Triggers In Recovery And How To Avoid Them

It’s always best to put as much distance between you and your substance of choice as you possibly can. If you’re overconfident in your recovery, you may believe that you’re strong enough to face common temptations and triggers head-on, rather than practicing avoidance as much as you can.

However, there is no doubt that addictive disorders have a strong subjective component that is not fully fitted with the present models. Of special interest is the role of the so called “Big Five” personality traits in the risk for drug addiction (Andreassen et al., 2013). Physical connections create pathways in the brain that can be altered when we learn something new. With long-term difficult things like learning to play a musical instrument, these changes can be permanent. Through counseling and other behavioral modification, we can actually, in some cases, change the brain physically. By changing our environment, starting a new job, new hobbies and friends, all will alter our brain in some way.

Contact your support network immediately and follow their guidance, or call a member of our experienced team here at Northpoint Washington – it could be one of the most important things you ever do. Likewise, a mental disorder, either relatively new or an undiagnosed existing one, will stress you mentally, as well as you having to deal with the nature of the disorder, eg. New or continued relaxing activities, and new or continued ways of ensuring you are looking after both your mental and physical health. New Year’s Eve has now come and gone (safely, it’s hoped), and the year is spread out before you. Using a daily journal to keep track of yourself is an excellent way to self-reflect, and is an essential tool during recovery.

Internal and External Relapse Triggers

When people engage in unselfish acts, they avoid expectations that lead to resentments. Relinquishing control or clinging to the belief they have control over people, places, and things is another trait many substance users have in common. Being a professional victim with the blame thrower on full blast does not help in https://ecosoberhouse.com/ terms of avoiding relapse. Triggering environments such as high-risk places remind recovering addicts of times when they indulged in substance use. Simply driving by or walking through places where these individuals used to purchase, drink, or consume drugs can often spark a triggering memory of past substance abuse.

Thoughts lead to feelings/emotions which often lead to the behavior of a relapse if not caught. The journey from addiction to recovery is full of many ups and downs.

Seeing someone use a substance or even just seeing it sitting on a shelf can cause you to fantasize about using it again. While some people may not understand your actions, over time they will have to learn how to respect your choices. Those that have relapsed, almost without exception, indicate that failure to attend support group meetings preceded their using.

Addiction Treatment Services

External relapse triggers can be defined as people, places, activities, objects, and situations. Each of these things can trigger a downward spiral of events in an individual’s drug and alcohol recovery process. While each person’s external triggers are different, there’s no denying the severity of these addictive triggers. For instance, the mere sighting of cocaine images, and empty prescription bottles can trigger a person to relapse or lapse.

  • As an individual in recovery, it’s vital that you understand each of these stages of relapse so you can better combat them.
  • Instead, create a plan for a healthier behavior to replace the old habits.
  • For instance, you can replace your “drug buddy” with a friend who is more supportive of your goals.
  • Patients in rehab may consider skipping treatment sessions or support group meetings to spend time with their friends and family.
  • Triggers will always be present during recovery, and accepting this starts the path toward avoiding them and managing their effects.

For instance, some people may feel insecure about sex and think they have to drink alcohol in order to relax before having sex. Other people may use drugs when they feel angry, lonely, depressed, sad, or bored – but any feeling can become an internal trigger. This addictive behavior can be devastating to the patient and their loved ones.

Internal Vs External Relapse Triggers

Evidence-based treatment research has identified strong precursors to why addicts relapse as well as areas of focus to help prevent or minimize the chances of relapse. Relapse prevention begins in treatment, whether that be an in-patient or out-patient recovery program. Addiction recovery teaches the individual to recognize triggering situations once they are out of treatment to develop a long-term sober life. Triggers bring up intense memories and feelings of using substances. They can be internal, such as feelings, or external, like coming into contact with people, places, and certain stressors. A therapist can help you work out complex emotions that may arise as you go through recovery.

Internal and External Relapse Triggers

The world around us often houses external triggers that interfere with addiction treatment , but so does the world within us. Thoughts, feelings and moods can often make for triggers that are just as powerful as the ones we encounter in the environment. This external stimulus would lead the individual to repeat drug use or relapse after a period of abstinence.

Feelings of inadequacy can lead a recovering addict to desperately seek validation and when the attempts fail, this can also be a trigger. Relationshipsdeserve a special mention as they are common relapse triggers and this is partly why it’s recommended not to pursue new romantic relationships in early recovery. Romantic and unhealthy sexual and non-sexual relationships can be a source of both euphoric and painful feelings, so to keep emotional stress at a manageable level they are best avoided if possible.

An Example Of A Very Brief Relapse Prevention Action Plan:

Some urges, especially when you first return to your old environment, are too strong to ignore. This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice.

