Relapse: Why it Happens and Common Triggers to Avoid

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After transitioning out of drug or alcohol rehab, you will be faced with different triggers that can interfere with your recovery. There’s no way to avoid every trigger, though it is important to cut out some. This way, you can use your energy to fight the triggers that you can’t escape. As you grow stronger in your recovery, you will get more comfortable managing your triggers.

How Often Does Relapse Occur? 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of people who are treated for a substance use disorder will relapse at some point. These rates are similar to those of other chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. 

While these numbers can be discouraging, it’s important to know that relapse does not mean failure. Addiction is treatable but not curable. Evidence-based therapies can help you manage your symptoms, but they will not end the addiction. 

Fortunately, not everyone relapses. But if you do, reach out to your doctor or treatment center right away. Admitting your slip up and getting help is the best way to address a relapse. With the proper modifications, you can get back on track with your recovery. 

Why Do People Relapse? 

There are many reasons why people relapse, including both internal and external triggers. Internal triggers are thoughts or emotions that make you want to use drugs or alcohol. External triggers are people, places, things, etc. that make you want to use substances. 

Because there are internal and external triggers all around you, it can be difficult to stay sober, especially when you’re new to sobriety and haven’t yet developed the necessary skills conducive to recovery.

Here are some of the most common factors that lead to relapse: 

  • Stress
  • Mental illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Boredom
  • Negative mindset
  • Lack of aftercare
  • Hanging with old friends

How to Manage Triggers in Addiction Recovery

Managing your triggers is something you will get better at over time. You’ll begin to learn what types of things trigger the desire to use and how to deal with these feelings. But you must remember, recovery is an ongoing process. You will always need to protect yourself from addiction, otherwise you might revert back to your old ways.

Here are some ways to effectively manage triggers in early recovery:

  • Choose the places and events you attend carefully
  • Avoid spending time with people who use drugs or alcohol 
  • Be open and honest about your feelings
  • Follow the aftercare plan your treatment center provided for you
  • Prioritize self-care: eat healthy, get enough rest and exercise daily
  • Start new traditions with sober friends and family
  • Attend your support groups and self-help groups (i.e., AA, NA)
  • Manage stress levels with stress reduction techniques

Extended Care for Long Lasting Recovery 

Wolf Creek Recovery offers various phases of treatment to help people kick their habit and sustain long-lasting recovery. Our Extended Care program, in particular, leads to improved outcomes for those who have trouble managing their triggers. Contact our caring, compassionate admission counselors today to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment program in Prescott AZ.