Strong Pain Reliever Can Lead to Abuse and Addiction

Although OxyContin is a major weapon against chronic or severe pain, its use can lead to addiction and drug abuse. The synthetic opioid works in the body much like morphine. An unfortunate similarity is that OxyContin can prove highly addictive.

OxyContin, known as oxycodone when given as a generic drug, is a controlled substance. Doctors who prescribe it to relieve pain want their patients to keep a close eye on their intake. OxyContin abuse has increased dramatically in recent times in spite increased medical and legal scrutiny.

Two years ago the National Institute on Drug Abuse studied American high school students. The NIDA reported that greater than five percent of twelfth graders abused OxyContin, taking it without prescription. OxyContin abusers are not limited to the young; its use continues throughout all parts of the population.

Doctors have become more cautious about prescribing strong pain relievers. They must walk a fine line between appropriate prescribing and holding back from those caught in the web of abuse. Addiction can creep up on people, taking them by surprise.

Some people may be on the drug for months or years before they realize they have crossed the line into addiction. Others may not be able to admit that they have a problem. They may try to convince themselves and others that they are only occasional drug users who take OxyContin only when they need to relax.

It is easy to convince oneself that drug abuse is not in play when one is actually addicted. Some people are just as good at convincing themselves as they are at convincing others that they do not have a problem. For awhile at least they maintain the illusion that they choose when they take OxyContin, that the drug does not have control of them.

Signs of OxyContin addiction can be observed so that addicts themselves as well as loved ones can become aware of growing trouble. Having to take more OxyContin for the same results is one warning sign. If people get into legal trouble or come close to a legal problem because of drug use, then that should be taken as a signal.

Drug use will sometimes replace other activities in a person’s life. When taking drugs becomes more important than other people other events, then abuse should be suspected. Dependency on drugs for pleasure is not a good sign.

For an addict, withdrawal symptoms will arise when the drug dose gets reduced or eliminated. Getting over an addiction is often not a simple matter of quitting. Dependency makes leaving the drug behind a difficult matter.

In spite of promises to themselves and loved ones, OxyContin addicts face a battle in getting over their drug dependency. Another sign of addiction is the arrival of withdrawal symptoms when the user skips taking the drug. Withdrawal itself can scare drug users back into the vicious cycle of abuse.

One symptom of OxyContin addiction is the experience of blackouts. Forgetting events that the drug taker has lived through or knowing that he or she has passed out can signal addiction. Loved ones calling attention to the drug users’ blackouts can help the user ultimately face the addiction.

Abuse of OxyContin destroys people’s emotional and physical well-being. Depression and social alienation can set in, ruining the drug abuser’s sense of self. Insomnia or a major increase in the need for sleep may haunt the lives of addicts.

Other signs of a drug abuse problem include changed eating habits that result in sudden weight loss or weight gain. Slurred speech and lack of coordination may set in when people step over the line into drug abuse. OxyContin is an important medicine for the treatment of pain, but users need to know that it can lead to drug abuse.

Do Addicts Really Recover?

In my line of work as addiction professional, I’m often asked “Do people with addiction get better?” The question may sound simple but it’s not really that simple. There are so many facets to addiction. The chemicals are but one aspect. There also are the addict’s personality attributes, attitudes, lifestyle, and values – all contributing and feeding the addiction syndrome. For most people, the obsession by the addict to consume chemicals is the most salient aspect of addiction. This becomes their focus of attention when asking the question, “Do addicts really recover?” Meaning can they give up drugs and become “normal” people again?

After a closer look at addiction, one begins to realize that the chemical abuse is intimately tied to the person’s mental health, lifestyle, and personal values. For example, it is hard to ignore an addict’s criminal activities related to supporting his drug habit or an alcoholic’s scheming and manipulating behavior to hide his alcoholism when the addicted or alcoholic is trying to pursue “recovery.” Can people “recover” from addiction and still carry on with these criminal or anti-social inclinations? What are the chances of a recovering person remaining abstinent while continuing to sell drugs or maintaining his connection with friends who are involved in criminal activities? Can a recovering alcoholic remain sober while bar-tending?

