The decision for recovery is life-changing and positive, but it’s not easy. One of the obstacles to recovery from addiction is the social, emotional, and environmental cues that make us feel like using certain drugs again. These cues are commonly called triggers.
This could include seeing an old friend, being in a certain room, or feeling sad. Triggers are common in those who suffer from addiction and are to be expected.
But there are ways to combat this stimulus/response experience. This guide will help you learn how to recognize addiction triggers – in yourself or for a loved one.
(Do you need help approaching a loved one for addiction? We have some advice.)
Recognize the Types of Triggers
It’s not uncommon for people to relapse during recovery from illegal drug use. Often, this relapse is due to triggers. If you’re interested in other types of treatment of addiction, then learn about it here.
According to NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, triggers commonly fall into two categories: stress triggers from previous drug experiences and the actual exposure to the drug.
If you understand what triggers usually look like, this will help you better recognize your own triggers as well. So, here’s a list of common triggers for teen drug use:
- Being around the substance itself
- Seeing other people use the substance
- Contact with people, place, or actions associated with the substance
- Emotions like stress, tiredness, frustration or elation and excitement
- Physical feelings like being sick, shaky, or tense
Identify the Addiction Triggers
Once you have a good understanding of common triggers, you can begin to understand your own. This is not easy to do.
It’s best to look for cravings. Cravings are not necessarily aimed at using the substance, but rather uncontrollable urges. You can identify these urges by recognizing physical or psychological symptoms in yourself.
Physical symptoms are a response in your body. It includes tensions, tightening of the stomach, or muscle aches. Psychological symptoms are uncontrollable thoughts or emotions (“I need it now” or “I feel overwhelmed”).
Managing and Preventing Triggers
Now you know the common triggers that occur, and how to identify your cravings. This helps you better understand which moments you need more energy to manage your cravings.
The best way to manage triggers is to avoid them. However, this is not always possible. That’s why it’s best to have a set of skills that can help you at the moment. Typically, these skills are a distraction and prevent the trigger from causing a craving.
When triggers occur, try these management skills below:
- Engage in a distracting activity (e.g. play game, clean the house)
- Call a friend or loved one
- Remove yourself from the situation
- Challenge your thoughts out loud
Treatment For Addiction
Identifying and managing addiction triggers is a great step in recovery. Even with all the effort and planning, however, there may be times when relapse occurs. This is not a failure. Rather, it’s an opportunity to see that early recovery is fragile. This journey will take immense focus and support.
Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about starting (and staying) on the journey to recovery.