When someone returns to everyday life after completing treatment, they are most vulnerable. Understanding common triggers for relapse can help a client identify their triggers and how to handle them. A relapse trigger reminds a person of their past substance abuse or increases their urge to use drugs or alcohol. At Rise Above Treatment, we provide our clients with a relapse prevention plan where they learn a list of triggers for relapse and determine their triggers for addiction.
10 Triggers for Relapse
Below is a list of triggers for relapse:
- Feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT) – These conditions can increase stress levels and decrease a person’s ability to handle a challenging situation. When someone is dealing with any of these feelings, they may become more impulsive, which can urge them to drink or use drugs.
- Stress – Everyday stress from work, home life, or financial worries is one of the most common triggers for addiction relapse. Learning to manage stress is crucial for maintaining lasting recovery.
- Overconfidence – When people feel good about their recovery progress, they may begin to feel overconfident in their successes and feel they have cured their addiction. They may believe they no longer have to worry about triggers for relapse and tell themselves they can drink or take drugs every once in a while.
- Physical illness – Struggling with a physical illness is among the list of triggers for relapse because it can increase stress or feelings of fear. In addition, if a person in recovery is prescribed medication, it can trigger addiction.
- Relationship problems – Conflict in personal relationships can lead to stress and negative feelings. A person can become impulsive and turn to substances to cope with feelings of loneliness or guilt.
- Social situations where substances are available – Social gatherings like birthday parties or work functions are one of the common triggers for alcohol relapse. Alcohol can be available, and people around you may be drinking.
- Times of celebration – Things like a job promotion or engagement are common triggers for alcohol relapse. A person in recovery may feel the urge to drink to celebrate.
- Feelings of boredom – Times of boredom can cause a person in recovery to lose sight of their progress and look back on their substance abuse.
- Poor self-care – Neglecting your mental health can trigger addiction relapse. A person in recovery may seek drugs or alcohol to cope with the side effects of poor mental health.
- Emotional overload – When someone in recovery experiences intense negative feelings, they can use substances to cope. During intensely positive emotions, a person can seek drugs or alcohol to maintain their good mood.
If you believe your sobriety is in jeopardy because of some of these triggers, reach out to Rise Above Treatment for more information about how to handle them.
How to Handle Triggers
Prioritizing things like eating regularly, sleeping well, connecting with friends and loved ones, and learning to manage negative feelings can be useful in handling internal triggers for relapse like HALT. Healthy coping strategies such as exercising, breathing exercises, and meditating are important for handling stress. To handle overconfidence, one of the internal triggers for relapse, clients must remember that addiction is a chronic illness that does not go away no matter how long you have been in recovery. When dealing with physical illness, it is crucial to be honest with your doctor about your recovery so they can prescribe non-addictive prescription drug alternatives. To handle relationship problems as triggers for relapse, a person can learn, with the help of a counselor, how to communicate effectively with their friends, family, and loved ones.
It can be helpful to manage social gatherings by attending dry gatherings, attending with sober friends, or leaving before people start drinking. Creating a plan for how to celebrate positive life events without drugs and alcohol can also help prevent relapse. Speaking with a counselor and making a plan to deal with boredom can also help prevent a relapse. Staying busy with hobbies and finding new activities you enjoy can also be effective. Prioritizing your mental health by spending time doing things you enjoy, relaxing, and meeting with a counselor can help you improve your self-care. Attending therapy and counseling can help clients learn healthy coping mechanisms to manage their feelings and emotions without substances.
Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan at Rise Above Treatment
Located in Murrietta, California, Rise Above Treatment provides quality care and support for California residents struggling with addiction. Contact Rise Above Treatment at (877) 641-0717 to learn more about our relapse prevention plan program.