My point is that there is a “quality of life” a recovering addict or alcoholic must maintain to achieve a certain level of healthy living. For some this may mean pursuing counseling or following medication regime to control psychiatric symptoms. For others, a complete lifestyle change may be necessary to re-align personal priorities and internalize pro-social values. With addiction, old associations — people, places, and things – can easily trigger a relapse to old “bad habits.” There is a common belief among recovering persons that “picking-up” drugs or any substances is the last step in the relapse process. Long before the actual substance use, the person has already relapsed in his thinking – reflected in noticeable changes in attitude, values, and over-all behavior.

To go back to the original question: “Do addicts really recover?” The answer is a relative yes. For some who consider their addiction as a disorder of the whole person and take a holistic view of recovery, they aspire more than giving up the chemicals to include a reinvention of themselves, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Others are content with minimizing the harmful effects of illicit drug use but still resort to alcohol use. Still others give up drugs but continue to have dysfunctional patterns of coping or residual manifestations of personality disorders.

Do Addicts Really Recover?
Dr. Fernando B. Perfas

Importance of Alcohol Rehabilitation

Do you know that the last hope of alcohol addicts lies in rehabilitation centers? Alcohol rehabilitation is a recovery process that helps drug addicts return to their normal self and get incorporated into their families and the society.

The recovery process may at times be a painful one to both the patient and the relatives. This is why you need professional touch experts.

Research has shown that it takes several weeks for full recuperation from alcohol addiction. This period ranges between eight weeks to six months. However, the length of time it takes an individual to get healed depends on the gravity of addiction. In essence, when someone indulges in such drugs like as marijuana, cocaine, morphine, and even heroine, such a person will likely suffer the consequence.

Addiction is like a disease which inflicts more injury to the patient and refuses to go except it receives the desired treatment from alcohol rehabilitation professionals. For instance, drug causes the addict more hunger for the substance and at the same time induces abnormal behavior in the person.

Such behavior may include shop-lifting, arrest and detention of the culprit. When someone drives under the influence of alcohol, there is a high chance of fatal accident with resultant death.

Have you taken time to consider the impact of addiction on children? The behaviors of children who are trained by drug-addicted parents are violent and chaotic. Their lives too are known to be very unproductive, insecure and unpredictable.

The ultimate alternative is for those who have alcohol addiction to seek alcohol rehabilitation centers where proper care will be ensured.

In these rehabilitation centers, there are several professionals who manage and care for patients. Here, the mental and other health complications of addiction are treated.

Several alcohol rehabilitation programs abound. These programs are capable of restoring the mental normalcy of the patient. In the rehabilitation centers, there are in- and out-patient sections. In the out-patient section, the patient only visits the doctor for attention usually in the morning and leaves for his home at a later part of the day. This type of program has been adjudged to be the best as it allows the patient and his relatives enough time and opportunity for other activities such as work while keeping time for his treatment.

On the other hand, the residential alcohol rehabilitation is basically for patients with serious case. This is a situation where patients are kept in-house with doctors. Treatments are given at all times to monitor improvement. Often, it is advised that people in such category should seek immediate help.

How Effective Is Drug Testing in Eradicating Teen Drug Abuse?

Every day, thousands of teens are getting addicted to illicit drugs. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 21.5 percent of youth (more than 1 in 5) aged between 18 and 25 years are under the influence of illicit drugs.

The percentage of teens getting addicted to drugs has increased in the last few years. Many of them are getting into this devastating habit due to lack of awareness of the serious consequences it poses.

