Internal Vs External Relapse Triggers


When you’ve recovered from an addiction, you have much to celebrate. You can look forward to a life that you’re in charge of, instead of a life controlled by addiction. But what happens when you relapse back into those negative behaviors? If you could avoid the triggers or eliminate them, it’s possible to avoid relapse. Effective relapse prevention requires careful thought and planning. The first step is to understand how addiction triggers can lead to relapse. Triggers have many forms and vary between individuals, but generally, they are environmental cues that cause mental or emotional distress and put an individual at risk of relapse.

The first step in preventing triggers is learning about them and identifying personal triggers. Avoidance requires careful planning, discipline, and a support network. When recovering addicts encounter inevitable triggers, there are coping mechanisms to reduce the chance of relapse. Drugs and alcohol are often used to self-medicate mental illness and mask negative emotions. The correlation between mental health and addiction has been studied extensively, with addiction treatment facilities now offering dual diagnosis programs. When a dual diagnosis is apparent, mental health and addiction specialists must address both the addiction and mental illness in order to ensure a long, healthy and happy recovery. A relapse prevention plan also puts clear plans into place to address drug and alcohol use if it happens.

Internal and External Relapse Triggers

When urges to use inevitably arise during recovery, it is up to a recovering addict’s coping skills to stay sober. When the person in recovery feels an urge to use, they can Delay, Escape, Accept, Dispute, and Substitute to not relapse. David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials.

What Are The Benefits Of Relapse Prevention Programs?

The journal will help you to understand if you are in the emotional stage of relapse. Be truly honest with how you feel, as denial is an important element of this stage. Throw in the fact that we all have differing circumstances, and you see how difficult it becomes. For Internal and External Relapse Triggers the recovering addict, and as highlighted already in this introduction, a lack of purpose when it comes to recovery from addiction never ends well. There are also many alternatives to 12-step programs that may work better for you, both in-person and virtual or online.

  • For the recovering addict, simply being aware of these 3 phases of relapse can help prevent one before it actually occurs.
  • Of these, the one that has a proven impact on one’s recovery is spirituality.
  • It is understanding that more is out there that is greater and bigger than any one of us.
  • This dimension addresses many aspects of relapse, including external and internal cues.

Remember that it might be difficult the first few times you try, but as long as you keep trying andpracticing these techniques, they will eventually become second nature. It’s also essential to think about how much better things could be if you find a way through, so try not to get too discouraged. Yoga has been shown in several studies to help with anxiety symptoms. Be smart, not strong, and develop a plan on how you will respond. Beating an addiction can be challenging, but there are ways to help make it less so. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

As a result, when you are confronted with those things, you may experience a very strong desire to drink or get high again. A balanced view of the past, present and future can stave off despair. Failure to accept having the disease of addiction/alcoholism is another common reason people pick up drugs or drink again. A pattern of relapse and remission is very common for those suffering with long-term addictions. However, it’s worth thinking about exactly what impact this has on your life and how it can be avoided. Remission can be followed by a likelihood of relapse so preventive interventions may stop future use.

Mental Relapse

Come up with a plan with your counselor on different healthy alternatives to dealing with emotions. Practice healthy eating habits such as incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, regular meals, and avoiding junk food or sugar binges which can cause fatigue. Learn how to cope with triggers by calling your sponsor, 12-Step meetings, or group therapy. Recovery is not linear, but rather it takes twists and turns along the way. You will have good days and bad days, and understanding each’s underlying causes is vital to being successful in recovery. One of the most common causes of bad days in recovery is triggers. Obviously, if you add a lack of a healthy support system into this loose equation, the chances of a relapse occurring are increased significantly.

  • These are much more difficult to manage because managing them is entirely dependent on the individual.
  • It can also be tempting to try things again because it looked so fun, even if just for a moment.
  • Identify what internal triggers — emotions, thoughts, or memories — are liable to trigger cravings.
  • Internal triggers are what many psychological and behavioral therapies try to address, either in- or out-patient.
  • Throw in the fact that we all have differing circumstances, and you see how difficult it becomes.

Mindfulness meditation trains the mind to break free of negative thought patterns to move past them or analyze them. In English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives. Triggers are easily identifiable by the way someone reacts to something.

Although you may not be able to remove every stressful person or thing in your life, you can control avoiding stressful situations. You can start by making a list of people, places, or something that illicit this response from you. Triggers differ from person to person, but everyone that has gone through addiction deals with them at some level in recovery. From mild to severe, triggers can become overwhelming if you are not equipped with the right tools to combat them. By understanding what triggers are, learning how to identify yours, and learning how to cope with them, you can set yourself up for success in recovery one step at a time. These strategies work well as a way to limit the unwanted influence of triggers, but they are more effective as a form of prevention. When possible, people should always work to avoid and escape the people, places, things and situations that create triggers.

