By now, you know that the coronavirus isolation and social distancing health measures can be very triggering and difficult for those who have an addiction. If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, it is very important to keep a close eye on the signs of relapse as the world navigates life during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Signs of Relapse in Loved Ones During Coronavirus Isolation

If your loved one has had an addiction in the past and you’re worried that they may relapse, there are ways you can safely watch for signs of relapse during the coronavirus isolation:

  • They ask to borrow money. Right now, many people are experiencing financial hardships due to coronavirus, so this sign of relapse might be easy to brush off. However, if your loved one is asking to borrow money in strange amounts or on a frequent basis, this can be cause for concern.
  • Your loved one’s physical appearance and hygiene changes. Because we are encouraged to stay home, many people are being a little laxer when it comes to hygiene and staying presentable. However, if you are video chatting or doing social-distancing visits with your loved one and notice a marked weight gain or loss or uncharacteristically bad hygiene, this should be seen as a red flag.
  • They are defensive or aggressive. Has your loved one become defensive or more aggressive during your interactions? If so, this may point to a sign of relapse.
  • They exhibit strange behavior. Is your loved one disregarding social distancing rules to see friends or make repeated trips outside of the home with little explanation? There is a good chance they are using again and surrounding themselves with others who are, as well.
  • Your loved one is isolating from you and others. Even though isolation is encouraged right now, that doesn’t mean that text messages and phone calls should go unanswered for long periods of time. Make sure you keep checking in with your loved one, and if they are ignoring you, this should be seen as a red flag.

How to Offer Help from a Distance

Here are some ways you can reach out and offer help to your loved one during this time of staying at home during the pandemic:

  • Write a loving letter, email or text to them expressing your concern.
  • Research treatment centers and work out logistics so they have no reason to say no if they need to get professional help.
  • Visit them, at a social distance, to express your concern and offer to take them to treatment.

Signs of Relapse in Yourself During Coronavirus Isolation

Can’t tell whether you’re just overwhelmed with what’s going on, or if you may be heading down the path to relapse? Here are ways you can recognize your own signs of relapse:

  • You romanticize past use. Do you find yourself wishing you could have a drink to get you through these times, or plan to pop open a bottle once it’s all over? These thoughts should be seen as one of the signs of relapse during the coronavirus isolation. Your past use wasn’t a fun time—it sent you to one of the darkest places in your life. Remember why you got sober and keep that in the front of your mind.
  • You think you can control your use this time. If you’re trying to convince yourself that all you need is a little stress reliever and that you can “handle” it this time around, you’re wrong. Thinking you can control your use is a sign of an impending relapse.
  • You frequently feel alone, hungry, bored and tired. It’s hard to avoid these feelings while practicing self-quarantine and social distancing, however, it just means you have to put in extra effort to combat them. Make sure you stay busy, connect with your support system, find ways to stay active and eat balanced meals during this time.
  • You stopped attending meetings or therapy. There are so many resources available online to keep you on track, but if you’re avoiding them, this should be seen as a red flag.
  • You’ve lost motivation. It can be hard to be motivated while you’re confined to your home day after day. However, it is imperative that you keep busy. Tackling even the simplest of tasks, such as chores, can make you feel productive. If you find yourself parked on the couch day in and day out, that can very well be the beginning stage of relapse.

If you or a loved one is showing signs of relapse during the coronavirus isolation, seek help immediately. Overdoses are deadly, however, addiction is a treatable condition. Relapse is part of the path to recovery for many people, so do not feel discouraged. Just focus on getting the help you or your loved one needs during this time.

About Cliffside Malibu

Because no two addictions are the same, we develop individualized treatment plans for every patient at Cliffside Malibu. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model across a range of levels of care, including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes family therapy and holistic therapy. Whether an individual is struggling with substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we bring comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

For more information, visit Cliffside Malibu.