Why teens get into drug abuse

There are many reasons why teens get into this habit. Most of the teens experiment with drugs, putting their health and safety at risk. Many teens take drugs just to fit in their friends group because of peer pressure. Some teens are influenced by their parents’ behavior. If they find their parents taking drugs, they would follow it. While some of the teens taking drugs, want to feel good and some teens are prone to drugs due to financial or mental depression.

Teen drug testing helps in eradicating teen drug abuse. It can be conducted in high schools, colleges or at the privacy of the home. It is an effective way to keep teens away from drugs and studies show that it brings a positive effect.

Many high schools are conducting these tests randomly in their schools on students and schools that conduct these tests have higher attendance rates than compared to other schools where the drug testing is not conducted.

High school students are more likely to get influenced by drugs. Therefore, to prevent teens from taking drugs, drug-testing and awareness programs should be conducted in high schools to keep a check on drug abusing teens. These programs are not meant to punish or insult the teens, but to take measures before it is too late.

Use reliable test kits:

There are many drug test kits available in the market. But before you buy the test kit see that it is tested and proven. You need to buy kits from reputed dealer and check if the test kits are approved by the FDA. Reputed dealers will offer these test kits affordable price and the results will be accurate and consistent.

Therefore, before it is too late, teens should be educated about the negative impact that drug leaves on their body and mind in the early stage. Drug testing is an effective way in eradicating teen drug abuse.

How Nicotine Test Helps Employers to Establish Smoke-Free Workplace

Nicotine abuse is an issue affecting the profitability of businesses and the environment at workplaces. Employers are insisting on measures that will help them make the workplaces free from smoking of tobacco so as to make their businesses more productive.

Employers in US imposing ban on smokers:

Increasing numbers of employers in US are rejecting the applications of candidates who smoke. They are abiding by the laws framed by the government for the purpose and are not hiring who they find to be smokers. To know whether the prospective hired is smoker, they conduct tests. Those who are found positive for smoking are not offered employment.

Nicotine test helps them to detect smokers – instantly:

Employers apply different techniques to tackle the issue of smoking. These include testing for tobacco (nicotine) by different methods. These tests are helpful to identify if the applicant really smokes tobacco or not. Generally, a nicotine test can be conducted using urine, saliva or hair follicle samples. Employers use any or a combination of these techniques.

Benefits of establishing smoke-free environment:

A smoke-free environment improves productivity of the employees and reduces health insurance costs. Employers find smoke-free workplace beneficial on the following grounds.

Increased productive hours:

A no-smoking environment results in higher number of productive hours than in a smoking permitted one. Employees not used to smoking concentrate better on work and hence there is greater number of productive hours. They are healthy and take few sick leaves.

Whereas, smoking employees take unauthorized breaks to smoke, which is waste of productive time.

Healthy atmosphere:

As healthy employees are more focused on productivity, there is cordial relation between employees as well as employers. Such workplaces boost the employees’ morale and work potential and encourage talented workforce to work for more number of hours. Employers too reciprocate and get prompted to take positive action on any issue.

Shows professional approach of the business:

A smoke-free workplace, places the employer’s image in a positive view among the employees, peers, government, and social groups. The welfare measures taken serve as an example for professional approach taken by the employer. This will enhance mutual trust between the employer and employees.

Reduces healthcare costs:

Following a no-smoking policy at workplace would result in less healthcare costs. This is because, the employees are healthy and need lower health maintenance expenses – be it insurance premium or medical emergencies. These factors are known to cause increased medical expenses to employers in case of employees habituated to smoking. Studies show that, post non-smoking policy there is remarkable decline in the tobacco caused heart attacks, making current smokers to quit (Source: Forbes, 12 June, 2015).

Taking up nicotine tests to enforce a smoking-free environment at workplace is beneficial. The measures, of course, entail costs to the employers.

Rehabilitation – There Is Support Available to Help You Beat That Addiction

No one ever said trying to come clean and overcome your addiction would be easy. In fact, it is one of the biggest obstacles you will face on a daily basis in order for you to remain sane and normal. Even though you may have felt alone while you were going through the addiction phase, there is help and support available during your recovery. That is why you should take advantage of the services that are offered at a rehabilitation center.

