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Internal vs. External Relapse Triggers

Understanding Addiction Relapse Triggers

Whether your triggers are emotional distress or a specific situation, it is essential that you know what compels you to use when trying to lead a life of sobriety. Understanding what triggers you to relapse and having a plan in place for these triggers are your first steps toward prevention.

What is Relapse?

For those struggling with substance abuse and addiction, it isn’t uncommon for the affected person to return to alcohol or drug use. This return to their substance of choice is called relapsing. About 40-60% of those struggling with addiction relapse following treatment.

What is a Trigger?

A trigger is social, psychological, and emotional situations and events that compel an addicted person to seek their substance of choice, eventually leading them to relapse. When an addicted person uses drugs or alcohol for a prolonged period of time, it changes the brain—eventually associating certain stimuli with the desire to drink or do drugs.

While many triggers can be negative experiences, it is important to note that positive events can trigger relapsing as well.

External Triggers

External triggers are environmental events and situations that make you want to use drugs or drink alcohol. This can be anything from certain social situations, responsibilities, and even specific places that trigger your desire to use again.

Some of the most common external triggers in recovery include:

  • Stressful or uncomfortable situations
  • Being around people who elevate your stress levels
  • Being around other people who drink or do drugs
  • Social events like concerts, parties, going out to dinner
  • Financial troubles
  • Home and work responsibilities
  • Certain objects that remind you of using

Internal Triggers

Internal triggers on the other hand are thoughts and feelings that make you crave drugs or alcohol. Though emotional lows are commonly associated with substance abuse and relapsing, positive feelings can also compel addicted persons to seek out their drug of choice.

Some of the most common internal triggers in recovery include:

  • Distressing emotions like anxiety and depression
  • Feelings that you want to avoid
  • Wanting to feel “normal”
  • Celebrating positive life events
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Overconfidence in sobriety

What are Common Relapse Triggers?

  • Stress
  • People or places that were connected to the addiction
  • Negative or challenging emotions
  • Seeing or sensing the thing you are addicted to

Seeking Help for Addiction at North Georgia Recovery Center

The road to recovery starts with taking the first step. Let us walk alongside you on the path to sobriety and wellness. When you choose to get treatment at North Georgia Recovery Center, you can rest assured knowing that you will be treated by licensed therapists in our state-of-the-art facilities. Every one of our team members is certified to address and effectively treat the issues that come along with addiction.

To schedule your free consultation with our team, call (678) 940-7873 or contact us online today.