Common Triggers for a Drug Relapse

junio 22, 2021 6:50 am Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s important to keep an eye on their emotional health, alongside their mental and physical health, as any changes to them can be indicative of something bigger going on. Perceived negative emotions like sadness, depression, guilt, loneliness, and anger can lead to emotional relapse. People often use drugs or alcohol to eco sober house ma gain temporary relief from these feelings, which can easily lead a person back to addictive behaviors. Experiencing these emotions is normal and an essential aspect of recovery – but they are uncomfortable. Learning how to manage your feelings is an integral part of recovery and can help to avoid the risk of relapse.

  • Weight gain can lead to individuals feeling depressed, and trigger thoughts that their substance use might help them lose the weight they have put on.
  • Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
  • Seeing someone use a substance or even just seeing it sitting on a shelf can cause you to fantasize about using it again.
  • Another hidden relapse trigger is over-confidence in recovery.
  • Part of the recovery process is setting healthy boundaries with friends, family or colleagues who do not respect your sobriety enough to stay sober while they are around you.

As we’ve mentioned a few times, it’s important to learn healthy coping mechanisms to help you handle yourself if you happen to encounter one of your triggers while you’re out in the world. Avoiding all of your triggers isn’t always an option, but running into one when you’re going about your daily business doesn’t necessarily have to trigger a relapse. Here’s a quick rundown of some of our favorite coping mechanisms. Recovery is a journey with no end, yet some people begin to feel that they are cured and don’t have to worry about triggers anymore. It’s important to develop a healthy level of self-confidence, but humility is necessary too.

Crypto Chaos – Volatility, Liquidation and Mental Health

Talking with your loved one, as well as consulting a mental health professional or clinician, can help you determine what you need to watch out for and how to handle these triggers when they occur. A relapse prevention plan also puts clear plans into place to address drug and alcohol use if it happens. These typically involve people in your recovery support circle who can help lead you back to a life that is free of substance abuse and help you get back on track. We offer substance abuse treatment programs that help you reach and sustain recovery.

Motivational enhancement therapy uses strategies to make the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment. Some treatment medications and mobile applications are used to help the brain adapt gradually to the absence of the drug. These treatments act slowly to help prevent drug cravings and have a calming effect on body systems. They can help patients focus on counseling and other psychotherapies related to their drug treatment. Tracy Dunn is a National Interventionist and Addiction Coach who has received training at the Crossroads Recovery Coaching Academy of Seattle Washington and The Addiction Academy in Miami Florida.

How Are Stress and Relapse Connected?

Triggers for addictive behavior do not initiate immediate use. needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding. People who struggle with addiction frequently lose their capacity to know when to stop. Or, treating yourself to one, unnecessary new pair of shoes could lead to a shopping spree.

Through treatment, you’re going to learn new ways of living by dealing with these triggers in a much healthier way. A high-risk situation involves stress that may push a person to want to use drugs or alcohol again. Events like large holidays are triggers for many in recovery.

relapse triggers

According to the latest data from a study at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 – 60% of people treated for substance use disorders will relapse at some point. A significant amount of people struggling with substance abuse find it difficult to resist relapse triggers. The negative side effects of relapsing after enrolling in drug and alcohol recovery programs is another concern. In recent experiences, drug and alcohol abuse after practicing abstinence, heightens an individuals chances of overdosing. Similarly, mood swings, increased irritability, and other sudden marked changes in attitude can indicate either a risk of relapse or that they’ve already been in the throes of mental relapse. Even strong positive feelings, if it’s extreme or seems to come out of the blue, can be a sign that they are experiencing the highs of using again.

Physical Relapse

It’s key to remember that these are not failures and shouldn’t be termed as such. Obstacles in recovery are often caused by insufficient coping skills or an inability to plan effectively. These issues can be fixed, and people should learn to challenge their outlook by giving equal attention to past successes. Do your best to plan meals, engage in mindfulness, seek out social support and stick to a regular sleep schedule.

What are the top 3 factors that contribute to relapse?

  • The severity and consequences of addiction;
  • Co-occurring mental or medical conditions; and.
  • The individuals coping skills, motivation, and support system. [1]

This relapse stage is typically characterized by the acronym HALT, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. Objects like syringes, wine glasses, pill bottles, or pipes may be difficult for you to look at. These objects may remind you of your previous use and can cause you to linger on thoughts of using drugs or alcohol with old buddies or alone at your home. Many things can trigger a relapse, but often, people who return to risky living environments after treatment are much more likely to relapse than those who don’t. By making changes in your lifestyle, relationships, and priorities, you may be able to reduce the number of stressful situations in your life.