There is so much at stake when you make the decision to become sober and take back control of your life. Even though this situation will make you one of the strongest people in the world, it will also make you the most vulnerable. You are going to need more than the love and support of your friends and family to rise to this challenge. You will need the skill, expertise and professional services of the staff at a rehabilitation center.

Keep in mind that the path to overcoming addictions is not completely the same for all substances that are abused. In addition to needing counseling, you can also benefit from group therapy sessions with your peers that are going through the same thing that you are. It is important for you to know that you are not alone and no matter what stage you are at in the process, there is help and support available.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you don’t need help or can get through this trying time in your life alone. No matter how you got into this situation, you will need some type of assistance getting out of it. Beating an addiction is not something that once you stop taking the substance you are cured. It is a continuous and daily struggle that you will have to fight for the rest of your life. It is important for you to learn more about what caused you to resort to abusing. This means that you will need to get more in tune with yourself. You will need to get help so you can become healthy mentally and physically.

When it comes to choosing a rehabilitation center, you have two choices. You can choose to enroll in a day center or a residential center. If you have allowed your addiction to make you lose control of your life and you can barely make it through the day without thinking about your indulging in your addiction, then you may need to be under constant supervision. A residential rehabilitation center may be best for you. If you are currently struggling with an addiction, but are still able to maintain to work or handle some of your obligations, a day center may be what you need. No matter what type of rehabilitation you choose to got, you will receive the help and support you need to regain control over your life and fight your addiction.

Types of Drug Detox

There are 4 primary types of drug detox available for addicts and alcoholics to achieve the initial stages of sobriety. This includes the cold turkey method, specialized detox centers, medical detox facilities and rapid detox centers. Each type of drug detox has its own benefits and pitfalls that people seeking to recover from addiction should understand before they decide which treatment option is right for them.

Cold Turkey Drug Detox

This type of detox is also called “natural detox” and essentially consists of an addict or alcohol undergoing the stages of acute withdrawal in a private setting with little or no assistance or care. Unfortunately, the chances of successfully breaking the initial stages of acute withdrawal syndrome are small with this method, and most addicts will return to their drug of choice before they have reached a critical mass in their recovery efforts.

Despite its propensity for failure, quitting cold turkey isn’t dangerous if the substance in question is fairly benign such as marijuana or mild opiate addiction. However, some substance addictions can lead to life-threatening symptoms of AWS in the event of sudden cessation. The three most dangerous of these substances are alcohol, barbiturates and benzodiazepines; all of which can lead to seizures, respiratory and/or cardiac arrest, coma and in rare cases, death.

Regardless of the substance of abuse, most experts do not recommend natural detox as the chances for success are significantly impaired.

Specialized Drug Detox Centers

Specialized detox centers provide inpatient style treatment for up to 2 weeks. Patients receive an initial evaluation which will be used to develop an individualized treatment plan for the duration of their stay. Because of the individual nature of these plans, some detox patients will undergo treatment in just a few days, while others will require a week or two. In many cases these types of detox facilities work in conjunction with longer-term treatment centers that patients can automatically transfer to once they are past the acute stages of withdrawal.

Specialized detox centers work because of the therapies employed – such as individual and group counseling – and because they effectively isolate the addict or alcohol from people, places and things that could be triggers for them to relapse.

Medical Detox

Medical detox is similar to a specialized detox center but with a distinctly medical component. This can consist of an on-site nurse or doctor, 24 hour monitoring and other types of medically-oriented benefits. A medical detox center can also help addicts to step-down their drug usage in an effort to maintain medical safety and reduce or eliminate symptoms of acute withdrawal.

