This topic is especially important to recovery, as trauma and mental health struggles can be found at the root of many peoples’ substance use disorder. Recovery can feel lonely at times, especially if those around you don’t really understand your experiences with addiction and what it takes to remain sober. This feeling of isolation can lead to relapse, and so ensuring that you have access to a community of support is essential.

They are sometimes reluctant to even mention thoughts of using because they are so embarrassed by them. These triggers can vary from person to person, but some common examples include stress, boredom, loneliness, and feeling overwhelmed. Other triggers may include seeing people who use drugs, being in certain places, or even certain smells or sounds.

Abstinence Stage

Dealing with mental relapse and understanding emotional relapse involves a constant internal battle between abstinence and temptation. Physical relapse, on the other hand, includes experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the absence of drugs and alcohol. In either case, understanding your triggers forms a significant part of a successful recovery journey. Addiction relapse triggers in drug and alcohol abuse recovery are quickly becoming a major concern for inpatient and outpatient treatment addicts. Substance abuse triggers are internal and external cues that cause a person in recovery to crave drugs and often relapse or lapse.

You may find yourself in situations where you begin romanitcising or glamourising your past substance use in conversation, or creating a more positive narrative about it in your own mind. This is a serious warning sign that should be raised with an addiction specialist, as it is driven by old patterns of thinking that were dominant during your addiction. Being hungry can make us fatigued and moody, contributing to irrational behaviours or outbursts.

Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery

The important thing is to recognize situations that cause stress and prepare strategies to mitigate it. 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide additional guidance and support for people in recovery. One of the most widely used relapse prevention techniques is the HALT model. The acronym “HALT” stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired—four common conditions that can trigger a relapse.

  • Relapse occurs when you begin using a substance again after a period of sobriety.
  • Physical relapses are one of the most challenging stages of relapse to overcome.
  • The solution to managing difficult situations is learning how to confront them without drugs and alcohol.
  • Because alcohol is so prevalent in our culture, it’s also a good idea to have a game plan for what you’ll do if exposure pops up unexpectedly.
  • Relapse can occur very soon after attempting sobriety, or after several years of sustained sobriety.

Therefore, they feel it is defensible or necessary to escape their negative feelings. The cognitive challenge is to indicate that negative feelings are not signs of failure, but a normal part of life and opportunities for growth. Helping clients feel comfortable with being uncomfortable can reduce their need to escape into addiction.

Relapse Prevention: Strategies to Avoid Triggers

Emotional relapse is the first of three stages of relapse, so keeping an eye on your emotional state is an important way to manage triggers. Self-care habits make great strategies for responding to or preventing drug and alcohol cravings. Use this list to start thinking about what triggers you are likely to face in your recovery journey. Denied users will not or cannot fully acknowledge the extent of their addiction. Denied users invariably make a secret deal with themselves that at some point they will try using again.

Clinical experience has shown that everyone in early recovery is a denied user. In late stage recovery, individuals are subject to special risks of relapse that are not often seen in the early stages. Clinical experience has shown that the following are some of the causes of relapse in the growth stage of recovery. A basic fear of recovery is that the individual is not capable of recovery. The belief is that recovery requires some special strength or willpower that the individual does not possess. Past relapses are taken as proof that the individual does not have what it takes to recover [9].

Addiction Treatment Programs

Part of managing external triggers involves simply removing the source. This may mean leaving the grocery store or not saying hello to a friend from that period in your life. 1) Clients often want to put their addiction behind them and forget that they ever had an addiction. They feel they have lost part of their life to addiction and don’t want to spend the rest of their life focused on recovery.

types of relapse triggers

Rather than try to address each individual one, a helpful strategy may be to develop healthy ways of dealing with stress in general. Managing these triggers often requires the ability to process experiences in your past that led to emotional wounds or trauma. As part of their all-or-nothing thinking, they assume that change means they must change everything in their lives. It helps them to know that there is usually only a small percent of their lives that needs to be changed.