Most Common Relapse Triggers - California Drug & Alcohol Rehab

Addiction is a lifelong condition that must be managed daily. After you complete an addiction treatment program, you will begin living independently as a sober individual. Staying sober can become difficult once you begin to experience triggers.

Triggers are people, places, things, or situations that cause you to crave drugs and alcohol. When someone relapses in early recovery, it’s sometimes because they have experienced a trigger and did not use proper coping mechanisms to overcome it. Sometimes triggers are unavoidable, though, so the best way to prevent yourself from relapsing is to identify your personal triggers and learn how to manage them.

The 6 most common relapse triggers include:

1. Emotions

Emotions are usually the main driving force behind our addictions. Before you get sober, you may use drugs and alcohol to numb uncomfortable or painful emotions so it makes sense that perceived negative emotions would be a common trigger for relapse.

When you are sober, knowing how to healthily manage your emotions is vital to maintaining long-term recovery. Feelings like sadness, anger, loneliness, or guilt, could cause you to crave drugs and alcohol. Because these emotions are all a part of the human experience, you must learn how to manage them effectively.

Behavioral therapy and counseling can help you identify how your emotions impact your behaviors and how to cope with them in healthy ways.

2. Stress

Stress is one of the most common relapse triggers, as it can wreak havoc on your mind and body. High levels of stress can lead to emotional and physical reactions, like lack of motivation, feeling overwhelmed, and even headaches or chest pain. Because stress can cause so many undesirable effects, people may be tempted to use drugs or alcohol to dull their symptoms and reduce their stress.

Knowing how to manage and overcome stress is a vital aspect of maintaining long-term recovery. When you are feeling stressed, instead of using drugs or alcohol you must use healthy coping mechanisms like exercise, meditation, or yoga. These activities can prevent stress from affecting your physical health and reduce the risk of relapse.

3. Overconfidence

If you become overconfident in your recovery, you are at risk of relapsing. Overconfidence may lead you to feel like you have it all under control. While a healthy amount of confidence is good for you, becoming overconfident could cause you to experience a relapse.

When you are overconfident in your recovery, you may begin to attend fewer meetings, stop reaching out to your sponsor, or even quit going to therapy. All of these things will prove to be detrimental to your recovery, putting you at an increased risk of relapsing.

4. Mental or Physical Illness

Untreated mental health conditions are one of the top causes of addiction relapse. When you are dealing with symptoms of a mental illness and do not have the proper coping mechanisms, eventually you will become overwhelmed. The thought of numbing your symptoms with drugs and alcohol may begin to seem like a good idea.

Physical illness can also cause an addiction relapse. For example, if you are suffering from chronic pain, a doctor may prescribe opioid pain relievers. While it is okay to take medication prescribed by a doctor, you must do so with extreme caution when it is a narcotic–especially if you are in recovery.

Mental and physical illnesses should always be treated promptly. Leaving these conditions untreated could result in a relapse, which would cause your illness to worsen over time. To avoid these kinds of triggers, you should always go to the doctor when you are feeling under the weather and continue attending therapy sessions to address any mental health concerns you may have.

5. Social Isolation

Social isolation is a huge trigger for addiction relapse. One of the vital aspects of recovery is having a supportive community to lean on in times of need. When you are isolated from others, it is easier to fall back into old habits as there is no one to tell you otherwise.

Social isolation also leads to depression. Dealing with depression can be extremely difficult, especially if no one is there for you. This could cause you to fantasize about soothing your loneliness and depression with drugs or alcohol.

Instead of allowing isolation to lead to a relapse, consider reaching out to your community. Being surrounded by people who understand what you are going through can provide you with the support you need to avoid relapse.

6. Intimate Relationships

Everyone who has gone to rehab or engaged in an addiction recovery support group has probably heard warnings about getting into a relationship too early. Individuals in early recovery are warned that getting into an intimate relationship too quickly can expose them to emotions that they are not ready to process. Once issues and arguments arise in the relationship, they are at an increased risk of experiencing a relapse.

If you plan on dating, make sure to take extra precautions in your recovery. This could mean going back to therapy, attending extra meetings, or simply having more conversations with your sponsor. Breakups and arguments in relationships can cause you to experience intense emotions that could lead to relapse without the proper coping mechanisms.

Learn How to Cope with Relapse Triggers at Arise Treatment Center

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, help is available. Whether you’ve just suffered a relapse or have never attended rehab before, Arise Treatment Center is here to support you. Our talented mental health and addiction therapists can help you identify potential triggers and develop the necessary coping skills to deal with them.

Relapse is common in recovery, but it doesn’t have to be a part of your journey. Contact Arise Treatment Center today to learn more about our drug and alcohol rehab programs.


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