However, there are several helpful prevention strategies you can use, and, in the event you’re faced with potential triggers, measures you can take to cope with them. Re-exposure triggers are similar to environmental triggers, in that they occur when someone in recovery is exposed to or is in close proximity of drug use. 3) Clients feel they are not learning anything new at self-help meetings and begin to go less frequently. Clients need to understand that one of the benefits of going to meetings is to be reminded of what the “voice of addiction” sounds like, because it is easy to forget. Clinical experience has shown that common causes of relapse in this stage are poor self-care and not going to self-help groups. In the second stage of recovery, the main task is to repair the damage caused by addiction .
Monitoring who a person in recovery interacts with can help to prevent relapse. If an individual is revisiting old relationships that involved drug use, it can be a trigger that results in substance abuse. Negative environments can have a serious impact on a person in recovery due to their vulnerability to such influences. Addiction is a chronic disease, making relapse a possibility no matter how long a person has abstained from substance abuse. Once relapse occurs, it can be difficult for an individual to get back on the road to recovery. They will likely feel the strong desire to continue to use once they do even one time.
Even with all this planning and effort, there is always a chance thata relapse can still occur. The important step of recovery planning usually takes place while an individual is still in a treatment setting.
Speaking to someone about the urge to use can often help to reduce that urge and bring rational thinking to the forefront of the equation. This is a reason that a lot of support programs employ the use of a sponsor; it can be critical to have someone to talk to when the urge to use arises. Sudden changes in the way someone in recovery is acting often precedes a relapse. This may be evidenced by increased isolation and avoidance of one’s sober support system. A person may also cease the pursuit of interests and hobbies they have developed in recovery. Keeping communication open and honest with loved ones builds a support system and accountability.
Most people who decide to quit using drugs or drinking try and fail numerous times before achieving full recovery from their addiction. Some estimates claim as 90% of all recovering alcoholics and drug addicts will experience at least one relapse. As discouraging as these numbers may seem, it’s important to remember that that a relapse does not indicate failure. In fact, it can be used as opportunity to understand and strengthen the recovery process. The main tools of relapse prevention are cognitive therapy and mind-body relaxation. Just like hanging out in old stomping grounds can lead to a relapse, so can old friends. Upon leaving treatment, it can be tempting to call up old friends and glamorize the “good” old days.
Internal triggers are thoughts or emotions that make you want to use drugs or alcohol. For example, you may feel a lot of anger when you run into your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend at the store, which may make you want to drink. Or, when you’re out having fun with your friends, you may feel confident and in control, so you may permit yourself to smoke marijuana because you convince yourself that you deserve it.
In fact, learning how to face your emotions without escaping into addiction is invaluable. If you don’t prepare for these situations ahead of time, you are vulnerable to relapse. Try brainstorming ideas or work with your counselor or therapist to come up with a plan.
Substance use disorders and drug use change the way the brain works. If you’re in recovery and experiencing a craving, you’re taken back to the time when substance use brought you pleasure, and your brain pays no attention to all the ways it caused harm. Alone, each of those can cause strain and make days a little more difficult. Together, however, the challenges can feel insurmountable if you don’t have the coping skills or support network to process them. Whatever your addiction, our certified professionals at Sana Lake can help you achieve your recovery goals and kick drugs and alcohol for good. In AA, you are assigned a sponsor who will help you through your addiction recovery and be there for you when you encounter an addiction trigger. Seeing someone take a drag of a cigarette or smoke marijuana, as well as looking at people drinking at a bar can immediately bring back memories of drug use.
The growth stage is about developing skills that individuals may have never learned and that predisposed them to addiction . The repair stage of recovery was about catching up, and the growth stage is about moving forward. Clinical experience has shown that this stage usually starts 3 to 5 years after individuals have stopped using drugs or alcohol and is a lifetime path.
The idea that these relapse triggers can be removed permanently are a common addiction recovery myth. Once mental relapse has occurred, it usually does not take very long to progress to the physical relapse stage. This is the stage that is most commonly thought of when one hears the term relapse. Physical relapse occurs when a person consumes the substance, breaking their sobriety. Using just one time can result in intense cravings to continue to use, and the potential to enter back into consistent substance abuse is prevalent.