Rid Yourself Of Addition Triggers With Red Oak Recovery

If an individual has abstained from drug use for an extended period of time and returns to consuming the same amount they were accustomed to consuming before, relapse can result in overdose and even death. As a result, helping an individual get back into a rehab program as quickly as possible following relapse is crucial to their long-term health and recovery. External and internal triggers often work in conjunction to elicit cravings in recovering addicts. For this reason, it is critical to avoid external triggers and learn how to cope with internal triggers that are challenging to prevent. Triggers are social, environmental or emotional situations that remind people in recovery of their past drug or alcohol use.

Many behavioral lapses occur prior to a relapse that result in resuming substance use. When external circumstances do not require active engagement, recovering addicts will likely feel bored. Many drugs change an addict’s brain chemistry in ways that make everyday activities boring. Common external triggers include specific drug use locations, smells and sounds connected to drug use, and situations that cause negative emotional responses. Increases in stress from financial problems, uncomfortable family situations, and boring activities are all considered external triggers.

The next time they have a bad thought and they recognize it, they may call their sponsor instead of their drug dealer. Many emotions can re-ignite unhealthy behavior in individuals, and it is vital to learn how to cope with emotions. These subconscious and sometimes neurological triggers will signal the brain to act in a certain way, usually signaling cravings, without the individual’s knowledge. These feelings are placed into three categories, but nearly every emotion possible can be the cause of a relapse for any given individual depending on their experiences. People at risk of relapse should avoid stressful situations that are likely to push them to use drugs and alcohol.

Internal and External Relapse Triggers

Brain scans have shown that these triggers are tied to your neurochemistry, activating the key parts of your brain that lead to the desire to use. Substance use disorders and drug use change the way the brain works.

Relapse Triggers & Radar

If a person knows that walking down a certain street will bring on cravings, stay away from that street if possible. Learning how to effectively cope and deal with the relapse triggers that are pertinent to them will enable recovering addicts to be at least prepared for them. National Institute on Drug Abuse , between 40-60% of recovering addicts will experience a relapse. Understanding the relapse triggers your loved one may face in their recovery journey can help you better support them.

  • Recovery is not linear, but rather it takes twists and turns along the way.
  • More often than not, the user will convince themselves that their use will cause no harm.
  • This encourages detaching from painful or distressing experiences and can reduce stress.
  • The very first thing you should do is call your sponsor and/or counselor so they can help you assess the situation and decide the best immediate plan of action.
  • Working to identify, avoid and modify your triggers will help reduce cravings and urges to restart substance use and help establish longer periods of recovery.

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation program is a necessary step to relapse prevention. The protective and supportive environment of a substance abuse treatment facility can cultivate a safe path to recovery. Lastly, maintain a healthy lifestyle to improve your quality of life and cultivate a foundation for sustainable recovery. Addiction is a lifelong battle for all those who face this chronic relapsing disease of the brain. Making the decision to get sober can be difficult and the road to recovery also comes with a multitude of challenges.

External Triggers

The solution to managing difficult situations is learning how to confront them without drugs and alcohol. If you’re not sure how to confront these situations, contact us today. Over time, their mind craves the excess dopamine and reinforce drug use as a way to achieve that dopamine surge. Cravings are also a typical withdrawal symptom when people attempt to slow or quit using their substance of choice. Overconfidence is a common stumbling block in addiction recovery. Many people finish treatment under the mistaken impression that their addictions have been “cured”.

Internal and External Relapse Triggers

In addiction recovery, a trigger is any person, place, or event that surfaces the urge for someone to use in recovery. Triggers often vary in severity from intrusive thoughts, to an overwhelming anxious need to escape. For any addict, the feeling of needing to escape from anything and everything often triggers the individual to act out on his/her addiction. In regards to triggers in addiction recovery, there are internal and external triggers. A relapse trigger, whether internal or external, is something that sets off cravings in recovering individuals.

An internal trigger is something going on inside our minds or bodies that promotes the urge to relapse. Whereas external triggers are defined as people, places and things; internal triggers generally fall under hunger, anger, loneliness or fatigue. Internal triggers are extremely powerful and they are often much more difficult to deal with than external ones because you cannot always control the way you feel or the passing thoughts you think. You can avoid a certain situation or person, but you cannot just avoid feeling depressed or angry.

For instance, some studies suggest that approximately 21 percent of recovering addicts relapse in their second year of recovery, but just over nine percent relapse during years three, four, or five. For those who’ve completed five full years of addiction recovery, relapse rates are estimated to be as low as seven percent. After treatment, many struggle to cope with relapse triggers such as social, environmental, or emotional situations that reminds them of their drug or alcohol use. Although everyone’s triggers are unique to their experience, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 40 to 60 percent of individuals will relapse after recovery treatment. While not all triggers are the same, this statistic indicates that some categories of triggers are common to many people in recovery.

However, going to the gym when married to meet women and be noticed to achieve external validation is not. At this critical initial stage, it can be important to ensure that you continue certain treatment aspects, such as counseling and communicating with recovery experts. If you are newly in recovery, you may want to consider an outpatient program for your first few months into sobriety. If you don’t already have a trusted therapist, you may want to meet with several before finding one you feel comfortable with who meets your needs.

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