What Are Relapse Triggers?
The feelings, experiences, people, situations and other things within someone’s environment that causes them to crave drugs or alcohol and makes them vulnerable for relapse are called triggers. Relapse triggers can be internal (thoughts or emotions an individual has before using) or external (people, places and other environmental factors associated with using). It is important to know the early warning signs and triggers of relapse in order to avoid it.
A person in recovery might not relapse the first few times they walk past a bar, drive through a neighborhood where they used to buy drugs or have a stressful week of work – but these can plant the seed of relapse and cause them to gradually fall back into that old lifestyle. That’s why identifying your physical and mental relapse triggers and learning how to manage them is so important to maintaining sobriety.
While no two individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction are exactly alike, there are many common triggers that every person in recovery should be aware of. Some of the most common relapse triggers include:
- Stress and fatigue, which may be caused by work, family issues, personal relationships, illness and more
- Negative emotions, such as anger, sadness, guilt and insecurity may cause emotional relapse.
- Positive emotions and times of celebration, such as overconfidence, getting a promotion, holidays, birthdays, etc.
- Boredom, loneliness, and social isolation
- Mental illness, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD
- Physical illness, including injuries or surgeries that may require prescription painkillers
- Peer and social pressure, such as hanging around old associates you used to drink/do drugs with, going to parties where drugs and alcohol are available, hanging out at a bar, etc.
Working with our therapists and your relapse prevention group will help you identify all of the potential triggers you may face and properly address the symptoms of your addiction.
Coping Skills to Prevent Relapse
After learning how to recognize triggers and the signs of relapse, the next step is to develop coping techniques, use relapse prevention tools and come up with problem solving skills to deal with the feelings and situations that make you vulnerable to relapse. These practices should be implemented into your everyday routine to help reduce the risk of cravings and improve your overall wellness. Some common coping skills and relapse prevention strategies include:
- Self-care, which includes a healthy diet, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising daily, getting involved in activities and hobbies, etc.
- Meditation; being able to practice mindfulness-based relapse prevention, become more self-aware and calm, increase focus and awareness, etc.
- Grounding techniques, especially to help deal with stress and anxiety
- Joining a support group or attending a SMART meeting
- Reminding yourself how miserable you were before substance abuse treatment and how good you feel during the recovery process.
- Calling a close family member or friend, or contacting the addiction treatment center you just left
Our team will teach you these relapse prevention skills and techniques, as well as provide additional support resources. We’ll help you practice these coping methods and integrate them into your daily life through one-on-one therapy, relapse prevention groups, yoga, guided meditation, fitness training, healthy coping skills and more.
Relapse Prevention and Holistic Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
Many people who struggle with substance abuse issues believe that relapse is inevitable, especially in early recovery stages, but it doesn’t have to be. Receiving well-rounded treatment that detoxes your body from alcohol and drugs, addresses mental health conditions and past trauma, and teaches you how to manage cravings to prevent relapse and stress is the key to long-term recovery.
At Ranch Creek Recovery, our team of alcohol and drug abuse treatment experts will better prepare you for the challenges ahead by educating you on addiction and creating an individualized relapse prevention plan. Through relapse prevention support groups and holistic therapies, we’ll help you get clean and forge a thriving, fulfilling future. Contact us today or call us at (877) 293-8607 to get started.