Dealing With Addiction Triggers? Try These Coping Skills

These memories can stir up strong emotions that lead to the impulse to use a substance again. Triggers do not necessarily lead to relapse, but they do make it harder to resist the sudden cravings they produce. Cravings are normal, common, and often uncontrollable urges that do not point to a person’s moral failing. Just like a dieter who wants a piece of chocolate cake, cravings happen to most, if not all, patients in recovery from substance use disorders. And if not properly managed, they can make avoiding relapse more challenging. Therefore, relapse is seen as the effect of not having coping strategies.

What are some triggers that can affect a recovering addict?

  • Special occasions and holidays.
  • Parties.
  • Sporting events.
  • Gambling.
  • Being around people you associate with substance use.
  • Being offered a drink or drug.
  • Fatigue.
  • Stress.

High-risk places remind former drug users of the times they engaged in substance use. Walking or driving through places where they used to drink or consume drugs can spark a memory connected to drug or alcohol use. Learning to cope with the stresses of daily living without turning to alcohol or drugs is not easy for someone who has repeatedly used these types of substances. After months or years of chemical dependency, the brain must relearn how to a live sober lifestyle.

If such situations can contribute to your relapse, avoid going to stick to your goal of maintaining sobriety. For those struggling with substance abuse and addiction, it isn’t uncommon for the affected person to return to alcohol or drug use. About 40-60% of those struggling with addiction relapse following treatment. This therapeutic approach is often used when withdrawal symptoms are persistent and interfere with the focus on addiction treatment. Although MAT is a very useful program to incorporate into treatment, it is not intended to be utilized forever. Instead, a medication that reduces cravings or causes negative reactions to substances is used as a teaching experience.

Substance Use Treatment

It’s important to develop a healthy level of self-confidence, but humility is necessary too. If someone forgets that addiction is a chronic condition, they may be tempted to have “just one” drink, injection, hit or bump with the expectation that it won’t be a big deal. Negative emotions like sadness, guilt or anger are often core reasons why people begin abusing substances in the first place. When these emotions crop up again during recovery, the brain remembers dealing with them using drugs or alcohol and prompts cravings.

What are my personal triggers?

Triggers can be people, places or things, as well as smells, words or colours. Emotional triggers are automatic responses to the way others express emotions, like anger or sadness. For example, you may not have a problem interacting with an angry person, but find it hard to deal with someone who's crying.

When we make time to reduce stress regularly by doing things that we enjoy, it reinforces sobriety. Then, any triggers and problems that come up, can appear smaller, and easier to overcome or move past. Regardless, it is going to take some work to move past associations, like going places or doing things. Although it might sound vague, substance abuse has likely infested many corners of an addict’s lifestyle.

Maintain a Support System

She started her professional writing career in 2012 and has since written for the finance, engineering, lifestyle and entertainment industry. Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. Another useful side effect of our technology-steeped society is that distraction is easy to come by.

  • One way to prepare for this trigger is to evaluate the stress you’re experiencing.
  • Researchers highlighted the importance of avoiding the people, places and things that remind patients of their former lifestyle.
  • If you or someone you know relapses, the most important thing to do is ensure safety.
  • Using drugs or alcohol over the long term builds associations between a person’s daily routine and their experiences with intoxication.
  • It sounds silly but sometimes that little bit of assurance — even if it’s coming from your own lips — can be enough to keep the trigger from causing problems.
  • Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals.

For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute drinking a little alcohol early in pregnancy may be okay on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .

Addiction is a disease, we have addiction medicine that saves lives.

Researchers followed the cocaine use patterns of stressed and unstressed rats and used a low dose of cocaine as a trigger. The stressed rats’ responses to the trigger mirrored those of people during relapse. It’s important for people in recovery to be aware of the internal triggers they struggle with the most and have a plan in place to seek support when needed.

