Ways You Can Avoid Relapse Triggers

Most people who have substance use disorder have a co-occurring disorder, many of whom suffer from anxiety disorder along with substance abuse. This causes a double-edged sword in which the substance gives short-term relief, but worsens the anxiety when the substance withdrawal starts or the substance cannot be obtained. Relapse is a return to abusing drugs or alcohol after a period of being sober, or abstinent, and it is a common aspect of addiction recovery. TheNational Institute on Drug Abuse compares relapse rates for addiction, at percent, to relapse rates for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. In the early days of recovery, the mere presence of alcohol or drugs may create a temptation that’s too strong to deny.

Long-term drug use creates an association in the brain between daily routines and drug experiences. Individuals may suffer from uncontrollable drug or alcohol cravings when exposed to certain cues. The cravings act as a reflex to external or internal triggers, and this response can even affect individuals who have abstained from drugs or alcohol for a long time. However, if you notice your emotions are consistently overwhelming and you are either refusing to deal with them or are letting them take over your life, you’re in very real danger of emotional relapse. Arguments with family members or friends can be a common trigger for relapse. If you feel lonely, embarrassed, sad, and angry about your past behavior and choices, it’s essential to take care of yourself emotionally during this time.

  • Residential treatment programs provide a highly structured environment, allowing patients to stabilize without risk of using.
  • It teaches people to be more aware of themselves, both physically and mentally,Psychology Todaypublishes.
  • In the early days of recovery, the mere presence of alcohol or drugs may create a temptation that’s too strong to deny.

Feeling overwhelmed by emotions and triggers can destroy your sense of inner peace at a devastating pace. In turn, that leads to distorted patterns of thought — which are certainly not your friend when trying to avoid physical relapse. Even if you have excellent coping skills and other recovery tools, being exposed to triggers can still catalyze what seems like a sudden relapse.

Clinical Supervisor

For example, powdered sugar can elicit an urge for drugs in someone who used cocaine. External triggers can be very powerful and sometimes, you may not be able to dissociate certain things with your past substance abuse.

This is especially true if there is a marked change in eating or sleeping habits. Understanding your loved one’s particular triggers empowers you to help them avoid these triggers when it’s possible in order to lower the risk of relapse. And for those triggers that are unavoidable, you can help them cope more effectively and lower their risk for relapse more than they might be able to do on their own. Regularly attending recovery meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous , Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery will help to keep you accountable for your actions and keep you humble. There is a saying in AA, “Just for today,” which means that you need to take your recovery one day at a time. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are also trying to permanently abstain from drugs and alcohol will be good motivation for you.

In the event of a positive life change, be sure to plan ahead of time how you’ll celebrate so you can without drugs or alcohol. It is important to find a good community of support in recovery, but the people who you used to get high with or go out and party with are not a good option. The friends or family that you frequently did drugs with, as well as your former drug dealer, can all act as strong drug triggers that could derail your sobriety. One of the biggest of these challenges is the inevitable drug cravings that can occur in a moment’s notice.

Not surprisingly, one of the primary triggers of relapse is stress. It is not uncommon for those who struggle with addiction to turn to or begin craving their drug of choice during stressful times. Many research studies show that “wanting” to participate in drug use was the person’s primary coping mechanism for dealing with stress.

How To Avoid These Triggers

Here are the primary ways you can manage triggers in recovery. Co-occurring mental illnessesare common in people with substance abuse disorders. In fact, substance abuse may begin as an attempt at self-medication to cope with undiagnosed depression, anxiety, or another mental illness. Fortunately, doctors have many ways to treat mental illnesses that do not involve the use of addictive medications, and relief from mental illness can help you avoid a potential relapse. Gaining insight into your emotions and tracking what triggers you to want to use drugs or alcohol again. Learn to acknowledge uncomfortable emotions and find healthier coping skills when those feelings occur. RP clinical protocols typically include 12 weekly sessions, and are empirically supported when delivered over that time frame.

types of relapse triggers

Part of any successful treatment plan for alcohol or drug addiction involves managing the risk of relapse. But it’s important to understand that relapse, while not a desirable outcome, is not a sign of failure, and it does not erase all of the important work done during the initial stages of recovery. Rather, it is simply an indication that more support—and perhaps a different approach to treatment—is currently required to continue the recovery journey. Our licensed therapists can help you identify your triggers and help you take steps to avoid these. If you can’t always avoid them, your therapist will teach you coping skills for when you come across these situations. There is no shame in seeking assistance from your friends, loved ones, or sponsor.

A study by NIDA found that cocaine-related images subconsciously provoked the emotional cores of former user’s brains. These underlying motives and cues set off a prompt activation of the circuitry linked with alcohol cravings.

