Alcohol Relapse Warning Signs

Get tips on warning signs of alcoholism to look out for, including changes in attitude, added stress, denial of relapse triggers, changes in routine, and poor judgment.

Although an alcoholic can get professional treatment for alcoholism, it is not always successful, and the alcoholic may display some warning signs of an alcohol relapse. If a you or a loved one who has been through therapy for alcohol abuse displays some of the following relapse signs, it is essential that you call us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.

1: Attitude Change

Despite following your treatment program, you end deciding it is unimportant. As a result, you become less enthusiastic about going to meetings and therapy sessions, and you feel as though something is not quite right.

Free and low-cost alcoholism treatment is available.

2: Rising Stress Levels

“Severe mood swings in particular are dangerous, as these can trigger a major relapse.”After the relatively safe world of the residential home, the real world can be a bit of a shock. Stress levels in particular rise, and you may end up overreacting to situations. If you feel helpless or out of control, you may start relapsing back into your old habits. Severe mood swings in particular are dangerous, as these can trigger a major relapse.

3: Denial

You’ve already admitted you’ve got a problem, so this is not a denial of your potential for alcoholism. Instead, you may end up denying that stress is affecting you. If everything doesn’t quite feel right, or if you feel worried or scared, please talk to someone, such as your therapist. Denying you are stressed is denying that you have an issue, and small things can build up to the point where you relapse. Reviewing these alcohol relapse symptoms may help you prevent that relapse.

4: Return of Withdrawal Symptoms

If you find yourself shaking or behaving as you did when you went through withdrawal, you may be tempted to start drinking alcohol again to alleviate these symptoms. However, it is much better to remove the source of the stress rather than relapse. Memory loss, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness are all typical signs of withdrawal, so talk to your doctor before doing anything rash.

5: Routine Change

You may find that your routines change from healthy behaviors to negative behaviors. The healthy behaviors are the ones you developed during your sobriety classes, and if these start to change, you need to be careful that you are not relapsing into bad habits. If you are skipping meals, changing your sleeping patterns or perhaps even not showering or bathing, then you need to reevaluate your current direction. Your therapist can talk to you about this.

6: Loss of Judgment or Control

If you cannot make decisions or if you start to make unhealthy or irrational decisions, you may be at risk of relapse. Again, overwhelming negative emotions such as anger or annoyance may surface, and you may start to cut off people. In some cases, depression may set in, as you begin to feel out of control once again.

7: Removing Support

Your support structure is one of the most important aspects of you rehabilitation program. This may consist of your family, friends, therapist and counseling groups. Turning up late to sessions or not turning up at all can be terrible for your recovery, and you may start relapsing.


Slips are a single episode of alcohol consumption with no recurrence within four days. Short-term use is several days or episodes of drinking heavily, but the patient stops. Sustained use is the most severe with the patient relapsing back into addiction. Often, the patient will drop out of treatment for a while during sustained use of alcohol.

However, even if you do have a relapse, all is not lost. Slips are often encouraging, as they can help you to identify the weak spots in your routine or plan. In addition, you have the knowledge to regain your footing and carry on with your treatment. As a result, a relapse is not a disaster; a relapse is an opportunity to strengthen yourself. If you pay attention to these warning signs of an alcohol relapse, you may not even slip.