Those in recovery need to learn that feeling uncomfortable is not a state that needs remediation. Coping methods learned in therapy help people remain grounded and reduce the craving for the escapism of substance abuse. A variety ofunderlying mental illnesseslike depression and anxiety are closely related to addiction and can result in a person experiencing more triggers or more powerful ones. Physical illness and chronic pain also stress the body and can increase the risk of relapse. Triggers are thoughts, feelings, and memories that remind you of your substance use or the lifestyle around your substance use.

Getting Addiction Treatment To Manage Triggers and Stay Sober

Aftercare resources such as 12-step groups, sober living homes and support for family and friends promote a life rich with rewarding relationships and meaning. You will also find information on spotting the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance. With professionals that can help you make a plan that works for you.

But being prepared with reliable addiction treatment to get sober, will surely contribute to staying there, despite addiction triggers. Partial care programs offer the flexibility to participate in treatment without impacting your daily obligations in any major way. Take the time to learn how to deal with triggers that may have more gravity to them than originally thought. There’s nothing wrong with improving, especially if you are improving how you cope with addiction triggers.

External triggers are easier to identify and manage than internal ones. Substance abuse treatment aims to help individuals recognize the early warning signs of relapse and develop healthy coping skills to thwart a potential relapse. A trigger is social, psychological, and emotional situations and events that compel an addicted person to seek their substance of choice, eventually leading them to relapse. When an addicted person uses drugs or alcohol for a prolonged period of time, it changes the brain—eventually associating certain stimuli with the desire to drink or do drugs. Even though not all substance abuse triggers are universal, some are inevitable.

What are the four triggers for cravings?

  • Cues. Cravings may be caused by exposure to a setting in which drugs have been used.
  • Expectation.
  • Belief (perceived availability).
  • Attention.
  • Priming effect.
  • Stress.

While they are meant to be a reason to gather and celebrate, those in recovery must expend extra energy to ensure they are coping well with gatherings that involve social drinking, for example. Some people have to deal with friends or family members who don’t understand that “just one” or “just for tonight” are damaging and enabling statements that can trigger a relapse. 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 with a loved one. Health problems, increased responsibility and other events can result in stress that triggers drug cravings.

It’s anything that initiates an intense craving that sparks a recurrent pattern of behavior that leads to relapse. Sometimes, triggers don’t even exist physically but can arise out of a word, emotion, or even behavior of another. They don’t need to have anything to do with a current addiction, or, substance use at all for that matter.

addiction triggers

If it were, our country wouldn’t be smack dab in the middle of the opioid epidemic. An estimated 70,000 people died from a fatal overdose in 2017 because of addiction. We believe it is fair to say that most of them desperately wanted to get sober. While many triggers can be negative experiences, it is important to note that positive events can trigger relapsing as well. Committing an activity doesn’t mean that every trigger encounter sends you running to the gym. However, you decide to safely reduce stress regularly, use that as something to look forward to.

How can you identify potential triggers before you start craving?

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. Addiction often develops because people use drugs or alcohol to feel better about their current situation. Whether it’s a new and stressful 5 myths about drinking alcohol, debunked event or a distressing emotional state, substance abuse often turns off feelings of discomfort. In recovery, people don’t have that option and often struggle to accept and process negative feelings. A high-risk situation involves stress that may push a person to want to use drugs or alcohol again.

addiction triggers

Therapy, individuals can open up and share their experiences with different stressors that trigger cravings. Others face their triggers physically when encountering people, places, or do i have an allergy to alcohol things that remind them of substance abuse. The researchers concluded that avoiding people, places and objects that recall former substance abuse is crucial to maintaining recovery.

Not only is addiction itself considered a psychological illness, it often goes hand-in-hand with others, being masked by withdrawal symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy during rehab is helpful to reform associations made with substance abuse triggers. With the help of a CBT therapist, it’s possible to break the bond between addiction and triggers. Intensive outpatient treatment, much of the core curriculum revolves around identifying triggers that lead to substance abuse. The comprehensive self-evaluation is going to be just as important as professional rehab therapy. However, after gathering as much knowledge on personal temptation as possible, learning how to deal with triggers encourages staying sober.