How can you tell if someone has relapsed on drugs?

If one of your loved ones have struggled with drug addiction, it’s normal for you to be concerned about them. One of the biggest issues with drug addiction is the fact that it’s a long-term condition: recovering users may be liable to relapse at any time. How are you supposed to know whether or not someone has relapsed, especially if you are unfamiliar with drugs?

Signs & Symptoms of Relapse

The signs and symptoms of a relapse may be similar to the signs of addiction in general. However, many addicts are ashamed of relapsing and are more cautious to hide their relapse from others. This can make it more difficult to identify a single relapse when compared to a full-blown addiction.

These are a few signs and symptoms that someone might be having a relapse.

  • The person is hanging out with friends or family members that they haven’t seen since you knew that they were using drugs.
  • There are unexpected or unaccountable changes in the person’s financial activity: missing money or large amounts of money being moved
  • Seeing the individual falling back into old patterns or habits that once signified that they were using drugs, which may include
    • Physical signs and symptoms of addiction, like agitation, sweating, insomnia, restlessness, changes in sleep patterns
    • Mental signs and symptoms of drug use, like changes in mental health, anxiety, or emotional outbursts as well as problems with focus or concentration
  • Sudden changes in behavior that can’t be explained by external circumstances. These may include changes in social behavior (suddenly socializing more or withdrawing) as well as mental or physical behaviors like tics or emotional responses.

What to do if someone has relapsed

Remember that many of these symptoms can occur without drugs involved whatsoever, so be cautious before assuming that someone is using drugs. That means that you need to make sure that they have relapsed before taking any serious measures.

The best thing to do in this situation is to speak with the individual in a non-judgmental way. Explain that you are concerned for them and that you value their health and well-being. Many people are ashamed enough of their relapses, so if your confrontation comes across as judgmental in any way, they are likely to deny you the truth.

Once they have acknowledged their relapse, offer your help – but don’t impose. If they are comfortable enough with you they may be comfortable enough to explore the various factors that contributed to their relapse. Only then will both of you be able to move forward towards a solution that can help you overcome the problem.


If you know someone who has relapsed, then it might be in your best interest to help guide them towards inpatient treatment San Diego. Those who have relapsed often have further unaddressed issues that need to be worked through before they can finally give up drugs for good.  Remember to be supportive and avoid, at all costs, seeming judgmental.

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