- What Are The Underlying Causes Of Addiction
- Addiction: 4 Big Questions
- Drug Overdose Death Rates
- How Prescription Drug Addiction Is Treated
- Tips For Coping With Holiday Addiction Triggers
What Are The Underlying Causes Of Addiction – Recovery from addiction comes with various obstacles and challenges. One of them deals with the many physical and emotional cues that people go through in life, which result in the desire to pick up the substances they are trying to put down for good. These signals are more commonly known as “triggers” and can manifest completely differently from person to person.
Some people experience a whirlwind of emotions seeing old friends and loved ones, which can trigger the urge to drink. Others may be so stressed by the pressures of school or work that they crave the feelings produced by stimulants. Whatever the reason, triggers are a natural part of recovery. Anticipating triggers and planning to deal effectively with them is the best way to protect against addiction relapse.
What Are The Underlying Causes Of Addiction
A trigger is an emotional, environmental, or social situation that triggers memories of past drug or alcohol use. These memories can trigger strong emotions that lead to an impulse to use the substance again. Triggers don’t necessarily lead to relapse, but they make it harder to resist the sudden cravings that arise.
Addiction: 4 Big Questions
Addiction is a chronic brain disease similar to other chronic conditions such as diabetes. When people stop their treatment plans for chronic conditions, they are more likely to relapse. Long-term use of drugs or alcohol creates a connection between a person’s daily routine and their experiences with addiction. As a result, specific cues immediately flip the switch on association and activate the craving reflex in response to external or internal triggers in recovery. The frequency of triggers may decrease the longer a person abstains from substance use, but anyone in recovery needs to be prepared to respond appropriately when triggers arise.
There are many categories of addiction relapse triggers, and they fall into multiple groups. It can be emotional, environmental, or psychological, and often triggers fall into multiple categories. These are the 10 most common triggers in addiction recovery, along with quick tips on how to avoid them.
The HALT acronym helps people in recovery keep track of some of the most basic human needs that, if not met, can lead to or exacerbate triggers. Being in any one of the HALT states reduces a person’s ability to cope with stress and increases impulsivity.
Do your best to plan meals, engage in mindfulness, seek social support, and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Doing so will provide a baseline that will help reduce reactivity to triggers.
Reasons Why Addiction And Mental Health Go Hand In Hand
Negative emotions such as sadness, guilt or anger are often the main reasons why people start abusing substances in the first place. When these feelings resurface during recovery, the brain remembers using drugs or alcohol with them and prompts the craving.
No one can completely avoid negative emotions. To keep feelings from relapsing, people in recovery need coping skills that can be discovered through therapy.
Both chronic and acute stress increase the risk of drug addiction and may be the most common triggers for relapse. Stress is a part of everyday life for most people, whether it’s being late for work in the morning or straining a relationship with a loved one. Health problems, increased responsibility, and other events can result in stress that triggers drug cravings.
The only solution to stress is to use preventative self-care and coping skills whenever you start to feel overwhelmed.
Drug Overdose Death Rates
Recovery is a journey that never ends, even though some people feel that they are cured and no longer have to worry about triggers. Developing a healthy level of confidence is important, but so is humility. If a person forgets that addiction is a chronic condition, they can be tempted to have “just one” drink, injection, hit or hit that it’s no big deal. This leads to dangerous conditions and eventually a complete relapse.
Avoiding this slippery slope is the only way to prevent over-confidence from reoccurring. Simply say no to any and all use of drugs or alcohol.
A variety of underlying mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are closely related to addiction and can result in a person feeling more triggered or more powerful. Physical illness and chronic pain can also stress the body and increase the risk of relapse.
When you see a doctor or mental health specialist, tell them you’re healthy. Insisting on non-addictive prescriptions and medication alternatives can help eliminate potential sources of triggers.
Mental Health In Addiction Recovery
For many people, connecting socially and building a support system in recovery can seem overwhelming. Some people will try to avoid it altogether, which can lead to prolonged isolation and increased loneliness. Without others around, it’s easy to talk yourself out of drug or alcohol use and rationalize it.
It’s common for people in recovery to struggle with social anxiety, so reaching out to a sponsor or trusted friend is a good start to avoiding isolation and its associated triggers.
Anyone who has been through a breakup knows the emotional fortitude required to move on with life. On top of the upheaval associated with addiction recovery, romantic relationships can create a devastating tide of emotion that makes a person feel out of control—both powerful drug addiction triggers for relapse. You don’t have to be single forever, but a good rule of thumb is to actively choose to avoid romantic relationships for at least the first year of recovery.
It’s not just negative events that can result in addiction relapse triggers. Getting a new job or getting a promotion can trigger a relapse in two different ways. For one, you may be tempted to use “just this once” again as a means of celebration. Planning healthy celebrations is a great way to stay on track.
How Prescription Drug Addiction Is Treated
There is also stress and pressure associated with new or greater responsibilities. Learning new skills and performing well in a new role can lead to anxiety and stress.
Addiction occurs because using drugs or alcohol makes a person feel good in some way. Although a person in recovery knows that their addiction is harming themselves and those around them, it is quite common to view past substance abuse through rose-colored glasses.
Recalling or dwelling on memories of past substance abuse is the brightest red flag in terms of triggers and relapse. If you find yourself stuck thinking about drugs or alcohol, it’s time to get your support system involved. Talk to a counselor, supportive friend, or your sponsor to help remind you why you chose recovery.
Avoiding being around substances of abuse isn’t always easy. Alcohol is especially tricky because many people consider drinking normal, and it can crop up in unexpected places like office parties or neighborhood potlucks. 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 situations that could support a relapse. Enlist the help of a friend, counselor, or sponsor to get the triggers down.
Tips For Coping With Holiday Addiction Triggers
There are two main types of triggers to be aware of – internal triggers and external triggers. External triggers are often easy to identify, as they are the people, places, things, and activities that make a person want to use drugs or alcohol again. Internal triggers can be more difficult to identify because they are emotions that are often complex.
An important study examined the effects of visual triggers in former cocaine users. Researchers showed participants photos of cocaine and related situations and found that the images resulted in a subconscious emotional response in the brain. The researchers observed rapid activation of pathways related to drug craving.
These subconscious brain responses and signals are especially dangerous for people in recovery, because they reinforce the desire to use drugs or alcohol despite the person’s awareness of it. The researchers concluded that avoiding people, places, and things that remind one of former substance abuse is important to maintaining recovery.
One of the hardest triggers to avoid is other people. Family and friends who use substances put people in recovery in a dangerous situation where they may be tempted to accept a drink or take drugs. Even people who do not use illegal drugs can pose a threat to someone in recovery. They may think it’s okay to offer a drink to someone in recovery from addiction to another substance, such as heroin, not realizing that alcohol consumption can trigger a different type of drug craving.
Ativan Addiction: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, And Risk Factors
Additionally, many friends, family members, and acquaintances simply do not understand how it feels to be in recovery and may make comments that evoke negative feelings. Some others that may be triggered include:
A “high-risk” location is one that evokes memories of time spent abusing substances. Drive by a bar you used to frequent or a neighborhood where you used to hang out
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