Medical detox is often required by addicts that have relapsed repeatedly, as subsequent attempts to get clean result in more severe withdrawal symptoms that last for a longer period of time. This is referred to as the Kindling Effect and is a very real phenomenon that can make it extremely difficult for people to get clean and stay clean. A medical detox center can address these issues expertly in a safe, relaxed and non-judgmental environment.

Rapid Detox

Rapid detox refers to a type of medical-detox procedure whereby the patient undergoes most of the symptoms of withdrawal while unconscious. This is accomplished by placing the patient into a medically-induced coma, then administering a series of drugs that facilitates and hastens the process of acute withdrawal. This spares most patients the worst of the symptoms and allows them to begin their treatment without the pain and discomfort of a long period of withdrawal.

Unfortunately, rapid detox is a relatively new practice and it’s not well understood yet how successful it is from a long-term treatment standpoint. Addicts considering this method should consult with their primary physician prior to speaking with a detox specialist.

Going through detox in a specialized or medical facility is the best option for most addicts and alcoholics; not only from a safety standpoint, but also because sequestering an addict away from potential exposure to drugs or drug- abuse triggers provides the best chance for lasting recovery.

Find out for yourself by reaching out for help now if you or someone you love is fighting the disease of addiction.

The Role of Neurons in Substance Abuse

Addiction is a neurological disease and any attempt to define it otherwise can be met with compelling evidence. In fact, the nature of the disease of addiction is almost entirely based upon functions that occur within nerve cells and the circuits they are wired in. Understanding the role neurons play in substance abuse won’t help an addict get clean directly, but it will foster an environment of understanding that can help to mitigate and improve the serious public health threat of substance abuse.

What is a Nerve Cell?

There are billions – perhaps trillions – of nerve cells in the brain. Some scientists theorize there are so many nerve cells because in the event of their death or alteration, these cells are not regenerated and therefore we require a surplus of them. And because their functions are so critical, nerve cells are found in abundance in every area of the brain.

Nerve cells – also called neurons – have many different functions, but overall these functions are primarily communication-related. Neurons communicate by sending and receiving signals to other neurons and nerve circuits, to glands and other hormone-related organs, to muscle cells and other parts of the central nervous system.

Neurons are arranged in circuits, though individual nerve cells do not physically touch. Instead, they float freely within the circuit.

The Individual Parts of Nerve Cells/Neurons

A neuron has 4 primary components;

1. Cell Body: the actual body of the nerve cell

2. Dendrites: dendrites branch out from the top of the nerve cell body

3. Axon: the axon is a long “cord” that extends from the bottom of the cell body

4. Terminals: the terminals branch out from the end of the axon

What Happens During Drug Use

When drugs enter the bloodstream, a signal is sent that excites certain dendrites in a nerve circuit. This signal is processed by the cell body, which in turn then sends instructions about the signal down through the axon. The axon conveys the signal and a neurotransmitter – often dopamine – is released by the terminals.

The neurotransmitter settles into the small gap between individual neurons – called the synaptic gap – and binds with receptors found in the dendrites of connected nerve cells. This causes the user to feel a euphoric sensation or “high.” When drugs like cocaine, heroin or meth interfere with this process, the neurotransmitter is not reabsorbed correctly by the terminals, resulting in neurotransmitter saturation. This causes the high to last for an extended period of time, whereas a natural release of a transmitter like dopamine normally causes a mildly pleasant feeling that quickly dissipates.

How the Brain Corrects the Imbalance

Because drug use is essentially a chemical invasion of the brain, the central nervous system will seek to control the effects of the substance. This is accomplished through a process called drug tolerance, whereby users find it increasingly more difficult to get high.

Tolerance develops when changes are made to the way receptors bind with neurotransmitters, or when other processes in the nerve circuit are altered in order to reduce or eliminate the effects of the foreign substance. Unfortunately, this often means that the drug user will simply increase the dosage of drugs in order to overcome this growing tolerance. This is the beginning of the cycle of addiction.