Mental Relapse

As a result, certain cues immediately flip the switch on the association and activate the craving reflex in response to external or internal triggers in recovery. Triggers may decrease in frequency the longer someone abstains from substance use, but anyone in recovery needs to be prepared to respond appropriately when triggers do arise. People closest to the individual may set off cravings that eventually lead to a relapse. It is perilous for a person in recovery to be around substance-using friends and family.

relapse triggers

We propose you take a moment to learn about how addictive triggers can impact your life. In doing so, you will be able to spot the different signs of addiction and protect yourself better in the future. If, say, someone is recovering from alcoholism, going to a bar or keeping a full liquor cabinet in the home could be potential triggers for relapse that are too strong to overcome. Former drug or alcohol users are in denial during emotional relapse, but they do not have thoughts of using. They are ashamed of the last time they relapsed and may have developed negative behaviors to cope with their thoughts.

For those who are trying to maintain a sober lifestyle, it is important to be prepared and arm yourself with proper defenses against alcohol in order to enjoy your alcohol-free life. A study of rats by the University of Michigan found that the rats largely preferred rewards that triggered the brain’s amygdala, part of the limbic system that produces emotions. The researchers also discovered that the rats were inclined to work harder to obtain the reward that triggered the amygdala than the same reward that did not trigger any emotion in the brain. Recognizing the warning signs before relapse is one of the best ways to intervene early and prevent it entirely. If a relapse happens, quickly address it by telling a trusted sober peer, counselor, sponsor, or treatment professional.

We’re here to offset some of the inherent weight carried during the initial steps of that journey. Our mission is to bolster support and fellowship — and above all, help clients recognize that adventure, fun, and zest for life starts in recovery — not the other way around. Keep in mind that while these are popular coping mechanisms, they might not work for everyone. Take the time to figure out what works best for you as part of your personal recovery journey. Staying off this slippery slope is the only way to prevent over-confidence from resulting in relapse.

An overdose happens when the person uses enough of a drug to produce uncomfortable feelings, life-threatening symptoms, or death. Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for drug addiction usually isn’t a cure. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives. Some of my most difficult times were trying to take care of anxiety-provoking adult tasks in early sobriety.

Education on coping skills can help people manage thoughts of using. A NIDA study maintains that exposure to drug-related objects may influence a former addict’s behavior. The brain registers these stimuli and processes them in the same areas involved in drug-seeking behavior. Objects in an individual’s everyday life may induce a craving. Cues such as spoons can trigger memories of drug use in former heroin users without them being aware. A person can find alternative routes to avoid high-risk places, such as places where they used to meet their dealers or bars where they used to binge drink.


Identifying addiction relapse triggers is the first step toward preventing relapse. Triggers in recovery are social, environmental, or emotional situations that remind people in recovery of their past drug or alcohol use. While triggers do not force a person to use drugs, they increase the likelihood of drug use.

Why do I get so frustrated over little things?

Additionally, anger is often a symptom of certain mental health conditions, including intermittent explosive disorder, bipolar disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. You may also experience irritability or frustration if you live with depression or anxiety.

If you feel lonely, use HALT to ask yourself if you have reached out to speak to anyone. Go for a walk, enjoy a coffee at a local shop, or run errands to get out in the world. We all feel anger, and it is normal and even healthy to feel anger. With HALT, you take the time to understand why you are angry, what is causing it, and how to express it properly. Anger can cause things to spiral and get out of control when not handled correctly.

Instead of allowing the trigger to overcome you, talk to yourself logically. Explain to yourself that you recognize the trigger, you’re taking steps to remove yourself from the situation and you don’t allow the trigger to have any power over you. Relapse is often viewed as the result of a sudden impulse, but there is actually a litany of warning signs that can show when someone is at escalating risk of using drugs or alcohol again. Relapse can be divided into three stages, each with specific signs. When you see a doctor or mental health specialist, let them know that you are in recovery. Insisting on non-addictive prescriptions and alternatives to medication can help eliminate a potential source of triggers.

For those struggling with substance abuse and addiction, it isn’t uncommon for the affected person to return to alcohol or drug use. This return to their substance of choice is called relapsing. About 40-60% of those struggling with addiction relapse following treatment. While it’s important for your loved one to feel confident in their own ability to recover from addiction, overconfidence can be dangerous and a common sign of relapse. This supposed period of improvement could be them trying to overcompensate for something.

Stress causes significant adverse effects on the mind and body. When a person becomes stressed out, their mind goes into a state of “wanting” for the drug or alcohol during stressful situations—Especially if the substance was the person’s primary coping mechanism. It helps to compare addiction relapse to relapse in other chronic conditions. A person with diabetes will often relapse due to poor eating behaviors, for example.

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