Early Warning Signs of Relapse Worksheet

Relapse is the deterioration in health status after an improvement. In the realm of addiction, relapse is the return to substance use after a period of abstinence 

Emotional and physical indicators can act as warning signs that signal a relapse may be imminent. 

Early warning signs of relapse can help people take preventative actions. They occur in three distinct stages that happen over time and progressively get worse.

  • Emotional relapse worsens one’s emotions and behaviors and can lead to relapse: E.g., mood swings, unhealthy eating habits, poor self-care, and isolation.
  • Mental relapse is where a person may be fighting with themselves over whether or not to indulge in drugs or alcohol. Common signs include experiencing cravings, fantasizing about using, glamorizing drug or alcohol use, or thinking they can control their use.
  • Physical relapse involves the person actively using drugs or alcohol. Therefore, it is critical to reaching out for help to stop the cycle before the individual falls back into active addiction. 

What Are The Theories Behind This Worksheet?

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that promotes relapse prevention and increases abstinence. In addition, CBT can help patients overcome the fears and negative thinking that can trigger a relapse. 

  1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a type of talking therapy adapted to treat individuals who suffer from highly intense emotions. DBT teaches individuals to identify, accept, and regulate their emotions.

How Will This Worksheet Help You?

This worksheet will help you prevent a relapse or minimize its impact by;

  • Monitoring your mood regularly
  • Being aware of your warning signs and their triggers
  • Developing a plan of action to deal with triggers
  • Developing a plan of action once you identify early warning signs

How Should You Use This Worksheet?

This worksheet should be used when you experience any triggers and warning signs that can lead to a relapse.

This is a self-evaluation worksheet to help individuals dictate early warning signs of relapse.

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American Addiction Centers. (© 2023). Relapse Prevention Strategies & Techniques for Addiction. Available at: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/relapse-prevention. [Accessed February 15, 2023]


Pinelands Recovery Centre of Medford. (©2023). The Warning Signs of Relapse. Available at: https://www.pinelandsrecovery.com/the-warning-signs-of-relapse/. [Accessed February 15, 2023]


Psychology Today. (© 2023). Relapse. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/basics/relapse. [Accessed February 15, 2023]