Next to a drug overdose, a relapse event can be a recovering addict's worst nightmare. In fact, relapsing and overdose are sides of the same coin. These relapse events are typically initiated by addiction triggers such as memories of people, places or things. Addiction triggers reactivate the cravings or desire to use drugs again. This phenomena is a result of significant changes that occur in the brain during the development of an addiction. Drug use has a tremendous impact on the pleasure sensors and reward systems in the brain. Precursors to the euphoric event such as where drug use occurs, the sight, scents and even sounds associated with substance abuse can become wired into the brain as addiction triggers.
The good news, however, is that addiction triggers are identifiable. They can be viewed as warning signals that indicate the onset of a relapse. However, in order to use them in a positive way, it is important that those in recovery have a good understanding of their unique triggers and the techniques to overcome them.
1. Overconfidence – Those in recovery for a year of more typically fall prey to this trigger. This usually occurs because the person in recovery is underestimating the power of drugs and alcohol to lure them back in. This addiction trigger lulls you into a false assumption that you are back in control. These overconfident feelings may cause the recovering addict to indulge in occasional drug use or believe it is okay to resume recreational drinking with friends. It is important to recognize that overconfidence is a powerful trigger that can plunge you into a full blown relapse.
2. Loss – The loss of a loved one, a significant relationship or a job is a common trigger that typically drive people back into addiction. Loss creates a vacuum or feelings of emptiness and longing that people find difficult to handle without help. Memories of euphoria produced by drugs and alcohol too often suggest the type of quick fix that can be hard to resist. This trigger can be overcome by identifying with the use of relapse prevention tools that provide various alternate ways of dealing with the pain of loss.
3. Celebration – The excitement of a marriage proposal, a job promotion or even a new home is cause for celebration. Celebratory events is a common trigger for some who segued into drug or alcohol use during a similar times in their lives.
4. Mental Imbalance – When people in recovery are prone to depression or other mental imbalances they are constantly at risk of a relapse. Mood swings whether highs or lows are triggers that should not be taken lightly. These are particularly worrisome because of the tendency to overdose or to commit suicide if a relapse occurs. People who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse concurrently need dual diagnosis treatment and relapse prevention training specific to their condition to help them to sustain long term sobriety.
5. Finances – Financial setbacks create high levels of stress and feelings of hopelessness. Identifying a financial reversal as an addiction trigger can thwart the downswing of emotions that drive people to revert to drug use as a coping mechanism.
6. Chronic Pain – Illness that produce chronic pain are triggers can lead to prescription drug abuse after recovery. Chronic pain can be debilitating and cause people to feel justified in overmedicating to alleviate mental and physical suffering.
7. Loneliness – People often lose significant friendships when they stop using drugs and alcohol. If new bonds are not formed, recovering addicts can find themselves spending a lot of a time alone. Isolation can be an addiction trigger especially for those who mostly used drugs or drank in secret.
Getting past addiction triggers involves awareness, education and training. Relapse prevention training provided at Drug Rehab Centers Shreveport help patients to identify the triggers that are specific to them. Education and training teach important skills and techniques that return the focus to sobriety rather than cravings. Patients at our facility build strong support systems. They also learn how to identify and overcome addiction triggers through relapse prevention training to enable long term sobriety.
If your or a loved one is in recovery and are concerned about relapsing, give Drug Treatment Centers Shreveport a call today at (318) 550-3059.