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Chemical Dependency: The Warning Signs of a Relapse

Scottsdale-based psychiatric professional Thomas Gazda, MD, is a psychopharmacologist and qualified psychoanalyst. Dr. Thomas Gazda has 10 years of experience treating patients in chemical dependency and adult and adolescent psychiatry units.

Patients who have completed a treatment program for alcohol or drug dependency may show signs of a relapse following an emotional trigger, social interaction, or life event. Warning signs could be caused by a change in health, relationships, the loss of a family member or loved one, a change in finances or work activities, or other forms of pressure and conflict.

Recognizing and/or preparing for warning signs that may lead to a relapse can be very valuable in developing an actionable treatment plan. Changes in personality may include demonstrating excessive anger or anxiety, or showing signs of perfectionism or obsessive behavior. A person may suddenly change their routine, avoid responsibilities, or miss important appointments, such as support group meetings. Additionally, the person may resume socializing with people from past times of chemical dependency. They may begin to recall times of chemical dependency with euphoria and associate sobriety with negative experiences.

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