Common Drug And Alcohol Cravings

Relationships with family and friends suffer, and regular participation in hobbies that don’t involve substance use often ceases. Once an individual has completed a substance abuse treatment program, it may seem daunting to re-enter life in the outside world.

For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health . Choice House is a Colorado treatment center with an admissions director ready to talk to you about treatment options https://ecosoberhouse.com/ for lasting sobriety. Reminding yourself that recovery is a lifelong process, and progress is more important than perfection. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that centers on creating an intense focus on the self and the present in order to heighten awareness and clarity.

  • Avoidance relapse occurs when you focus on any distraction other than putting the time and effort into furthering your recovery goals.
  • Sana Lake offers a wide range of addiction treatment programs as well as multiple types of therapy and sober living programs.
  • People recovering from drug and alcohol addiction are already dealing with similar brain function issues.
  • This could be anything from a toxic relationship to a financial situation.

Hasking P, Lyvers M, Carlopio C. The relationship between coping strategies, alcohol expectancies, drinking motives and drinking behaviour. They think it is almost embarrassing to talk about the basics of recovery. They are embarrassed to mention that they still have occasional cravings or that they are no longer sure if they had an addiction. Ultimately, the best way to recognize a potential or current sign of relapse is to listen to your loved one—and to your own instincts. It is all too easy to write off red flags as something temporary or innocuous, but ignoring a potential relapse will only make recovery harder in the long run.

Internal triggers can be more difficult to identify as they are feelings that are often complex. Both chronic and acute stressincrease the risk of drug addictionand may be the most common triggers for relapse. Stress is a part of daily life for most people, whether it’s being late to work in the morning or tense relations types of relapse triggers with a loved one. Health problems, increased responsibility and other events can result in stress that triggers drug cravings. There are many categories of addiction relapse triggers, and they fall into multiple groups. They can be emotional, environmental or mental, and often a trigger falls into multiple categories.

What Are Some Holistic Approaches For Relapse Prevention?

Zemore SE, Subbaraman M, Tonigan JS. Involvement in 12-step activities and treatment outcomes. Kelly JF, Stout R, Zywiak W, Schneider R. A 3-year study of addiction mutual-help group participation following intensive outpatient treatment. A common question about honesty is how honest should a person be when dealing with past lies. The general answer is that honesty is always preferable, except where it may harm others .

Knowing what your strongest triggers are and having a plan for healthy coping can keep you on the road to long term recovery. Never forget that you can reach out, whether by going to a 12-step meeting, contacting your sponsor, or meeting one of your sober friends. If you have any other questions about addiction recovery, we encourage you tocontact us at any time.Help is available whenever you need it. Though the severity of relapses varies widely, they are always a result of both emotional and mental relapse working together unchecked. If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to emotionally regulate and find a way to stave off negative thoughts and fantasies of drug and alcohol abuse, physical relapse is a very real risk.

If the person has been skipping treatment or therapy, consider different treatment options or a change to their existing program. Address the particular signs or triggers you observe, not the underlying fear of a relapse. Some signs that a person may be overdosing are dilated pupils, elevated or lowered breathing or heart rate, chest pain, nausea, and a blue tinge in fingernails, among other physical symptoms. A person who is overdosing can also exhibit violent or confused behavior, seizures, or convulsions.

Many situations may be high-risk for one person and fine for another. The important thing is to recognize situations that cause stress and prepare strategies to mitigate it. The HALT acronym helps those in recovery keep an eye on some of the most basic human needs that can lead to or intensify triggers if not fulfilled. Being in any one of the HALT states reduces a person’s ability to cope with stress and increases impulsivity.

Common Relapse Triggers And How To Avoid Them

It is important to finish any treatment programs in their entirety, and keep taking any prescribed medications or supplements. An estimated 9 million American adults suffer from both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports. Untreated mental illness, or not taking necessary medications to regulate such illness, can be a potential factor in relapse and relapse severity.

types of relapse triggers

This can be a tough stage to come back from, so you’ll have to do some relapse prevention planning and get a family member or trusted friend involved. After a period of poor self-care, someone in recovery will likely experience some of the mental signs of relapse.

Cues can be anything from triggers like smells or people, places or times of day when you used addictive substances. If you tried to quit by yourself in the past and failed, take note of what may have led you back to using so that you can avoid these cues in the future. Triggers are thoughts, feelings, and memories that remind you of your substance use or the lifestyle around your substance use.

Are You Ready To Get Started? Fill Out The Form Below And Get Started Today

An emotional relapse occurs when a person in recovery begins to experience some of the emotions they felt while actively using. They might not have relapsed yet, but they are moving in the direction of one. Some signs of emotional relapse are mood swings, avoidance of loved ones, and irritability.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *