Triggers of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Drug and alcohol abuse can be brought on by specific triggers. There are universal triggers that affect all clients of substance abuse and addiction as well as personal, specific triggers for substance use. Identifying what these triggers are is paramount to maintaining a strong recovery from substance abuse and addiction and avoiding relapse.

Universal Triggers for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Stress and boredom are two major universal triggers for individuals suffering from drug and alcohol abuse. Why? Like people struggling with food or eating problems, we do these when we are stressed or bored without even realizing it. These triggers are so powerful that clients are even taught how to manage and minimize stress in rehabilitation programs via stress management techniques and they are taught how to find new, healthier interests in lifestyle counseling to stave away boredom and to bring on healthier mindsets.

Some effective ways to manage stress are exercising regularly, getting sufficient sleep, enjoying a healthy diet, practicing breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, meditating and keeping a journal.

Personal Triggers

Personal triggers for drug and alcohol abuse vary from individual to individual. These triggers often include specific people, specific places and specific emotions. Some examples of trigger people are individuals who sell substances, friends who abused substances with a individual in the past and people who have a history of mentally and/or physically abusing the individual. The places may include places known for abusing substances, places known to have drugs and alcohol, places of past traumatizing events and others. Emotions must be under control as unhealthy emotions can also quickly lead to drug and alcohol abuse. This is a significant focus of substance abuse and addiction programs.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Clients of drug and alcohol abuse rehab program create and use relapse prevention strategies for everyday living. These strategies are specific, step-by-step plans of action to avoid triggers for substance use. These strategies can include anything from turning down offers to go to parties, creating a regular exercise regimen, exploring new healthy activities and pastimes to meet people with similarly healthy and positive mindsets, avoiding specific neighborhoods or areas and more.

It’s important to avoid triggers as even the smallest amount of exposure to a trigger can send a client to relapse whether it be immediate or after some period of time.   It may sound impossible to avoid all of one’s triggers, and it is – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to minimize your exposure as much as possible.

How to Help

If someone you love has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, you can do your part to help him or her to avoid their triggers for substance use. You can help to create a healthy home environment with minimal stress, provide an avenue for counseling or mental health care at the first signs of anxiety, depression or any other mental health dilemmas, maintain an alcohol and drug-free home and help them with their relapse prevention strategies. It is also good to learn the signs of a potential relapse so you can help if their recovery begins to waver.