Understanding And Avoiding 9 Common Relapse Triggers

This is a group of people that includes family, doctors, counselors, self-help groups, and sponsors. Individuals are encouraged to be completely honest within their recovery circle. As clients feel more comfortable, they may choose to expand the size of their circle. Dealing with post-acute withdrawal is one of the tasks of the abstinence stage . Post-acute withdrawal begins shortly after the acute phase of withdrawal and is a common cause of relapse . Unlike acute withdrawal, which has mostly physical symptoms, post-acute withdrawal syndrome has mostly psychological and emotional symptoms.

  • Both chronic and acute stressincrease the risk of drug addictionand may be the most common triggers for relapse.
  • For instance, take the time to concentrate on what a few deep breaths feel like.
  • When we make time to reduce stress regularly by doing things that we enjoy, it reinforces sobriety.
  • Once an individual has had one drink or one drug use, it may quickly lead to a relapse of uncontrolled using.
  • Drug detox, rehab, and other forms of treatment are not cures for addiction, and substance use disorders cannot be cured.

While physical relapse means actually taking the drug you went to drug and alcohol addiction treatment for, it doesn’t always end in a life-destroying catastrophe. A physical relapse could be anything from sneaking a single shot of alcohol to overdosing on heroin, and it depends on each person’s situation.

Mental Relapse Triggers

We tend to want to believe recovery is permanent once it’s achieved. Recovery is hard work, both for the person who was once addicted and for those who have supported them throughout the healing process. The thought of all that https://ecosoberhouse.com/ effort and hope being in vain can be devastating. More than 85 percent of individuals in recovery relapse in the first year after receiving treatment. Many situations may be high-risk for one person and fine for another.

  • As a result, patients are able to handle stressful situations and various triggers that might cause another relapse.
  • There is a nostalgic aspect of drug use that can be particularly triggering.
  • These thoughts can lead to anxiety, resentments, stress, and depression, all of which can lead to relapse.
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  • William is also a certified CADC-I drug and alcohol counselor by the state of California.

They must also overcome the guilt and negative self-labeling that evolved during addiction. Clients sometimes think that they have been so damaged by their addiction that they cannot experience joy, feel confident, or have healthy relationships . One of the important tasks of therapy is to help individuals redefine fun.

How To Identify & Avoid Relapse Triggers

Relapse can seem like the end of the world, especially if you’ve just completed rehab. Don’t let a relapse cause you to second-guess or dismiss all the hard work you’ve done up to this point. Maintaining a healthy self-image is key to sustaining recovery and preventing relapse. Even if you’ve relapsed in the past, it’s much more important to focus on what you can do better in the future. Feeling overwhelmed by emotions and triggers can destroy your sense of inner peace at a devastating pace.

  • The term is often used to describe diseases — addiction included.
  • Overall, workers with alcohol use disorders missed over 323 million work days…
  • She noticed that there weren’t many aftercare programs dedicated to women’s sobriety or supporting them with the various co-occurring disorders that pop up once women are free from drugs and alcohol.
  • See why Newsweek Magazine named us as one of America’s top addiction treatment centers for the second year in a row.

Practice healthy eating habits such as incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, regular meals, and avoiding junk food or sugar binges which can cause fatigue. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that centers on creating an intense focus on the self and the present in order to heighten awareness and clarity. There are many techniques you can use to practice mindfulness, and many of them are short exercises that help you focus on your breathing, physical presence, or environment. You don’t need to regiment every second of the day, but knowing your schedule, and developing structure ahead of time gives you things to look forward to and focus on when cravings hit. In order to keep your mind off the emotions you are ignoring, you may find yourself giving in to compulsive behaviors now and again.

The Most Common Relapse Triggers In Addiction Recovery

Finally, exposure to drugs and alcohol can quickly trigger an addiction relapse. The sight or smell of a substance at a party, concert, family gathering, or any other place could cause strong cravings to immediately arise. 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. 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.

types of relapse triggers

Most people who have struggled with addiction have one very strong impulse in crisis, and that is to get high. These are all feelings that naturally trigger people with addiction to use drugs. Drugs, legal or illegal, are most often used to reduce or eliminate pain, irritability, depression, and fatigue. In addition, someone in recovery who seeks pain medication for a legitimate injury could end up discovering a new substance of choice. Drugs and alcohol mute all the other emotions, but anger tends to come through because it is one of the most obvious emotions.

