Relapse Triggers : Internal vs External

Relapse Triggers : Internal vs External

It is important to practice self-care by engaging in healthy activities such as exercise and meditation to reduce the risk of relapse due to emotional addiction triggers. Building a solid support system with friends and family who understand your recovery journey is also beneficial. Emotions that act as internal triggers can be negative, positive, or neutral. When it comes down to situations, everyone handles adversity differently. While some people manage difficult situations with ease, people in recovery can easily slip back into old habits when dealing with new situations. For instance, the death of a loved one can easily trigger a relapse in a recovering addict.

The holidays also represent a break in routine that can influence a person’s desire to use a substance. Once I got clean, I would find myself confronted with negative emotions that I would so often use alcohol to get away from. When problems arose within my family or at work , I felt the same negative emotions as before, only this time I no longer had the alcohol to cope. It was a whole new territory for me to have to deal with emotions instead of trying to escape them. Sadness, depression, and anger can lead to relapse just as much as extreme happiness can.

The importance of Identifying Addiction Triggers in Recovery

If you find yourself stuck thinking about drugs or alcohol, it’s time to get your support system involved. Talk to a counselor, supportive friend or your sponsor to help remind you why you’ve chosen recovery. Both chronic and acute stress increase the risk of drug addiction and may be the most common triggers for relapse. Stress is a part of daily life for most people, whether it’s being late to work in the morning or tense relations with a loved one. Health problems, increased responsibility and other events can result in stress that triggers drug cravings. There are many categories of addiction relapse triggers, and they fall into multiple groups.

  • Triggers produce the strong cravings and powerful urges that frequently result in relapse.
  • You cannot manage triggers if you do not know you are being triggered.
  • For example, a certain smell might remind someone of a traumatic experience and smelling that scent again later can trigger emotions.
  • Almost everything a person encounters in their daily life can be a trigger.
  • They might include certain styles of music or specific songs, or the taste of a drug.

They can be emotional, environmental or mental, and often a trigger falls into multiple categories. These are 10 of the most common triggers in addiction recovery, along with quick tips on how to avoid them. Some people experience a whirlwind of emotions when seeing old friends and loved ones, which can trigger the desire to have a drink. Other people may become so stressed out by the push to perform at school or work that they are tempted by the feelings produced by stimulants. Expecting triggers and planning to cope with them effectively is the best way to defend against addiction relapse. Individuals with problematic triggers may not know the cause and can benefit from therapy.

Additional resources and references for readers interested in learning more about Internal Triggers:

A relapse may consist of one single use followed by a realization of the mistake, while others may last any length of time. Reach out to us today by filling out the contact form below with your name, contact information, and internal vs external triggers a brief message about your recovery journey. If your story is chosen, a member of our team will reach out to you. Relay is a digital support group app that matches you to a team of peers to stay connected and accountable.

internal vs external triggers

You not only have to identify what triggers you, but you have to have plans in place when you are faced with situations that threaten your recovery. By choosing the path of recovery, you realize that your body and mind will struggle as you work to stay sober. This is because the brain and body have found their new “normal” while under the influence of drugs.


It is important to recognize these emotional triggers and manage them appropriately. Otherwise, it could lead someone down a path of substance abuse without even realizing what has happened. Emotional triggers are emotional states that can lead to relapse in recovery. These emotional states can range from anger, sadness, and loneliness to boredom or stress. Experiencing strong emotions such as anger, sadness, or joy can also act as a reminder or increase the urge to use. Understanding relapse triggers and coping with cravings is essential in maintaining sobriety and developing better habits.

internal vs external triggers

There are common triggers that can lead to frustration, broken relationships, depression, isolation, and in some cases, suicide. Triggers can become a problem if they are frequent, and if one is having difficulty coping because of them. For example, a child who grew up in an abusive household may feel anxious when people argue or fight.

Emotions like anger, guilt, irritability, and low self-esteem can surface when individuals are triggered, spiraling into various behaviors and compulsions. Unfortunately, the nature of emotional or mental triggers can run very deep and can be traumatizing. Some can push individuals to adopt unhealthy ways of coping, such as self-harm, harm to others, and substance abuse. Triggers can either be positive or negative, although negative triggers can have the most damaging effects.

What is triggering vs activating?

Your heart is racing, your chest is tight, and your body is tense. That is an activating response, it's based on current experience. Triggered is a little bit different. When you are truly triggered, you become activated, but there is an association to a past event.

Of course, the world outside of rehab presents many challenges, but rehab can emphasize the notion that recovery is a long-term process full of temporary setbacks. That being said, it takes time for your brain to return to “normal” after repeated or chronic substance use. Cravings will gradually become less intense in frequency and duration the longer you stay abstinent from substances. Internal triggers have the potential to be used in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, education, and finance. How you respond to trauma can be affected by your age when it happened, mental health state, access to a support network or cultural and religious beliefs. Engaging in physical activity such as jogging or going for a walk can be beneficial for releasing tension and clearing the mind.

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