Top 5 Triggers of Relapse and How to Avoid Them

And while many journeys to lasting sobriety might involve a speed bump or two, one of the best ways you can protect yourself against substance abuse relapse is to learn more about it. On average more than 85% of individuals are susceptible to relapse in the following year after drug and alcohol treatment. Relapse triggers are far more extreme for recovering addicts in the early recovery months of addiction treatment. For people in recovery, a relapse means the sudden return to drinking or drug use after a long period of not partaking.

For some, relapse is viewed in a negative light and indicates weakness. But this view is considered harmful since it fosters feelings of guilt and shame that can hinder your ability to recover from a setback. For others, recovery is a personal growth process that usually involves a couple setbacks.2 Rather than viewing a relapse as shameful, this perspective looks at it as a learning experience. 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. Places where drugs were available or where you used are common triggers that should be avoided in order to maintain sobriety.

What Is Relapse?

The important thing is to recognize situations that cause stress and prepare strategies to mitigate it. Do your best to plan meals, engage in mindfulness, seek out social support and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Doing so will provide a baseline that helps reduce reactivity to triggers. Education on coping skills can help people manage thoughts of using. After removing the corticosterone-producing glands from the rats, researchers observed a lack of relapse behavior after triggering them with low doses of cocaine. In contrast, when they increased the corticosterone levels, unstressed rats showed relapse behaviors when triggered.

  • When you’re recovering from alcoholism or drug addiction, you must have a response to these people if you end up encountering them and they ask you to have a drink.
  • Staying off this slippery slope is the only way to prevent over-confidence from resulting in relapse.
  • External triggers are certain activities, locations, people, objects, images, situations, and events that can make you want to use drugs or drink alcohol.
  • Working to get to the point of recovery is difficult work and you don’t want to lose ground, if at all possible.

You can avoid HALT-triggered relapse by maintaining a solid routine that includes meal scheduling, support meetings and getting enough sleep. 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.

Exposure Triggers That Can Lead to Addiction Relapse

You may be struggling with resisting drugs or alcohol once out of treatment and getting back to your daily routine, and this is normal for those who have recently entered recovery. Excitement or joy over a success in your life, coupled with overconfidence that you can handle “just one beer” to celebrate, can lead you to quickly spiral out of control.

Mental relapse, or relapse justification, is the continuous fight between wanting to use and knowing you should not use. Individuals often underestimate the dangers of situations and fall into the trap of single-time use. They give themselves permission to use substances in a controlled way, but the frequency of use generally increases until they fully relapse.

Understanding Addiction Relapse Triggers

While holidays are a time of celebration for some, they may be a struggle for people in recovery. Family and friends often tempt those in recovery to consume alcohol because they are under the misconception that one deviation from the treatment plan will not be detrimental. Triggers for relapse are situations that remind individuals of their drug use. Triggers are psychological, emotional, social and situational cues that can induce cravings. Strong cravings that crop up in response to triggers can be difficult to curb without the right support and resources.

Although many people who seek treatment for addiction hope that they can stay sober afterwards, approximately 40 to 60 percent of people relapse. A relapse doesn’t mean that you failed or that the treatment wasn’t successful.

There are several ways to combat these triggers long before you ever experience them

Health problems, increased responsibility and other events can result in stress that triggers drug cravings. Some people experience a whirlwind of emotions when seeing old friends and loved ones, which can trigger the desire to have a drink. Other people may become so stressed out by the push to perform at school or work that they are tempted by the feelings produced by stimulants. Expecting triggers and planning to cope with them effectively is the best way to defend against addiction relapse. Addiction recovery does not take place in a vacuum, but in the midst of complicated relationships, temptations, and sometimesco-occurring mental illnesses. Knowing what your strongest triggers are and having a plan for healthy coping can keep you on the road to long term recovery.

Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the individual. In accordance with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, we offer information on outcome-oriented treatment that adheres to an established continuum of care. In this section, you will find information and resources related to evidence-based treatment models, counseling and therapy and payment and insurance options. You can talk with a sponsor if you’re part of a 12-step program or simply talk with a supportive family member or friend. Learning to recognize triggers, getting help from a counselor, and building a support network are all useful tools in preventing a relapse. Do everything you can to protect yourself, but don’t beat yourself up if you do slip.

What Are The Stages Of Relapse?

To keep emotions from triggering a relapse, people in recovery need to learn coping skills that can be discovered through therapy. A trigger is an emotional, environmental or social situation that drags up memories of drug or alcohol use in the past. 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.

types of relapse triggers

All it takes is one bad decision, and that confidence will turn into shame. Boredom types of relapse triggers and social isolation are significant reasons for relapse in early recovery.

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