Understanding And Avoiding 9 Common Relapse Triggers
Oftentimes when you’re dedicated to leading a new life in recovery, you may be overly confident in your ability to remain in control of your compulsion to drink or use drugs. To keep yourself accountable, it may be helpful to bring a loved one that you trust along with you to keep you in line.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are also trying to permanently abstain from drugs and alcohol will be good motivation for you. When you feel a craving coming on, don’t try to cover up the feeling; accept it, and let it pass. You’ll usually feel it for about 15 to 30 minutes before it fades. Deirdre graduated in 2012 from Pace University and completed her bachelor’s at Columbia University in New York and has her Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner. Deirdre has extensive experience in mental health and treating substance use disorder related issues.
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Numerous studies have shown that mind-body relaxation reduces the use of drugs and alcohol and is effective in long-term relapse prevention . Relapse-prevention therapy and mind-body relaxation are commonly combined into mindfulness-based relapse prevention . Despite its importance, self-care is one of the most overlooked aspects of recovery. Without it, individuals can go to self-help meetings, have a sponsor, do step work, and still relapse. Self-care is difficult because recovering individuals tend to be hard on themselves . Self-care is especially difficult for adult children of addicts .
- A significant amount of people struggling with substance abuse find it difficult to resist relapse triggers.
- How To Support a Loved One With a Cryptocurrency Addiction Cryptocurrency addictions cause significant distress to all individuals who care for the person facing the addiction.
- It has been shown that the way to get the most out of 12-step groups is to attend meetings regularly, have a sponsor, read 12-step materials, and have a goal of abstinence .
- Similarly to stress, it is common for addicts to use substances to cope with negative emotions rather than face them head-on.
- Cravings for our favorite things are common and one of the many things that makes us human.
- Triggers that happen outside of the individual are not necessarily beyond control.
She started her professional writing career in 2012 and has since written for the finance, engineering, lifestyle and entertainment industry. Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. The earlier people in recovery can identify and successfully respond to triggers, the greater their chances of prolonged abstinence. In rats and humans, the hormone corticosterone increases the level of dopamine, a brain chemical that plays a major role in reward-seeking behavior, in the brain in response to stress.
The best therapy and treatment services for relapse prevention will be administered to you. Our personnel will contact your insurance providers directly to ensure that you get the necessary coverage. Relapse triggers come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s why staying connected to a recovery program is so important. Having a positive support network will help patients keep a sense of perspective and balance in life, reminding them that they are never alone. Psychotherapy primarily deals with identifying relapse triggers and teaching coping skills.
Managing External Triggers
Some of the more common and obvious triggers include things like financial problems, divorce, or a death in the family. In fact, relapse triggers can come to you in the guise of very positive things. Some of the most unexpected relapse triggers are also the most common, like the ones listed below. If you don’t believe in a higher power and want a more scientific approach to recovery, SMART (Self-Management And Recovery Training) Recovery might be the perfect group for you.
A lot of people that just completed treatment deal with loneliness. This emotion is dangerous because most individuals in recovery may use pills to dull the loneliness. Whenever you may feel lonely, take some time to join a support team to distract yourself.
People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol have trouble controlling how much they can consume, and you might find yourself relapsing at a special event. When friends and family are around, this can be incredibly embarrassing. In addition to the title of Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Kevin is also licensed by the state of Maryland as a Clinical Drug and Alcohol Counselor. He holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling and has over 26 years of experience as a substance use/mental health counselor with the Montgomery County Government.
External triggers can be very powerful and sometimes, you may not be able to dissociate certain things with your past substance abuse. As a result, when you are confronted with those things, you may experience a very strong desire to drink or get high again.
Audra Franchini holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing & English. However, you’ll also need a strong external support system and other activities to help you continuously cope with these challenges. Let your supporters help you redirect your feeling into something distracting, like exercising, watching a movie, reading a book, or taking a walk. Identifying triggers starts with knowing yourself, and knowing the symptoms. Choice House is a Colorado treatment center with an admissions director ready to talk to you about treatment options for lasting sobriety.