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Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholic Relapse

Depression is the most common cause of an alcoholic relapse. Find out the signs and symptoms of an alcoholic relapse.

From a study of 1,626 post-rehab patients: "In all groups craving was not a major self-reported cause of relapse. In the Alcohol Dependent group, the most common reason was depression. In fact, 300% more patients cited depression, compared to craving, as the reason for their relapse."

- Neuropsychopharmacology (1994) 11 271-271.

Experiencing Post Acute Withdrawal: I start having problems with one or more of the following; thinking difficulties, emotional overreaction problems, sleep disturbances, memory difficulties, becoming accident prone, and/or starting to experience a serious sensitivity to stress. See alcohol withdrawal.

Return To Denial: I stop telling others what I'm thinking/feeling and start trying to convince myself or others that everything is all right, when in fact it is not.

Avoidance And Defensive Behavior: I start avoiding people who will give me honest feedback and/or I start becoming irritable and angry with them.

Starting To Crisis Build: I start to notice that ordinary everyday problems become overwhelming and no matter how hard I try, I can't solve my problems.

Feeling Immobilized (Stuck): I start believing that there is nowhere to turn and no way to solve my problems. I feel trapped and start to use magical thinking.

Becoming Depressed: I start feeling down-in-the dumps and have very low energy. I may even become so depressed that I start thinking of suicide.

Compulsive And/Or Impulsive Behaviors (Loss Of Control): I start using one or more of the following- food, sex, caffeine, nicotine, work, gambling, etc. often in an out of control fashion. And/or I may react without thinking of the consequences of my behavior on myself and others.

Urges And Cravings (Thinking About Drinking/Using): I begin to think that alcohol/drug use is the only way to feel better. I start thinking about justifications to drink/use and convince myself that using is the logical thing to do.

Chemical Loss Of Control (Drinking/Using): I find myself drinking/using again to solve my problems. I start to believe that "it's all over 'till I hit bottom, so I may as well enjoy this relapse while it's good." My problems continue to get worse.

Sources:

Adapted from Terence T. Gorski's Warning Sign Identification Process

 

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APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2009, January 2). Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholic Relapse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/alcoholism/signs-symptoms-alcoholic-relapse

Last Updated: April 22, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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