Relapse Warning Signs

August 5, 2022

Unfortunately, addiction often comes with periods of sobriety and periods of relapse. But what should you look out for, and what can you do, if you suspect a relapse? Dr. Ashish Batt, MD explains.


Dr. Bhatt: Hi, this is Dr. Bhatt with a moment from Straight Talk With The Doc. I want to talk a little bit about a subject that often is disturbing or concerning to individuals who suffer with addiction or who have a loved one who suffers with substance use disorder, and that’s the potential possibility of relapse. Addiction unfortunately does come with periods of sobriety and periods of relapse where people return to drug use. But what do we do, what do we look out for to ensure that the person is not using or has not started to destroy themselves again?

One of the things that you can lookout for is changes in physical appearance. One of the first signs that we see is that people start to not take care of themselves. Their hygiene goes down, they stop showering, they stop taking care of themselves from an emotional point of view, a nutritional point of view, and we start to see their body changes. Additionally, you start to see changes in temperament and behaviors. You see anger, irritability, or changes in mood where they’re persistently sad or anxious. Often, you’ll see them hiding or secretly behaving and stealing things or doing things that they wouldn’t commonly do. Often, the effects of this affects not only their personal life, but their professional life. You’ll see changes in responsibilities at work. Paying bills, and if you’re young or people who are attending school, you’ll often see a decrease in grades.

Ultimately, drug use is something that can be treated and people can have long-term sobriety with the right treatment and achieve recovery, but relapse can occur. That doesn’t mean relapse has to occur. The key is looking out for these signs, looking out for these changes, and getting help when needed.