reminiscing about old parties or other memories associated with alcohol or drug use is common during sobriety. This can happen when your teen begins to develop cravings. If you overhear your teen talking about how they miss using drugs or how they felt when using, this is a warning sign that they are close to using again. 

#6. Physical Relapse

Finding items related to drug use is an obvious sign that your teen has relapsed. They likely partook in using if they come home smelling like alcohol or other substances. While you will want to respect their boundaries, if you find items related to drug use in their personal space or while doing the laundry, you must take action and get help. Getting a professional involved will help you make the right steps towards getting your child's sobriety back on track. 

Preventing Relapse

Many resources and options are available that help individuals in the recovery process stay sober and prevent relapse. If your child is currently in or has completed an addiction treatment program, speak with their provider about creating an aftercare plan. Aftercare plans include available resources such as therapists, school counselors, coping strategies, and other options that your child can use after initial treatment. 

Maintaining open communication with your child and building a trusting relationship with them will help them become more open to sharing when they are struggling. Being active in your child's life and recovery process will reduce their chance of relapsing. 

The best way to overcome relapse is to get your child the adequate help they need. Relapse does not mean failure; it is just a sign that your child needs additional help. Residential treatment and intensive outpatient programs offer intensive professional help for individuals who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Clearkfork Academy offers residential treatment programs for teens who struggle with addiction and mental health disorders. We offer therapeutic programs that will help your teen get back on track to long-term sobriety and identify and manage relapse triggers. If your child has previously relapsed or is showing signs of relapse, it is essential to get them the professional help they need to prevent substance use. The sooner you take action, the better chance your teen will have at lasting recovery. To find out more information about our addiction treatment programs, reach out to Clearfork Academy today by calling (817) 259-2597.  

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