Recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) involves emotional highs and lows that can fluctuate based on many factors. You might experience emotional relapse or other challenges. Treatment programs keep you on track if you encounter emotional setbacks during recovery. We provide clients with all the support they need to ensure their mental, physical, and emotional well-being throughout recovery. You can rely on the care team at Newport Beach Recovery Center to help you remain motivated and move forward. Avoid emotional relapse by attending a program that fits your needs and provides essential coping skills.

What Is Emotional Relapse?

Emotional relapse is a slow process and can start with an increase in negativity or a growing ambivalence toward treatment. A deteriorating emotional state can sometimes make you vulnerable to physical relapse or a return to maladaptive behaviors. The early stages of relapse are easiest to counter using coping skills. Symptoms of emotional relapse feel like post-acute withdrawal and include changes in mood, increased negativity, and feeling unmotivated.

Emotional relapse makes it more difficult to actively participate in recovery by doing the following:

  • Decreasing mental focus and energy
  • Reducing feelings of self-confidence and self-efficacy
  • Making it harder to overcome obstacles

In most cases, emotional relapse happens when an individual does not follow through with using coping tools. The skills you learn during rehabilitation will help you identify and resolve emotional issues. You can easily overcome emotional relapse if you use recovery resources to find healthy ways to cope with negative emotions. However, if you avoid taking action when you notice warning signs of emotional relapse, symptoms of SUD can worsen.

Why Does Your Emotional State Impact Treatment?

Emotions directly affect physical and mental health. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), emotional wellness impacts your ability to cope with stress. In turn, “How you feel can affect your ability to carry out everyday activities, your relationships, and your overall mental health.” In addition, emotions can affect your physical well-being.

Your emotional state will determine the following:

  • How you interact with others
  • Your motivation level
  • How you feel about yourself and your recovery

Treatment focuses on ensuring you have the skills and tools you need to live a healthy and productive life. It can be difficult to concentrate on healing if you feel negative about yourself or your recovery.

Who Is at Risk of Emotional Relapse?

Anyone who lacks a support system or experiences severe withdrawal symptoms has a higher risk of emotional relapse. In addition, if you notice yourself beginning to feel more anxious, depressed, or negative, you should focus on emotional healing. The following factors increase the risk of emotional relapse:

  • Lack of coping skills
  • Not actively participating in recovery treatment
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders

What Are the Signs of Emotional Relapse?

Learning to recognize the signs of emotional relapse will help you avoid physical relapse or other recovery complications. Some of the most common signs of emotional relapse include:

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Decreased motivation
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Unusual mood swings
  • Anger issues or unusual irritation
  • Changes in sleep and appetite
  • Behavioral changes
  • Feeling isolated or lonely
  • Increased negativity

Once you know what to look for, you can monitor your emotional health for indications of returning maladaptive behaviors. According to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, “denial is a big part of emotional relapse.” By monitoring your emotions and taking steps to remain positive, you can avoid falling into the trap of denial about any potential warning signs.

3 Ways to Avoid Emotional Relapse During Recovery

Finding coping methods that work for you and your lifestyle is part of the recovery process. Below are a few ways to use the tools you learn during rehabilitation to avoid emotional relapse.

#1 Monitor Your Emotional Responses

At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we help clients improve emotion regulation and processing to decrease ambivalence or negativity. Monitoring your emotional state is an essential part of avoiding emotional relapse. If your thoughts turn pessimistic or disinterested in recovery, you can apply the coping techniques you learned in therapy.

#2 Maintain Your Treatment and Recovery Schedule

You may find it challenging to maintain your treatment and recovery schedule after completing rehabilitation. Transitioning to aftercare or returning home after residential treatment can feel destabilizing for some people. Avoid emotional relapse by regularly attending therapy, support group meetings, and other forms of treatment. Follow through with your aftercare plan to limit the emotional distress caused by the transition out of structured treatment.

#3 Rely on Your Support System

Your support system keeps you motivated and moving forward during challenging moments in recovery. If you feel anxious, depressed, or uncertain, reach out to them. Relying on your support system is an essential part of successful long-term sobriety. You should feel comfortable contacting the following people if you feel emotional distress:

  • Therapist
  • Case manager
  • Mentor or sponsor
  • Close family and friends

Recovery from substance misuse involves good and bad days. If you find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, or ambivalent about your recovery, then you may have a higher risk of relapse. The process is often gradual, and most people do not realize the dangers of emotional relapse. Reach out to someone in your support system if you feel uncertain about treatment and recovery or your ability to cope. You can easily overcome emotional relapse if you take action as soon as you notice the signs. Treating the symptoms of emotional relapse will protect you from physical relapse. To learn more about how we can help, call Newport Beach Recovery Center today at (888) 850-0363.