Triggers: What Are They?

triggers for addiction

A person who is addicted to drugs and alcohol can have many triggers. But what exactly are triggers? How can one avoid them? If you are looking for answers then this article will help shed light on that. Here’s what you need to know about triggers.

What is a trigger?

A trigger can almost be anything that an addicted person or in this case, their brain, associates with getting “high” as a reward. Triggers can happen anytime to anyone who is suffering from addiction or to those who have been into rehab. It could be stress related to work, family and even depression and anxiety. In some cases, a trigger could be also a location where they first had drugs and alcohol. Really, a trigger could be just about anything.

In some people, a trigger could be a phrase, a picture, medication or an event that could have induced cravings that eventually lead to relapse (especially if you have just got out of rehabilitation).

Cravings vs. Triggers

There is a difference between a trigger and a craving. By definition, cravings are actual urges or physical compulsions that happens when the neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain. This chemical is responsible for the emotions, pain, pleasure, and rewards that we feel. In some cases, cravings can be difficult to manage unless you know how to avoid them as much as possible because if you fail to do so, it is most likely that relapse will follow. That is why it is important to manage these triggers and cravings altogether.

6 Most Common Forms of Trigger and How to Avoid Them

If you are someone who was just released from rehab and is trying to stay sober, it is important for you to identify the triggers that could make you use drugs and alcohol again. By identifying these triggers, you can create a plan on how to avoid them and what is needed to do in case you encounter any of them. Here are the most common forms of trigger that you should know:

  1. Stress – the most common form of a trigger that leads to relapse is stress. Stress is very common and affects all people. Being a recovering addict, it is best that you avoid stressful situations and people as much as possible. Knowing how to manage stress can help you stay focused, relaxed and stress-free as you stay on the path to recovery.
  2. New job or promotion – starting a job or getting a promotion can be a stressful experience and if you are someone who is in recovery, it is important that your job does not jeopardize all the hard work you have done to stay sober. Working on a new job also means that you have a new role to partake. Getting a promotion means added responsibility too. This could mean that you will work with people you don’t get along with and may not even like the job at all – this could be a stressful situation. That being said, there is a risk that you may feel agitated and even angry about things you cannot handle. If this is the case and you feel like you are tempted to use drugs or alcohol to relieve the stress then you have to seek employment somewhere else. The job is not worth it if it means you will relapse.
  3. New relationships – if you enter a relationship with someone who isn’t aware of your needs as a recovering addict then it is a negative environment to be in. That is why it is not advised that you enter a new relationship right away while staying sober. You can make friends but unless you are familiar with someone and that someone knows about your past and your needs as you stay sober, then it is best to stay away from relationships that will not benefit you! A failed relationship can lead to heartbreak and heartbreak will lead to sadness, loneliness, and depression. This depression will only trigger you to use drugs and alcohol all over again. It’s a cycle that will not end, so if you are smart, do the math and avoid such situations.
  4. Your emotions – knowing how you feel can help you in various situations so you can avoid relapse. Keep in mind that you are the one who feels these positive and negative emotions. When you are happy, you don’t even think of using drugs or binge-drink at all but when you are sad, depressed, angry, or lonely, thinking of using drugs and alcohol to ease these emotions can pretty much trigger your relapse. So be in control of your emotions and reinforce positive emotions as much as you can to avoid using these substances. Meditation, doing yoga, and other forms of relaxation can help too.
  5. Underlying health problems – being sick can trigger the use of drugs and alcohol. If you are in constant pain and discomfort, it is likely that you will be using medications. This could trigger your drug use and can affect your mental well-being as well. Taking care of yourself and staying healthy is the best thing that you can do to avoid this situation.
  6. Isolation – if you are a recovering addict or alcohol user, it is best not to isolate yourself from other people. Getting involved with recovery groups like AA or Alcoholics Anonymous can help you assist in adjusting with your new life. Staying in touch with people who can help you and mingling with others is also beneficial. When you are staying sober, isolation could play a role in your relapse. Attending local support groups and getting a sponsor who can account for you are all part of your full recovery. Staying active may it be in sports, arts and other social gatherings can definitely help you big time.

Final Thoughts

Let’s face it, triggers can be a pain if you are a recovering addict. They are very common and almost everywhere. It’s like taking a step forward with a ball and chain around your feet. It’s hard to avoid them, isn’t it? But this is all you have to do – avoid them. Think of your future instead. Being addicted to drugs and alcohol is hard but would you rather stay in that phase of your life or move onwards? Do you really want to see yourself be destroyed by your addiction? If not, then do your best to avoid triggers. It’s a tough battle but with the right people to help and support you through it, you can live a sober life. You can do this, you can stay clean and live a happy life, if you really want to, so do your best at all times.