Permanency of Changes

Changes made to receptors and nerve cells are not reversible. This means that the brain of a drug addict will have significantly changed by the time they stop using. Because these changes are largely permanent, they may cause the addict to feel differently than they did before they began using. Adjusting to these changes is the most difficult part of long term recovery from addiction or alcoholism.

The evidence shows that addiction is not an issue of morals or character; it has its roots literally in our brains and therefore deserves to be treated as the serious health concern that it is. This is why addiction can happen to anyone: we are all wired the same. The sooner we can understand this, the sooner we can begin to offer addicts the right treatment solutions, beginning with a grounded public perception of the neurological nature of addiction.

Which Is the Most Difficult Drug to Detox From?

The hardest drugs to detox from depend on your perspective. If by “difficult” you’re referring to the severity of dangerous medical symptoms that occur during withdrawal, then the obvious answer is alcohol and benzodiazepine. Both of these drugs could kill you during detox. But if you’re referring to the severity of emotional, mental and spiritual symptoms that affect a person during drug detox, then most addicts will agree that opiates are the most difficult; especially opiates like Methadone that are designed to help wean an addict from other opiates like heroin.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Medical Reasons

The following substances prove especially challenging for many addicts to withdraw from considering the serious medical risks of doing so: Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines and Alcohol. The withdrawal process has been known to cause life-threatening complications in some people. This includes pulmonary and cardiovascular distress, respiratory depression, grand mal seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, coma and death.

Fortunately, death is rare but nevertheless the fact that it is possible creates a deterrent to treatment for some addicts. In most cases the risks of withdrawing from these substances can be mitigated by attending detox in a professional medical setting where healthcare practitioners and addiction experts can observe the detox process and respond immediately in case of any complications.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Emotional Reasons

Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, the first annals of history were recorded by the ancient Sumerians. Translations of stone etchings show that these early peoples farmed and used opium extensively. In fact, their word for the plant can be translated to “Joy;” an apt description considering the widespread abuse of opium for the next several thousand years. By nearly all accounts, the euphoric high obtained by using opium is the highest feeling of joy most addicts have ever felt. But herein lays the problem.

When a person uses an opiate like heroin or Oxycontin to get high, they rapidly build up a tolerance not only to the drug, but also to euphoria. This means that it becomes more and more difficult to obtain the same euphoric effect with the same amount of opiates, so in nearly all cases users continually increase their dosages – some to the point of overdose and death. But in general the central nervous system becomes more and more desensitized to stimulus that would normally cause feeling of joy or euphoria. In fact, the opposite often occurs, resulting in a state known as Dysphoria; the opposite of euphoria.

Dysphoria is a severe problem for people who are detoxing/withdrawing from opiates because after the stop using the drug they often find it difficult or impossible to find joy or happiness in anything. This causes severe bouts of depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and unexplained misery, terrible sadness and overwhelming inadequacy and loneliness; even in the presence of others. These emotional and spiritual symptoms drive many people in the early stages of recovery to return to drug use in order to self-medicate their general state of dysphoria.

Opiates Used to Treat Addiction to Other Opiates

Many addicts report and anecdotal evidence suggests that withdrawing and detoxing from opiates that are used to treat addiction to other opiates is a severe and extremely challenging process. The reasons for this are not understood, but it’s possible that because most opiate treatment drugs like methadone block the release of dopamine, addicts do not obtain a euphoric effect, even though they are spared the normal symptoms of withdrawal (essentially because methadone maintenance merely prolongs the addictive process.)

Support forums on group sharing often results in addicts advising each other NOT to go on an opiate maintenance program and to tough out the initial stages of a more “pure” withdrawal instead. Therefore, it could be argued that detoxing from opiate maintenance drugs is the most difficult type of detox to undergo.

