7 Common Addiction Relapse Triggers and Warning Signs

The good news is that the longer one is able to maintain their recovery, the better chance they have at sustaining long-term sobriety. Once an individual is able to maintain sobriety for their first year, their chances of maintaining their sobriety exponentially grows. Do not think that just because you attended a 28 day inpatient treatment program you are cured. It is highly recommended to seek out outpatient drug and alcohol treatment and have additional support such as a sober coach and/or sober companion. Engage in holistic recovery related behaviors and surround yourself with likeminded individuals who care about your wellbeing. Boredom and isolation could easily be listed as the number one reason for relapse by many individuals in early recovery.

This makes it harder to continue making the types of healthy choices you need to stay sober. Set yourself up for success by creating a relaxing nightly routine that promotes a restful slumber. Science has taught us that stress cues linked to the drug use , and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse. Scientists have been developing therapies to interfere with these triggers to help patients stay in recovery. Relapse rates for drug use are similar to rates for other chronic medical illnesses. If people stop following their medical treatment plan, they are likely to relapse.

What are the 3 behavioral triggers?

  • Spark: The spark trigger motivates you to act.
  • Facilitator: This trigger works with complicated things like dealing with trauma, setting up a new phone, etc.
  • Signal: Signal triggers act like reminders of who we are, what we can do, or what we want to do.

Having a structured support system in place gives you the tools you need to weather difficult times. Even adults can fall prey to peer pressure when they’re offered a drink at a party or encouraged to reminisce about past drug use. While relapse is a normal part of recovery, for some drugs, it can be very dangerous—even deadly. If a person uses as much of the drug as they did before quitting, they can easily overdose because their bodies are no longer adapted to their previous level of drug exposure.

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All it takes is one bad decision, and that confidence will turn into shame. If a person isn’t equipped with effective coping skills or neglects to use them to their full potential, the likelihood of acting on their urges increases. The last stage of relapse is the one most people think of first — returning to the use of drugs or alcohol. It’s not always easy to avoid being around substances of abuse. Alcohol is particularly difficult because so many people view drinking as normal, and it can crop up in unexpected places like office parties or even a neighborhood potluck. It’s important to make a list of people, places and things that are significant triggers for you so you can avoid putting yourself in a situation that may support relapse.

What is a psychological trigger?

In mental health terms, a trigger refers to something that affects your emotional state, often significantly, by causing extreme overwhelm or distress. A trigger affects your ability to remain present in the moment. It may bring up specific thought patterns or influence your behavior.

But it works a little differently with mental health, since a person with a mental health disorder often does not stop having every mental illness symptom. Untreated mental illness.According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, about a third of all alcoholics and about half of all drug abusers also suffer from some form of mental illness. If you’re battling depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition, you’re at risk of self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Self-care is an integral part of the addiction recovery process.

Exposure to Alcohol or Drugs

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. https://sober-house.org/ Although it’s important to note that occasional thoughts of using while in recovery are normal and even frequent, dwelling or acting on those thoughts is what will lead to relapse in the end. Seeing an old friend you used to use drugs or alcohol with can cause you to develop urges or cravings to use again.

  • An important part of the addiction recovery process is learning to be aware of emotions, accept emotions, feel emotions, and cope with emotions.
  • A person with diabetes will often relapse due to poor eating behaviors, for example.
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people underwent sudden financial hardships.

This could include family, friends, sponsors or other members of your addiction recovery community, just to name a few people. These need to be people that you’ll feel comfortable calling on if you encounter one of your triggers out in the world and need someone to talk to as a tool to help prevent relapse. Avoiding triggers is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to addiction and recovery.

What is a Trigger?

If you do not take care of your body’s basic needs, drug relapse triggers emerge. Make sure to eat a balanced diet, get adequate sleep, and continue with your treatment program. When these needs are not met, you may become irritable and moody and will be more likely to use to offset those drug relapse triggers.

Even though you’ll want to place some distance between you and your old friends, staying connected to people is a critical part of staying sober. Make new friends who support your recovery and who will help you explore and celebrate a substance-free life. In the early stages of recovery, it’s recommended not to get involved in a relationship until you are stable; eco sober house cost this could take a year or so. Relationships are hard work and come with stress, taking away focus from creating your sobriety. A break up with your new partner could lead you back to emotional stress that can put you at risk for relapse. Self-talk is a powerful tool and a valuable coping mechanism if you encounter one of your triggers during your daily life.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. It is the culmination of an emotional relapse and a mental relapse.

High-Risk Situations

For additional ideas, work with your counselor or therapist about how to effectively deal with these reminders. It also may help to have a healthy activity that you can do instead like going for a run, seeing a movie, having dinner with a sponsor, or reading a good book. Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring addiction specialist Erica Spiegelman, shares the skills that help in recovery.

Researchers highlighted the importance of avoiding the people, places and things that remind patients of their former lifestyle. So, try journaling, meditating, or even praying when you are feeling negative. Find a healthy way to release your negativity and boost your mood. An addictions specialist or another mental health professional can help you develop additional coping strategies.

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While reviving the wrong connections can be a trigger, nurturing healthyhuman connections is vital to avoiding another important trigger and sign of mental relapse—isolation. Spending too much time alone can trap your loved one inside their own head. Without others to bolster their resolve, they may find it difficult to remember their own reasons for wanting to be well and may lose motivation to stay sober and return to rebegin the relapse process. Recovering individuals can carry out personal exercises where they make a list of the people, places and things that remind them of their substance-using life.

relapse triggers

If you’re sitting around with nothing to do, you’re at high risk of experiencing urges to drink or do drugs. When this happens, find ways to engage yourself in something else. Take up some new hobbies so you’ll always have a way to keep yourself occupied. Once you get sober, you might forget how awful and destructive your addiction really was. But romanticizing your past is a warning sign that you’re in danger of a relapse. Instead, try your best to remember what pushed you into recovery in the first place – those moments that made it clear you no longer wanted to use.

These strategies are formulated in drug rehab and can be practiced safely within a transitional housing situation. Not everyone will relapse, but for some, it can be a part of the recovery process. To fully recover from addiction, you must modify the harmful behavioral and thought patterns in your life. If you relapse, it’s a red flag that you need to get with your doctor or treatment provider to resume treatment or modify your existing treatment plan. Although these numbers may be discouraging, the important thing to remember is that relapse is not a sign that addiction treatment failed.

relapse triggers

A strong support group of trusted friends, family members, and a sponsor is essential. It may be getting you out of the house and into nature, which is proven to be a boost to mental health. They provide the community that prevents you from being bored while alone. It’s also great to find a hobby, passion, or a safe activity you enjoy that keeps you focused and happy. Avoiding boredom as much as possible will help keep negative thoughts and cravings at bay. HALT is an acronym used in recovery programs to help keep these four triggers in mind.

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