Coping with an addiction or substance use disorder is an uphill battle.
During recovery, it is normal for you to experience a craving, as it can be the direct result of addiction triggers. It’s a common misconception that addiction cravings and triggers are the same when in reality they are not.
We’ve put together some information to help you understand what addiction cravings and triggers are. We’ll show you how they differ from each other. And we will also cover ways to avoid relapsing when you experience cravings.
What Are Triggers?
A trigger is what causes you to have a craving. There are two types of triggers. They are external and internal.
External triggers can be a person or a place. It can be an event or situation, that causes you to have the urge to use. Internal triggers are your emotions or your thoughts. An internal trigger reminds you of the feelings you had when using drugs or alcohol.
What Is a Craving?
A craving involves the urge or desire to use drugs or alcohol. Cravings can manifest in many different ways as they are activated by triggers.
Cravings can start in your thoughts. You may be thinking about using or giving in to your urges. Cravings can affect you in a physical sense too.
They can cause you to sweat or get your heart racing. For example, let’s say you smell pizza from a pizza parlor you visited while you were high. The trigger would be the smell which would result in your craving.
Cravings can also cause emotional responses such as feeling anxious, nervous, or irritable. While cravings do come and go it doesn’t mean that you want to use or that you will relapse. Cravings on average last about ten to fifteen minutes. The goal is to not act on your cravings.
How Are They Different?
The main way that triggers and cravings differ are cravings are always temporary while triggers aren’t. For instance, if family dysfunction is a trigger for you but you live at home, you may not always be able to avoid it.
Also, cravings can occur without a trigger. Addiction has lingering effects on the brain. Once the dependency is established, “the feel-good” chemicals in your brain can still influence a craving. Even if you have been sober for a while.
Ways To Avoid Relapse
Because triggers cause cravings you want to identify your addiction triggers. Finding healthy ways to cope will allow you to know how to handle your cravings. Once you know what your triggers are you can create a plan to avoid them.
You can avoid relapse by finding healthy activities. You want to do things that keep you mentally focused on a life of sobriety. You can also find ways to disrupt the triggers that can’t necessarily be avoided.
We’re Here To Help
The road to sobriety doesn’t have to be one you go on alone, and a craving doesn’t have to derail your progress. If you need assistance, we can help.
Contact us today and start the process of living a sober healthy life.