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Is Your Loved One Relapsing? Signs of a Drug Relapse and How to Help

comforting friend showing signs of a drug relapse


Worried that your loved one is relapsing? You are not alone. Unfortunately, drug relapse is a common problem, but it can be difficult to know what to do when someone begins using drugs again.

If you have a loved one in rehab, start by making yourself aware of the signs and likelihood of a drug relapse. A relapse can occur at any time, so it's crucial that you know how to help if they begin using drugs again.

In this blog post, we will discuss the statistics on relapse, the signs and symptoms of a relapse, and how to help someone who is struggling. We will also provide resources for people in rehab and their families.

What Is a Relapse?

A relapse is defined as a return to drug or alcohol use after a period of abstinence. For example, if someone has been sober for six months and then begins using drugs again, they have relapsed.

Is a Drug Relapse Dangerous?

Yes. A relapse can be dangerous not only because it can spiral back into addiction but also because it can lead to overdose and death. Often, people struggling with substance abuse may relapse to using the same high dosage they were accustomed to when their addiction was at its height. But if their body is no longer used to this amount of drugs or alcohol, it can quickly lead to an overdose.

Drug Relapse Statistics

Unfortunately, drug relapse is quite common, especially in the first year of sobriety. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40 to 60 percent of people in treatment for substance abuse will relapse at some point.

This statistic may be discouraging, but it's important to remember that a relapse does not mean that treatment has failed. A relapse can be a part of the recovery process, and it doesn't mean that your loved one is powerless over their addiction.

It is important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease, and like other chronic diseases, it can be managed but not necessarily cured. The journey through recovery for both you and your loved ones will require patience and resilience.

Drug Relapse Triggers

There are many factors that can contribute to a relapse, such as stress, triggers, and underlying mental health disorders. It's important to be aware of these factors so you can help your loved one avoid triggers and stay on track in their recovery.

Some common triggers include:

  • Stressful life events (e.g., job loss, divorce, death of a loved one)
  • Contact with people who use drugs
  • Places where drugs are used or sold
  • Seeing drug paraphernalia
  • Being in situations where drugs are used

If you think your loved one is at risk for a relapse, it's important to be supportive and understanding. Be sure to talk to them about their triggers and help them develop a plan to avoid them.

For triggers that cannot be avoided, such as unexpected stressors, put together a list of coping mechanisms that aren't centered around drug use. This could include things like exercise, journaling, or deep breathing exercises.

Patients currently in recovery may also benefit from regular meetings with a mental health professional to provide support as they work past obstacles and potential temptations.

Signs of a Drug Relapse

There are often warning signs that a person is about to relapse. These can include changes in mood, behavior, and appearance.

Some common signs of a relapse include:

  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Increased secrecy
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Disengaging from treatment or support groups

If you notice any of these changes, it's important to talk to your loved one about them openly and without judgment. They may be able to identify the trigger and take steps to avoid it. If not, they may need additional help in their recovery.

How to Help Someone Who Is Relapsing

If your loved one is struggling with a relapse, there are many things you can do to help. First, it's important to be supportive and understanding. This can be a difficult time for them, and they may feel ashamed or guilty.

It's also important to talk to them about their treatment options. If they are willing, you may want to help them find a new treatment program or support group. If they are not ready for treatment, you can still provide support and resources.

Finally, it is essential to take care of yourself during this time. It can be difficult to watch someone you love struggle with addiction, but it's important to remember that you cannot control their disease. Be sure to take time for yourself and reach out for help if you need it.


If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help. There are many resources available, and you are not alone.

Confirm a Relapse with Countrywide Testing

If you believe that a friend or loved one is on the verge of a drug or alcohol relapse and may turn back to their previous habits of substance abuse, Countrywide Testing can help. Our discreet, at-home tests provide confirmation so you can start having honest conversations, addressing their risk factors, and getting your loved ones the support they need.

Countrywide Testing is a trusted online retailer providing you with convenient access to drug tests and pharmacogenetic testing. We offer an array of testing products for any situation — such as testing at home, individuals staying clean after rehab, workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, and law enforcement purposes. 

Our test kits are easy, affordable, and ship to you quickly. And because our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, you can rest assured that your test results are always handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.

Want more information on how Countrywide can help you handle relapse and support a journey toward full rehabilitation from drug abuse? Just contact our team today.