This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s internal and external triggers UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs. Intrusive thoughts or other undesirable thought patterns are often the cause of relapse, particularly among those with diagnosed mental illnesses.

  • A whiff of cigarette smoke, watching people sip cocktails in a bar or restaurant, or a couple locked in an erotic embrace are reminders that seem to be everywhere in the early stages of quitting.
  • Triggers for relapse can be internal, external, and/or a combination of both internal and external triggers.
  • The sound of machinery, the scent of a specific flower or the preparation of a specific type of food could be a trigger for you.
  • No matter how lost you feel, you have the power to turn your life around.

About 40-60% of those struggling with addiction relapse following treatment. 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. A tool that people use is known as HALT, which reminds us to ask ourselves is feeling hungry, lonely, angry, or tired. The key to maintaining a healthy life in recovery is by practicing self-care and self-awareness.

Understanding Addiction Relapse Triggers

Additionally, feeling connected and supported gives individuals access to resources such as treatment programs or support group activities that can help them avoid addictive behaviors. For those living in remote areas, numerous online recovery communities are available for individuals to access the necessary social support they need. People may be one of the more easily-avoided external triggers, mainly if they are people that used to be involved in substance use with the individual. By eliminating these people from the post-addiction life of recovery, many people are able to minimize the chance of relapsing due to associating with those who still use. A whiff of cigarette smoke, watching people sip cocktails in a bar or restaurant, or a couple locked in an erotic embrace are reminders that seem to be everywhere in the early stages of quitting. These, and countless other things, are prime examples of external triggers, and they are going to be largely unavoidable.

What is an example of an external trigger?

  • Stressful or uncomfortable situations.
  • Being around people who elevate your stress levels.
  • Being around other people who drink or do drugs.
  • Social events like concerts, parties, going out to dinner.
  • Financial troubles.
  • Home and work responsibilities.
  • Certain objects that remind you of using.

Become skillful through practice at managing the triggers you cannot avoid. Patients in rehab may consider skipping treatment sessions or support group meetings to spend time with their friends and family. A break in the routine may leave periods of isolation where patients may be inclined to use substances.

What Are the Symptoms of Relapse?

Emotional triggers are emotional states that can lead to relapse in recovery. These emotional states can range from anger, sadness, and loneliness to boredom or stress. Experiencing strong emotions such as anger, sadness, or joy can also act as a reminder or increase the urge to use. The best way to avoid environmental addiction triggers is to become aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Being around certain people can lead to relapse, so limiting your contact with them is crucial.

  • Ask those you trust to help remove any triggers from your space, such as medication or alcohol bottles.
  • It is more difficult to deal with internal triggers than with external ones.
  • The last stage of relapse is the one most people think of first — returning to the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Having a plan to get through times when your cravings are triggered will be very helpful in avoiding a relapse.
  • Let’s talk about triggers and explain why identifying them is vital to the recovery process.
  • In a moment’s time, you may feel overwhelmed and simply unable to pull yourself together.

Nutrition is essential to the recovery process not only to feel better but to avoid further damage to your body. When you consume too little calories, your muscles will break down. The heart is also a muscle, and when it breaks down, a person’s pulse and blood pressure can drop to life-threatening levels. People closest to the individual may trigger those cravings that may lead to a relapse. An individual recovering needs to avoid any friends or family that are still substance using.

Frustration as an Addiction Trigger

This can only be done with peer support and clearly defined relapse prevention strategies. These strategies are formulated in drug rehab and can be practiced safely within a transitional housing situation. In this stage, you are battling yourself, constantly fighting an inner war between not using and using. You might begin bargaining with yourself, replacing one substance with another or you might begin to rationalize the use of drugs and alcohol by minimizing the consequences. You might also start permitting yourself to use a substance once or twice a year, thinking you’ll be able to control your usage habits.

Maybe you come home from a long day at work, and the minute you walk in the door, your kids are asking for dinner. In the past, the first thing you’d do is to open a bottle of wine to medicate yourself against the relentless stress. So the internal trigger to have a glass of wine may occur every time you feel stress.

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