What Are Common Relapse Triggers?

Having a support system that includes friends and family is one of the main ingredients for a sober life. However, there are most likely people in your life who encouraged your substance abuse in the past, and you have most likely tried to avoid them. Unfortunately, you may come across situations in which you run into these people. To steer clear of these relapse triggers, make an effort to stay close with people in your support system who encourage your recovery and well being. You can also ask yourself if you have their phone numbers saved or how you can approach interacting with these friends if you run into them.

types of relapse triggers

In fact, regular vigorous exercise can decrease your chances of developing anxiety or depression by up to 25%. As anxiety and depression are huge factors in addiction, a little exercise can go a very long way in relapse prevention. The first and most important step you can take is to ask for help. Reflect on your personal goals and aspirations you set during recovery, and if you wrote in a recovery journal—go back and reflect on it. Make maintaining sobriety and self care your absolute top priority and allow everything else to take a backseat until your symptoms subside.

Cognitive Therapy And Relapse Prevention

The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers is a nonprofit professional society designed to offer support to organizations across the continuum of care. Since 1978, it has extended resources, advocacy and thought leadership to its members. My daughter had an excellent experience here during her methadone detox. We have been to many facilities over the years as she has fought her addiction. The editorial staff of Oxford Treatment Center is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers.

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. 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. Enlist the help of a friend, counselor or sponsor to get down the triggers you may not think of right off the bat. 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.

Its symptoms also tend to be similar for most addictions, unlike acute withdrawal, which tends to have specific symptoms for each addiction . In mental relapse, there is a war going on inside people’s minds. As individuals go deeper into mental relapse, their cognitive resistance to relapse diminishes and their need for escape increases. Because addiction can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, treatment should address the needs of the whole person to be successful.

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These sensations can bring about a desire for the drug you’re working so hard to quit. You can avoid HALT-triggered relapse by maintaining a solid routine that includes meal scheduling, support meetings and getting enough sleep. Research has shown that certain triggers or cues bring back seeking or wanting behaviors involving drugs and alcohol.4 Here are a few of the most common relapse triggers someone in recovery may experience. The solution to managing difficult situations is learning how to confront them without drugs and alcohol. If you’re not sure how to confront these situations, contact us today. Gaining insight into your emotions and tracking what triggers you to want to use drugs or alcohol again. Learn to acknowledge uncomfortable emotions and find healthier coping skills when those feelings occur.


It will need to be someone that can firmly and kindly tell you to stop. Try using different coping skills when dealing with stress and negative emotions so that these feelings do not lead to a craving. When you are reminded of your addiction, it is essential to have a plan to deal with all the emotions that might arise from these situations. For example, if friends are inviting you to go out types of relapse triggers drinking and you are recovering from drinking, have a response ready or another activity suggestion. You can brainstorm ideas with your counselor or therapist on different ways to respond to situations to be better prepared. Addiction is often a way for people to cope with their feelings, and once substances are eliminated, past addicts can have difficulty dealing with their emotions.

Furhtermore, individuals who are newly sober may never have had sober sex, and therefore sexual experiences in recovery can be very triggering. Due to arguments, uncomfortability, or insecurity that relationships can cause, this is an area that needs to be taken with caution by a newly sober individual. Addicts must lie about getting their drug, hiding the drug, denying the consequences, and planning their next relapse. Clinical experience shows that when clients feel they cannot be completely honest, it is a sign of emotional relapse. It is often said that recovering individuals are as sick as their secrets. One of the challenges of therapy is to help clients practice telling the truth and practice admitting when they have misspoken and quickly correcting it. The tasks of this stage can be summarized as improved physical and emotional self-care.

If it were, our country wouldn’t be smack dab in the middle of the opioid epidemic. An estimated 70,000 people died from a fatal overdose in 2017 because of addiction. We believe it is fair to say that most of them desperately wanted to get sober.