The path from addiction to wellness isn’t a straight line. According to data from the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), between 40 and 60 percent of people undergoing treatment for substance dependencies will start using again at some point. Relapse is a very common occurrence, and any effective addiction treatment program will include specific tools and methods for preventing or dealing with it. Identifying addiction relapse triggers is a key part of this process.
Why Do People Relapse?
If someone has been through an addiction treatment program, they usually have a genuine commitment and desire to stop abusing substances, and they may well have succeeded in doing so. So it can be a shock and a disappointment when they start using again.
Although a person recovering from substance dependency has removed the substance itself from their life, they will still be reminded of it on a regular basis. Long-term substance abuse creates strong associations in the brain, so these reminders can cause cravings that may be impossible to control. These reminders are known as addiction relapse triggers. Therefore, being aware of what your own individual triggers are is a crucial part of a successful rehab strategy. Addiction treatment programs at Sunflower Wellness Retreat are personalized and teach people how to recognize their triggers and avoid letting them cause a relapse.
Addiction Relapse Triggers
There’s a huge range of factors that can lead to relapse. If someone was once dependent on substances, anything that is linked to this period of their life can trigger the same behaviors in the present. These triggers can be part of someone’s external circumstances and environment, or they can be more internal, relating to an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
These triggers are dangerous because they’re often completely normal and a part of everyday life and their effects can be almost entirely subconscious. Common external triggers for people recovering from substance abuse include:
- People, especially former dealers, or friends who regularly use substances.
- Places, such as former neighborhoods or workplaces. Bars they used to drink at are particularly triggering, as are spots where they would meet their dealer.
- Things, like drug paraphernalia, or a piece of furniture where they would use substances.
- Situations or events, such as parties or concerts. Significant anniversaries or occasions can be triggering, or even just being alone in the house.
These can be harder to deal with than external triggers because they can’t be physically avoided or navigated in the same way. They’re mostly feelings or thoughts and can be equally risky regardless of whether they’re good or bad. Common internal triggers include:
- Negative emotions, such as fear, shame, jealousy.
- Neutral emotions, like boredom, tiredness, loneliness.
- Positive emotions, such as confidence, strength, excitement.
How Can I Avoid Relapse?
Identifying your addiction relapse triggers is the most effective way that someone in recovery from substance abuse can avoid relapsing. Everyone who has struggled with addiction problems will have triggers, but if they’re aware of what these triggers are, they can be resisted more easily.
To manage external triggers, it might help to think about everything that reminds you of substances or your time abusing them. Make a list of places, people, events, or things that you associate with substance abuse, and keep adding it to it whenever something else comes up.
For internal triggers, it could help to reflect on how you process your emotions now, and when you were abusing substances. Think about why you behaved the way that you did, what you thought substance abuse would achieve for you emotionally, and what alternative behaviors are now possible.
Leave Your Addictions Behind
Although your own choices and actions are crucial, you are never alone in your journey towards recovery. At Sunflower Wellness Retreat, our professional therapists will give you all the skills you need to manage your addiction relapse triggers. Services include:
- Mindfulness-based relapse prevention
- Individual therapy program
- Holistic therapy program
- Outpatient rehab treatment
- Residential Treatment Center
Find out who you can be without your addictions holding you back. Contact Sunflower Wellness Retreat on 855.730.8825 today, and together we’ll begin to build you a better life without addiction relapse triggers.