The Kindling Effect

Regardless of the substance, the Kindling Effect can make detox and withdrawal an absolute nightmare; especially if the addict in question has relapsed repeatedly in their lifetime. The concept of Kindling is that with each progressive relapse and subsequent withdrawal, the brain and central nervous system become more highly sensitized (or highly desensitized) to drug abuse and the feelings it creates. As a result withdrawal symptoms are much more severe and potentially dangerous for these individuals than for others.

Ultimately, the most challenging detox is the one you’re about to go through. Taking that first step is extraordinarily difficult regardless of what drug you use and how long and hard you’ve been using it. But the reality of the situation is that left unabated the consequences of continued active addiction are in every instance more severe and potentially life-changing that the actual process of withdrawal and detox, which usually takes 10 days or less for most people.

If you or someone you love is fighting addiction, the most valuable weapon you can give them is action. Do it now; get help, get a free consultation, and take the first step before it’s too late to move forward at all.

7 Habits of an Addict About to Relapse

Many addicts in recovery that are nearing a relapse episode exhibit predictable and identifiable habits and behaviors before the actual relapse occurs. Recognition of these habits is critical in order for people in recovery and their loved ones to take decisive and immediate action to prevent the relapse. This is especially important considering the potential consequences of each new relapse episode: prison, violence, bankruptcy, death. Relapse prevention isn’t just about stopping someone from using again; it’s about saving a life.

The following are 7 behaviors that many addicts exhibit prior to and/or during the early stages of a relapse:

1.) Withdrawal/Isolation

A person in recovery who is on the verge of relapse will likely become withdrawn and purposefully isolate other people around them. This is particularly true of people that will not support or condone a return to drug use or drinking. This could be evidenced by spending less time with family members, staying out later at night than normal or not coming home, and by seeming withdrawn and quiet when others are present.

2.) Decline in Hygiene/Productivity

There is often a lack of care and concern when a relapse is imminent. Meaning, less attention is paid to personal hygiene details, exercise programs are abandoned, employment or educational inefficiencies or neglect occurs, and regular household upkeep suffers. These are all common signs of an addict who is beginning to care less and less about trying to maintain a legitimate lifestyle.

3.) Glorification of Substance Abuse

An addict that is unhappy with or neglectful of their recovery will often yearn for the days when they used drugs or drank. They may talk about using and relive their past drug use in the form of stories, anecdotes and comments that make it clear that they miss those times, despite the severe consequences they suffered as a result. (Levels of Relapse Warning Signs, T. Gorski)

4.) Reconnecting

An early warning of relapse is when a person in recovery begins to reconnect with friends or acquaintances they used drugs or drank with. This refers mainly to individuals who are potentially still using drugs or those who do not support recovery/sobriety. These reconnections are especially troubling when the person in question has withdrawn from people that DO support their recovery.

5.) Engaging in Risky Behavior

An addict in recovery that is about to relapse will often exhibit abnormally risky behavior. This could include extreme sports or other athletic activities, promiscuity, excessive speeding and other dangerous activities. Engaging in behaviors such as these fills a certain need for excitement and euphoria, but for most addicts in recovery the only euphoria that will satiate them is a return to their drug of choice.

6.) Secretive

As people in recovery get closer to relapse, they sometimes become secretive; carefully guarding their phone or computer, remaining tight-lipped concerning where they go, who they’re with, etc. Often at this stage the relapse has already begun and secrecy is required in order to conceal it.

7.) Abandoning Treatment

Addicts in recovery usually engage in some type of ongoing treatment as part of a relapse prevention program. This can take many forms, but when people in recovery are nearing a relapse episode, they often abandon these types of treatment with little explanation. When combined with any or all of the behaviors outlined above, it’s likely that for these people, relapse is imminent. (Carole Bennett, M.A. 6 Common Relapse Triggers PsychologyToday.com)

If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone you love who is in recovery, taking swift action is critical. This should begin by addressing the issue directly with the individual, and escalate to involve the person’s support network, treatment specialists and if needed, an interventionist.

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