Mental health issues range from depression and anxiety to attention-related disorders and more, and one of the major problems facing people struggling with mental health is mental health relapse. What is mental health relapse, and how does it impact your mental wellness? Learn more about mental health relapse, how to prevent it, and how we can help.
What Is a Mental Health Relapse?
A mental health relapse is when someone has overcome their mental health issue, only for the symptoms to reoccur. Typically, this relapse happens when an individual has been in control of these symptoms. It’s not uncommon for patients to feel like they’re “past” their mental illness before suffering from a relapse. Relapses can vary in severity and duration.
Causes of a Relapse
Sometimes, a specific event or trigger can cause a person to relapse. Depending on the mental health issue, there can sometimes be no trigger. Below are some of the most common triggers of a mental health relapse.
Stress is the leading cause of mental health problems. Studies show that more than 60% of American adults experience high stress. Heightened stress can fray our minds and make us more vulnerable to relapses. In many cases, stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can play a part. Other issues like a lack of sleep or feelings of depression are also related to stress.
Another cause of relapsing is a traumatic event. Many people suffer from relapses after a severe vehicle accident. The grief from the death of a loved one or even a tough breakup can cause a relapse. These issues are rarely predictable. If you feel that an event that’s recently occurred could trigger a relapse, you should seek medical aid.
Many people struggle with recurring triggers in the face of mental health struggles. Some people suffering from eating disorders may experience a relapse over certain types of food. Some with social disorders may find their relapses triggered by intense social situations. It’s essential to learn what your triggers are so you can better avoid them. If you feel that something is causing a medical issue, you should shift your behaviors to avoid the trigger.
Signs of Mental Health Relapse
How do you know when you’re suffering from a mental health relapse? It’s easy to confuse a relapse and simply a bad day. Not every negative emotion is a symbol of a relapse. However, consistent negativity can sometimes hint at an occurring or approaching relapse.
Some of the most common signs that you’re suffering from a mental health relapse include:
Lack of Motivation
A leading symptom is a lack of motivation. If you suffer from some disorders, such as depression or severe anxiety, this symptom is difficult to shake. As such, you shouldn’t always take a lack of motivation to mean you’re relapsing. Instead, you should speak to your doctor and see if it’s a recurring symptom of depression.
Another cause for this drop in motivation is stress. High-stress situations can make it difficult to motivate yourself continuously. If you’re in a stressful period, such as a surge of work or social problems, this may be the cause.
Increased Unhealthy Behaviors
If you’ve found yourself slipping toward unhealthy behaviors, a relapse is likely occurring. Unhealthy behaviors include falling back into negative coping mechanisms. Drug use, a change in your diet, or other harmful habits are common hints. Pay attention to how you’re spending your time. Consider speaking with a medical professional if you’re slipping toward unhealthy behaviors.
Changes in Patterns
Similar to slipping back into unhealthy behaviors is changing your patterns, including breaking your normal schedule or routine and letting responsibilities slide. Changing your routine isn’t always a sign, but dropping your responsibilities is a more certain hint. One way this may manifest is through changes in your sleep schedule.
How to Avoid A Mental Health Crisis
Now that we understand mental health relapses, how can we avoid them? Spotting the signs of relapse and taking action is a big part of prevention. Understand that relapses aren’t always avoidable. Relapse is a part of the recovery process, and you have not failed if you experience a relapse.
Here are some of the best behaviors for avoiding future relapses.
The best way to avoid a mental health crisis is to stick to healthy habits. Healthy habits include a proper sleeping schedule, a set routine, or healthy coping mechanisms. Many people find that dieting and exercising add a relaxed routine to their days that helps them stay grounded. Decide what works best for you and create a schedule around these behaviors.
Develop a Network
Another beneficial step is to develop a network that can help you. Your network should consist of friends or family members. Think of who you can trust during a mental health crisis. Don’t be afraid to lean on people who love you in a time of need.
Finally, you should work to identify what triggers can cause a relapse for you. Identifying these triggers is the first step to avoiding them. If you suspect something might be a trigger, you should assume it is and avoid it. However, don’t let an abundance of triggers scare you out of living your life. There are some triggers that you should work to conquer rather than avoid.
Handling the Aftermath
Handling a mental health relapse starts with behaviors that can help you avoid mental health struggles. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help and medical aid during a relapse. Afterward, adopt healthy behaviors and do your best to improve your habits. Curious about how you can improve your mental wellness? Contact us for more tips on how to conquer your mental health struggles.