Roughly 46 million Americans suffered from some kind of substance use disorder in 2021. Addiction comes in many forms and is widespread, and maintaining sobriety is a challenge. The challenge is all the more difficult when faced with an addiction trigger. Learn how to identify and cope with addiction triggers.
What is an Addiction Trigger?
A trigger is a person, place, thing, or situation that causes a response from an individual. Triggers are not considered positive, and they often can cause stress and even relapse. Some people experiencing a trigger have panic attacks, while others dissociate, and when it comes to an addiction trigger, these will often lead you back to your drug or substance of choice.
Everyone has different addiction triggers, and learning to identify those triggers is a meaningful step toward recovery. Sometimes, a trigger is unavoidable, so it’s also vital to learn how to cope with your addiction trigger.
Warning Signs of Triggers
Not everyone knows how to identify triggers in their lives. It’s challenging if these triggers are a regular part of your everyday life, such as bills, your job, or even your interpersonal relationships. On top of that, triggers aren’t easily identified based on your reaction. Some people will have a panic attack in response to emotional triggers; others will find themselves craving something like alcohol but otherwise be mentally stable.
You may experience physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate, sweating, or feeling nauseous. Intrusive thoughts that you usually avoid thinking about may pop into your head. In a worst-case scenario, you may have a memory flashback to a more stressful time.
How you identify an addiction trigger will also depend on how it pushes you towards your substance or drug of choice. In a more extreme case, you may crave alcohol to escape from your feelings of inadequacy or to soften your anxieties; this means that your drive to consume is based on an emotional response. Meanwhile, others find themselves automatically using drugs when they’re around certain friends or acquaintances; this kind of trigger is less of an emotional one and more of a social reflex.
Common Types of Triggers
A crucial part of identifying your triggers and improving your addiction treatment is knowing some of the most common types of triggers. Once you’ve cut these out of your life, you can then narrow down other aspects that may push you toward your addiction. For example, one of the main concerns for anyone facing alcoholism is that they often need to avoid places like bars or other social settings where drinking is accepted and even expected. Being in close proximity to the various sights and smells associated with alcohol and being able to access alcohol can be more than most people in recovery can handle.
Emotional triggers like interactions with abusive partners or family members can also drive someone to drug use. Isolating yourself from these harmful individuals helps, but you may also need to limit access to any kind of information related to them.
How Triggers Affect Addiction Recovery
Triggers are like catalysts for both your emotional and physical reactions. They can have a significant impact on your addiction recovery by provoking you to do something you may not want to. If you have an alcohol use disorder, then bottling up your emotions or focusing on other people’s problems may trigger a relapse. Poor sleeping habits may also encourage drinking as a way to try and relax.
The key is to find an addiction recovery program that considers these factors. Talking to a therapist helps address emotions that would otherwise control you. Staying away from negative influences in your life limits their effect on you and your choices. Even if a trigger does not drive you to use or drink, it can still set you back on your path to recovery.
How to Prevent Relapse
Knowing your triggers isn’t always going to be enough to prevent a relapse. Many people try their hardest to avoid triggers, but they often stumble upon them anyway. You can’t control how the world operates around you, but you can control how you respond to the world around you. A professional treatment facility can control your surroundings. Being in an environment with a routine and professionals to discuss your struggles and eliminate outside forces that can derail your progress can help you on your journey to recovery.
Addiction treatment centers also introduce you to specialized therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT aims to retrain your negative thinking patterns into more positive ones. Instead of responding to a trigger by running back to your drug of choice, you can instead choose to talk with a friend or family member. If a mental health diagnosis triggers your drug use, you can always find medications that can level out your emotional response so you won’t get the same highs or lows that drive you to substance abuse.
Take Control of Your Recovery Journey
An addiction trigger isn’t something you need to let control your life. With the right kind of guidance and therapy, you can learn how to deal with triggers in a healthy way that doesn’t involve your addiction. Even better, you may eventually get to the point where they don’t even count as triggers anymore.
Comprehensive Wellness Centers provide the mental health support you need during recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our care programs and how they can help you.