4 Drug Relapse Triggers and How to Avoid Them

relapse triggersA very old joke about drinking sounds something like this: “I can stop drinking. I do it every night.” It’s a silly little statement about how easy it might be to set aside drugs or alcohol in the moment, and how very easy it might be to take those substances back up again the next day. For some people, the secret to long-term sobriety involves dealing with a series of triggers. These are the little needles that can poke and prod a person into making terrible decisions, and those actions can cause an addiction to come roaring right back to the forefront. These are just four common triggers, along with techniques some people have used in order to avoid them.

1. Friends Who Use.

For some people, substance abuse almost always takes place in social situations. They sip alcoholic drinks with friends, buy drugs from coworkers and shoot up with the help of classmates. For people like this, avoiding friends who use is a vital part of the recovery process. People like this may have a vested interest in reinstating someone’s addiction, so they won’t be required to deal with their own. They’re best avoided, especially during the early stages of recovery, when a relapse might be just around the corner.

2. Negative Feelings.

The link between negative feelings and substance abuse is clear, according to researchers in the journal Neuron, as some negative emotional states work on the same portions of the brain that are responsive to drugs. Feeling stressed out, depressed, angry or just unbalanced can lead the brain to seek out relief, and this could lead to a spike in drug cravings. Outpatient rehab programs help people learn how to deal with these emotional states through meditation, exercise, distraction or progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Since down feelings are almost impossible to avoid in the modern world, it might be best for people to utilize outpatient rehab in order to deal with these drug triggers.

3. Boredom.

Vast expanses of empty time can be dangerous for people in recovery, as it might be all too easy to fill that time with drug use and abuse. A boredom-busting schedule might include:

Sober living communities encourage people to follow a strict schedule each day, and as a result, people who live in these homes are adept at developing their own regimes that can prevent boredom, no matter where they’re living at the moment. Those who don’t live in a sober living community might need the help of an outpatient therapist in order to develop their own solutions.

4. Isolation.

When people are all alone, feelings of self-pity can creep in. It’s all too easy to wonder why an addiction strikes one person and not another, and why one little hit of drugs wouldn’t be harmful. Meeting up with other people who are in recovery can help to banish these thoughts for good. According to a study in the journal Psychiatric Clinics of North America, support group meetings in the 12-step model (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) aren’t really considered treatments for addiction. Instead, they’re designed to help people develop spiritually. The meetings help people find a whole new way to think and a new way to live, and most meetings are social and fun. Banishing isolation might be as easy as going to a meeting.

If you’d like to develop your own relapse prevention program, you’ll need the help of outpatient addiction care. Call us to find the right program for you.

Further Reading About 4 Drug Relapse Triggers and How to Avoid Them