Relapse Prevention: 7 Common Triggers & How To Avoid Them

2019-02-20T21:47:11-07:00January 30th, 2019|

Recovering addicts are at extremely high risk for relapse because it is so difficult to fight ingrained behaviors, as well as physical, mental, and emotional addiction to substances.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), those in addiction treatment suffer relapse at a rate of about 40-60%.  These aren’t great odds, and they worsen when recovering addicts are presented with triggers.

Exercises in mindfulness can be extremely helpful during early recovery and beyond, because they help recovering addicts to recognize triggers and make healthy and productive choices when they encounter them.  What are some of the most common triggers recovering addicts encounter and how can they be avoided to prevent relapse?

  1. Returning to High-Risk Environments

Many people emerging from addiction have little choice but to return to a home environment they lived in before meth addiction treatment Orange County, or a job they held prior to entering recovery.  These environments can be rife with triggers that cause the addict to crave the substances they once abused.  Ideally, addicts leaving rehab will find new environments that offer the best opportunity to stick with sobriety, develop new habits, and build the confidence and willpower to avoid dangerous situations the could lead to relapse.

  1. Returning to High-Risk Relationships

Recovering from addiction is something that most people can’t do alone.  If addicts want to maintain relationships with loved ones, these people need to support and empower the addict to make good decisions.

Often, this means family members and friends will also need to undergo treatment to understand how their behaviors contribute to an environment that enables addiction.  With a strong support system in place and loved ones willing to participate in the recovery process, addicts have the best chance to avoid relapse.

  1. Encountering High-Risk Circumstances

In early recovery especially, being confronted with the object of addiction, or with reminders of addiction, can be an overwhelming trigger.  When addicts first emerge from prescription drug rehab Orange County, it’s important to do everything possible to avoid high-risk situations.  This could include avoiding people or environments that are connected to prior addiction, but it could also involve simple preparedness.

A common acronym ascribed to such situations is HALT, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired.  When recovering addicts come up against even simple problems like huger or fatigue, they’re less capable of making wise decisions (actually, this can be true for most people).  Simple planning can help addicts to avoid these high-risk situations and the heightened temptation they cause.

  1. Social Isolation Following Meth Addiction Treatment Orange Country

The stigma attached to addiction and recovery can cause recovering addicts to avoid social situations and become isolated.  However, social support is an important part of recovery and surrounding oneself with the right people can make a huge difference when it comes to reinforcing positive emotions and behaviors.  This is why attending AA or related meetings is so important.

addiction relapse prevention

  1. High Stress

Stress can cause even the most well-adjusted person to exhibit unhealthy behaviors, and it can be an incredibly compelling trigger for recovering addicts.  Anticipating stress and working proactively to prevent it can really help addicts to remain sober and continue the recovery process.

  1. Heightened Emotions

It’s easy to understand why an addict might return to drinking or using drugs in the wake of unpleasant emotions.  If a recovering addict loses a job, gets in a fight, breaks up with a partner, or suffers the death of a loved one, returning to addiction to ease the pain can be very tempting.

However, heightened positive emotions can be just as dangerous.  Celebrations are a major trigger for relapse.  There is a strong social urge to participate with other revelers at a birthday party, wedding, or other celebration, and this often means imbibing alcohol or otherwise giving in to addictive behaviors.  Maintaining sobriety means having a plan in place to deal with such situations and emotions.

  1. Over-Confidence after Leaving Prescription Drug Rehab Orange County

The intensive work addicts do in rehab can make them feel like they have the information and tools they need to reenter the world as a sober person.  They may feel as though they’ve recovered, instead of understanding that they’re involved in a lifelong recovery process.

What they may not realize is that the protective cocoon of a rehab facility is specially designed to insulate addicts from triggers and it does not follow them into the real world.  There is no buffer, and it can be all too easy to allow learned behaviors from years of addiction creep in and take over.  Implementing new skills to remain sober when returning to one’s life is a constant struggle.

It is necessary to leave rehab with hope and confidence in one’s ability to remain sober, but getting over-confident can lead to dangerous activities that result in a relapse.  It’s important to behave in a safe and cautious manner and remember that recovery from addiction is a lifelong process.

If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.

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