If you or someone you love has had difficulties with addiction, you have a responsibility to understand the triggers that could lead to a relapse.
Everyone has their own triggers because everyone's addiction is unique. That being said, there are a few general things and situations that tend to lead to relapse. These are the times that your will is challenged the most, requiring strength to combat an addiction.
We'll cover some of the most common addiction triggers to look out for if you or a loved one is experiencing an addiction. Keep a look out for these situations and make sure to be mindful of the risks that they pose.
Here are 7 common addiction triggers that can lead to relapse.
7 Common Addiction Triggers That Can Lead to Relapse
All of these factors will affect people differently. How well one response to triggers depends on their individual personality, level of sobriety, and support from friends and family.
Stress is a huge factor that leads to relapse because use of the object of addiction is often a response to stress in the first place. Stress sets off alarms in our body that drive us to find the quickest way to become relaxed again.
Stress often buts a strain on our rational thinking, breaking us down to the point of desperation. The good thing is, the more you deal with stress healthily, the stronger you will be. Willpower is something that is generated internally, growing each time you use it.
Find healthy ways to deal with every day stress so that your coping skills will be able to handle the larger stressors in life. Some common ways to cope are meditation, mindfulness, exercise, and other relaxation techniques.
Relaxation techniques are a practice and should be treated as such. Learning a breathing exercise and saving it for a time when you need it may be helpful, but it won't get to the root of the problem. Practice relaxation daily, and you'll likely find that you are better able to handle stress in the moment.
2. Certain People and Places
People who you used to use with are often large triggers. The same goes for the spaces that you used to use in. These things are familiar, hold a lot of associations, and most of all they remind you of the feeling you had when you were using.
This is especially difficult if the people that you used to use with are still using. Peer pressure and the urge to resort back to using are strong forces. Until you are strong in your sobriety and positive that you can overcome adversity, you should do your best to stay away from these people and places.
This acronym stands for "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired." These are some feelings that tend to lead to weakness and submission to addiction. If you think about it, the emotions of hunger, anger, loneliness, and exhaustion are all ones that cause you to think irrationally.
The best way to avoid these emotions is to structure your life in a healthy way. Practice a regular eating schedule, take therapy, or practice relaxation to deal with your anger, spend time with your friends and build relationships, and get healthy sleep.
4. Mental Illness
Any form of mental illness is also a huge risk for those in recovery. Becoming sober is a difficult thing, and it often consumes one's entire life for a time. Whether or not mental illness comes during or after your most intense periods, it is something that will put you at risk of relapse.
Even if you aren't experiencing any symptoms of mental illness, attend therapy while you are going through rehab or trying to get sober. You should do this especially if you have a history of mental illness that could resurface.
5. Proximity to Your Object of Addiction
This may be the most powerful trigger on the list. If a recovering person is in the room with or sees their object of addiction, it may be one of the most difficult things for them to overcome on their road to recovery.
This is different for everyone. For example, recovered alcoholics can often spend time at bars and just drink water. Cigarette smokers who have quit can hang around with their friends who still smoke.
Know yourself, and know how you would react if you were faced with a situation with your object of addiction.
6. Parties and Gatherings
After getting sober, you're going to want to reconnect with old friends and see how they're doing. It's likely that your old friends are still carrying on with their old lives. That means that gatherings are likely to have drugs and alcohol.
These situations are difficult because the behavior seems socially normal. On top of that, there is usually a degree of peer pressure and desire to try and cope with. Be aware of your strength and know when you are entering a party or gathering that may pose a threat of relapse.
7. Emotional Trauma
Times of deep emotional stress are always difficult. Everyone suffers deeply when they lose a loved one or lose their home, but those who are recovering must face the fact that times of emotional stress are times that pose a threat to their sobriety.
It is important to develop healthy coping strategies in the face of deep emotional pain. These strategies can be worked on with a therapist and developed over time. It would be wise to start working and learning about these things before any significant trauma occurs.
The small stressors in life can also lead to relapse. Things like losing a job, an argument with a friend, or a breakup can all lead to similar states of mind.
Research Ways to Come Back From a Relapse
Everyone experiences hiccups. If you or a loved one has experienced a relapse recently, make sure to do your research and find ways to stay on the road to recovery. If you're looking for help with rehab or information on addiction triggers, we have the information that you need.