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5 Major Relapse Triggers and How to Avoid Them

5 Major Relapse Triggers and How to Avoid Them

It is common for individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction to experience a relapse in their recovery. Regardless of the treatment method, an addicted patient may experience relapse after initiating the treatment program. Knowing relapse triggers and having a recovery strategy is a perfect method for preventing relapse. The following are some of the major relapse triggers and how to handle them.


Stress is a major cause of relapse, since many people opt to abuse drugs to handle their stress. One method to handle this trigger is to examine your stress levels. Although you cannot exclude everyone or everything from your life, you can evade circumstances such as places, people, or things that lead to extreme stress.

Making changes in your priorities, lifestyle, or relationships can reduce stressful situations in your life. In addition, reducing stress minimizes the likelihood of experiencing a relapse.

Places or Individuals Connected to the Addictive Habit

Individuals who play a role in your addictive habit can be potential triggers for relapse, irrespective of whether or not they are still abusing drugs or drinking alcohol. Additionally, certain areas that remind you of your drug abuse habit can also trigger a relapse. Finally, a family member can also be a trigger, particularly if they make you feel vulnerable. For instance, if you are recovering from alcohol addiction and a group of drinking friends request you to go for a drink or see your workmates going out, you should have a specific response.

Challenging or Negative Emotions

Individuals suffering from drug or alcohol addiction require effective methods of managing, tolerating, and making sense of the negative feelings they encounter in their daily lives. Since drug abuse provides temporary relief from challenging emotions, there is a need to look for alternative methods.

It would help if you aimed to live comfortably with uncomfortable emotions and feelings. Although anyone can experience challenging or negative emotions, realizing how to deal with these emotions is the most crucial part. It will help if you view your emotions as a chance to grow and develop as you learn more about yourself and deal with your emotions without engaging in substance abuse.

Sensing or Sensing the Object of Your Addiction

Addiction reminders may trigger a relapse. For instance, sensing a cigarette smoke whiff and watching people as they have their drink in a restaurant or a bar are some of the common addiction reminders present you may encounter in your initial recovery stages. 

Falling back to addiction is common due to the familiarity of the habit. However, full recovery needs more than abstaining or quitting the habit. It involves developing a new and desirable life free from drugs or alcohol. 

Attending Celebrations

Positive events such as holidays, vacations, birthdays, or weddings can also trigger a relapse. A person may feel happy, confident, and in control when having a drink or smoking a cigarette. However, it may be challenging to keep the substance under control due to the desire to take more. Individuals struggling with drugs or alcohol addiction regularly lose their ability to realize when to stop. As a result, a single drink may turn to binge drinking.

Therefore, the best way to deal with these situations is to avoid events that may trigger you to resume your previous habits. If you must attend the event, you should resist the temptation to take a drink or use any substance. 

Identifying your triggers, creating a support network, and seeking help from a counselor or a therapist are all perfect mechanisms for preventing relapse. Of course, it would help if you took any necessary actions to prevent a relapse. However, it is never too late to seek addiction treatment if you experience a relapse.

Helpful Resources

Serenity At Summit

Everything for Recovery

New York State

Times Union

Next Wind Recovery


Image source: pixabay

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