Top 5 Relapse Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Top 5 Relapse Triggers and How to Avoid Them

It is also necessary to know that they are not a sign of failure; they are inevitable. But their lifespan can be measured in minutes—10 or 15—and that enables  people to summon ways to resist them or ride them out. The purpose of this rule is to remind individuals not to resist or sabotage change by insisting that they do recovery their way. A simple test of whether a person is bending the rules is if they look for loopholes in recovery. A warning sign is when clients ask for professional help and consistently ignore the advice. The most important rule of recovery is that a person does not achieve recovery by just not using.

types of relapse triggers

When non-addicts do not develop healthy life skills, the consequence is that they may be unhappy in life. When recovering individuals do not develop healthy life skills, the consequence is that they also may be unhappy in life, but that can lead to relapse. The tasks of this stage can be summarized as improved physical and emotional self-care. Clinical experience has shown that recovering individuals are often in a rush to skip past these tasks and get on with what they think are the real issues of recovery. Clients need to be reminded that lack of self-care is what got them here and that continued lack of self-care will lead back to relapse. The transition between emotional and mental relapse is not arbitrary, but the natural consequence of prolonged, poor self-care.

Identifying high-risk situations:

Overconfidence in recovery can be dangerous, as it can lead to a false sense of security, making you more likely to take risks and eventually relapse. It’s important to remain conscious of the fact that addiction is a chronic illness, and relapse is always a possibility. While some people may not understand your actions, over time they will have to learn how to respect your choices.

Remember that you cannot control whether they decide to enter a clean and sober life style or continue to maintain it. You can certainly state calmly and lovingly that you have noticed a steady change in their demeanor or behavior and that you are concerned, and you are available to talk about it if they wish. If you have established consequences in the event of a relapse you can certainly remind them of what’s at stake if they continue down this possible destructive path. Have a support system of family, friends, and loved ones who will stand by you when you need help. These kinds of positive influences will decrease your likelihood of relapsing. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will also keep you in a routine and make you less likely to stray into negative habits.

The importance of Identifying Addiction Triggers in Recovery

Exercise releases endorphins that produce a natural “high,” which can provide an alternative to drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, regular exercise can help reduce stress, increase self-confidence, and structure one’s daily routine. Journaling and self-reflection are essential tools for identifying and managing addiction triggers. Keeping a regular record of your experiences with triggers can help you learn from past instances and build more robust strategies for future recovery efforts. Self-reflection can help to identify negative thought patterns and underlying beliefs that may lead to relapse. Psychological triggers, also known as cognitive addiction triggers, are negative thoughts and beliefs that can lead to relapse in recovery.

These cues are more commonly known as “triggers,” and they may manifest in completely different ways from person to person. Individuals who stay in addiction treatment for a longer period of time (90 days or more) are more likely to maintain their sobriety in the long run. So, try journaling, meditating, or even praying when you are feeling negative. An addiction specialist or another mental health professional can help you develop additional coping strategies. Many people who struggle with addiction turn to their substance or activity of choice as a maladaptive way of coping.

Relapse Prevention: Strategies to Avoid Triggers

The majority of people who decide to end addiction have at least one lapse or relapse during the recovery process. Such triggers are especially potent in the first 90 days of recovery, when most relapse occurs, before the brain has had time to relearn to respond to other rewards and rewire itself to do so. No matter how much abstinence is the desired goal, viewing any substance use at all as a relapse can actually increase the likelihood of future substance use. It encourages people to see themselves as failures, attributing the cause of the lapse to enduring and uncontrollable internal factors, and feeling guilt and shame. The growth stage is about developing skills that individuals may have never learned and that predisposed them to addiction [1,2].

To understand the importance of self-care, it helps to understand why most people use drugs and alcohol. It helps to acknowledge these benefits in therapy so that individuals can understand the importance of self-care and be motivated to find healthy alternatives. The negative thinking that underlies addictive thinking is usually all-or-nothing thinking, disqualifying the positives, catastrophizing, and negatively self-labeling [9]. These thoughts can lead to anxiety, resentments, stress, and depression, all of which can lead to relapse. Cognitive therapy and mind-body relaxation help break old habits and retrain neural circuits to create new, healthier ways of thinking [12,13]. Some researchers divide physical relapse into a “lapse” (the initial drink or drug use) and a “relapse” (a return to uncontrolled using) [8].

Some people have to deal with friends or family members who don’t understand that “just one” or “just for tonight” are damaging and enabling statements that can trigger a relapse. Addiction is a chronic brain disease with a relapse rate similar to that of other chronic conditions like diabetes. When people stop their treatment plans for chronic conditions, they are more likely to relapse.

  • Additionally, taking time out for yourself and engaging in activities such as exercise, meditation, or reading can help reduce any negative emotions and stress that could lead to substance use.
  • By being aware of your triggers and taking conscious actions to limit your exposure, you can stay on the path of recovery.
  • The last stage of relapse is the one most people think of first — returning to the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • They must also overcome the guilt and negative self-labeling that evolved during addiction.

Creating and adhering to a personalized relapse prevention plan can help in reducing the risk of reverting to substance use. Developing strategies for processing and navigating difficult emotions is vital to prevent emotional turmoil from leading to a relapse. This might include seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to better understand and manage these emotions.

Therefore, if you’re in a drug and alcohol recovery stage,  this environment can inspire you to feel celebratory and want to participate. Recovering from a substance abuse disorder takes effort on your part. One step towards staying clean and sober is to understand what relapse triggers are and how you can identify them.

types of relapse triggers

But, they can also happen for people who have been hooked on gambling, sex, food, and other types of behavioral addictions. Sometimes, a trigger can lead to a craving, which is defined as an intense desire to do something. Don’t let addiction or co-occurring mental health conditions keep you from leading the happy, healthy, and empowered life you deserve. So, if you see these symptoms in your loved one start to rear its ugly head, what if anything can you do about it?

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