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3 Steps to Take After Relapse

a woman looks in the distance while having her hand pressed on her mouth and wondering what to do after relapse

Relapse is often the greatest fear of those in addiction treatment programs. Unfortunately, relapse is a possibility for anyone in recovery. Treatment programs, support groups, and addiction therapy can all help prevent the risk of relapse. However, it’s also important to be realistic and know how to handle relapse. Understanding the steps to take after relapse can help reduce stress and prevent relapse stigmas like shame and guilt.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a relapse, our addiction treatment programs can help. Based in Hudson, New Hampshire, A Better State provides New Hampshire with comprehensive, trauma-informed treatment that fits a person’s schedule. Our clinic offers dual diagnosis and treatment with daytime and evening outpatient programs and more mental health and addiction recovery. Call us now at [direct] to learn more about what to do after a relapse.

What Are the Signs of Relapse?

A combination of addiction triggers often causes relapse. Everyone’s triggers are unique. However, life changes, stress, and certain people or places often trigger a relapse. Losing a loved one, a job, or the end of a relationship can all lead to relapse. Similarly, more minor life changes like arguments, unprocessed emotions, lack of mental healthcare, and traumatic memory also cause relapse. Common signs of relapse include:

  • Low energy and depression
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Glamorizing the past
  • Self-isolation
  • Avoiding responsibility
  • Lying to loved ones

Changes in daily behavior, participation, and responsibilities can all be signs of relapse. Unfortunately, guilt and shame can keep people from seeking relapse support or telling loved ones.

The First Three Steps to Take After Relapse

Knowing what to do after a relapse isn’t always easy. Unfortunately, many people in recovery feel immense pressure from themselves and their loved ones to stay sober. The first step is asking for help and reaching out to loved ones, support groups, and therapists. Other steps to take after relapse include:

  1. Take action – Start making changes immediately by setting boundaries, avoiding triggers, and asking for help.
  2. Talk to a therapist – Whether you start with individual, group therapy, or peer support group, it’s vital to talk to someone who knows about relapse immediately.
  3. Take responsibility – Address why you’ve relapsed, mitigate withdrawal symptoms, seek medical attention if necessary, and begin writing a relapse prevention plan.


Taking responsibility, asking for help, and seeking treatment are necessary steps after relapse. Shame, guilt, and secretive behavior are not. During a relapse, it’s important to remember that relapse is possible, and it’s crucial to work with your support group to identify the root cause of relapse. Writing out a relapse prevention plan is an integral step in recovery. At A Better State, we offer our clients a variety of therapies. Some of our trauma-informed therapies include:

  • ​​Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Yoga therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation therapy

A treatment program, addiction therapy, or social worker can help write a plan to keep you accountable.

Learn More About How to Handle an Addiction Relapse from A Better State

Relapse isn’t inevitable, but it is possible. Navigating relapse is never easy, especially without a plan, resources, or support system. If you or someone you love is struggling, A Better State can help. Our accessible outpatient programs can help you discover the root cause of addiction, relapse, and mental health conditions.

With treatment for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), our dial diagnosis clinic is here to help you manage relapse and prevent future relapses. Whether you’re looking for a daytime or evening intensive outpatient program (IOP), partial hospitalization program (PHP), or traditional outpatient treatment, we have the program for you. Contact us at 781.412.1488 today to learn more about what to do after relapse and our programs to help you prevent future relapse.