Failure to address and maintain these triggers during the recovery process only serves to increase the risk of relapse. Although relapse can be a part of the recovery process for some people, addiction treatment programs and personalized recovery support resources can drastically reduce relapse rates. Managing Internal and External Relapse Triggers your relapse triggers is a process that takes time and a skill that you will develop and strengthen with practice. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply following the bulleted list below. However, with the right treatment and support, you can succeed at living a sober and happy life in recovery.

Using these strategies is crucial if you want to succeed in your recovery from drug & alcohol addiction. The first step to a new life in recovery is to stop using drugs and alcohol.

  • Individuals may suffer from uncontrollable drug or alcohol cravings when exposed to certain cues.
  • Without feeling the strong compulsion to use substances, there is a much lower risk of relapse and future drug use.
  • Compared to external triggers, internal triggers tend to be emotional lows that increase the risk of relapse.
  • For the recovering addict, and as highlighted already in this introduction, a lack of purpose when it comes to recovery from addiction never ends well.
  • However, going to the gym when married to meet women and be noticed to achieve external validation is not.

When most people think of the holidays, they are reminded of gift giving, holiday parties and time with family and friends. What people are less likely to remember is that the holiday season is also a time of increased sadness, loneliness, painful reflection, anxiety and depression. The earlier people in recovery can identify and successfully respond to triggers, the greater their chances of prolonged abstinence. The research maintained that subconscious cues are dangerous because they reinforce the patient’s desire to restart using drugs without them being aware of it.

What Are Addiction Triggers?

For example, certain triggers can lead to uncontrollable drug or alcohol cravings. These intense cravings are a reflex to external or internal triggers and do not discriminate from individuals who have abstained from their addiction for an extended period of time. Triggers are environmental, social, or emotional situations that remind recovering individuals of their past substance use disorder. These unique memories or cues often lead to urges that can potentially provoke a relapse. Unrecognized and unaddressed triggers increase the likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse. Recovering addicts with an understanding of their personal triggers can create plans to avoid external triggers as much as possible.

  • Working with your counselor, recognizing your triggers, and coming up with different healthy alternatives can help you stay healthy.
  • Make a list of all the benefits of remaining sober and the costs of relapse.
  • While it is difficult to step away from friends, family, and loved ones; sometimes, you may have to keep them at an arm’s length.
  • The most effective coping strategy is one that seeks guidance from others.

Perhaps holding a drink in your hand gave you the confidence to flirt and chat, but without it, maybe you are not so sure of yourself. Many individuals who are struggling with addiction have a hard time knowing exactly when to quit. It may be helpful to have someone you trust to go with you during these situations like these. It will need to be someone that can firmly and kindly tell you to stop. Treated simultaneously along with the addiction, it will become an extremely powerful trigger to relapse, and a constant one at that.

What Are Triggers And Cravings?

Furthermore, they can also be strongly influenced by the presence of other mitigating factors, such as feeling stressed, tired, or unwell, either physically or mentally. Nobody expects any addict to be aware of every possible trigger, but they should be aware of every possible trigger that is personal, relevant and potentially dangerous to them. Some recovering addicts even decide that now, as they are sober and not drinking or using, they are, in some way, cured. Those in recovery who feel they can now turn their backs on a continued effort to stay clean and sober are setting themselves up for potential and damaging relapse.

As with any fatal illness or medical problem, when we stop taking our medication or following professional suggestions, we become susceptible to a relapse of the disorder or condition. Although many view the God concept and higher power philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous as a turn off, there is some validity in it. The larger message is that people in recovery can greatly benefit from surrendering to something beyond their self-will and isolated thoughts. A substance use disorder is far bigger than a physical dependence on alcohol or drugs. It is largely a thinking problem involving distorted perception where the substance user claims to be the smartest person in the room.

About 40-60% of those struggling with addiction relapse following treatment. A successful treatment and rehabilitation program will make sure that you learn strategies and techniques to help avoid the triggers that can cause relapse. They will also teach you to recognize the stages of relapse and specific coping skills that will help successfully manage these stages.

Cardinal Recovery

They most likely would benefit from using that same strategy in their recovery. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and substance use disorders appear to be the only fatal illness where patients and their families try to treat themselves and fight to stay sick. Calling your former using friends while saying you were only doing so to check in on them is a huge red flag. The saying, “your disease is doing pushups waiting to pounce on you at any time” has some validity. When substance users start justifying reuniting with old acquaintances or significant others with whom they previously engaged in risky behaviors, it almost never ends well. When we are able to process a relapse with someone, it doesn’t take very long to identify where it started.

Whether or not the person takes a medication to help achieve this shouldn’t matter to anyone. If a medication helps stop the damaging addictive behavior, then that is successful treatment and not switching one addiction for another.