We all love having stuff that we crave; it’s one of the many things that makes us human. However, if you’re recovering from a substance use disorder, your cravings will sink you and ruin your life and relationships.
Drug-related cravings are triggered by emotions and memories associated with substance use. You may have to deal with cravings for drugs and alcohol due to unavoidable triggers, such as a scene in a movie showing someone using drugs or drinking, but identifying these triggers and making plans to deal with them will help you cope.
Therefore, to prevent relapse, it is crucial to understand what might cause you to relapse and to implement a strategy to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Understanding what drives your cravings is the first step to finding a solution for them.
Cravings: What Are They?
We must clear up a common misconception: cravings do not indicate a desire to return to drugs.
The urge to indulge in cravings is common, not morally wrong, and often uncontrollable. Most, if not all, individuals in recovery from substance use disorders experience cravings, just like dieters who want a piece of chocolate cake.
They can make avoiding relapse more difficult if not handled properly.
According to experts at delphihealthgroup.com, cravings can be categorized into two basic types:
- Cravings that manifest in your body as physical responses. It can make your stomach turn, chest tighten, and muscles ache.
- Cravings that cause mental distress. You may feel cravings in your thoughts or emotions, such as “I need it now” and “I can’t stop thinking about it.”
Drug use and substance abuse alter the neurochemistry of the brain. During recovery, when you experience a craving, you’re taken back to the time of substance use that pleased you, and your brain doesn’t consider all the ways it caused harm.
Therefore, the only way to avoid and overcome these cravings is to pinpoint the triggers that cause them.
Addiction Triggers – What Are They?
Triggers are emotional, environmental, or social events that evoke past drug or alcohol use memories. These memories can trigger strong feelings that have the effect of triggering a craving for a substance.
Although triggers do not necessarily lead to relapse, they make it more difficult to resist the sudden cravings they produce.
Relapse triggers can be categorized into multiple groups, which fall into various categories. For example, triggers can be environmental, emotional, or mental and often fall under more than one category.
So, to help you in recognizing them and overcome them, we’re going to talk about some of the most common ones:
Places or People Associated With Addiction
Participants in your addiction are likely to trigger a relapse, regardless of whether they drink, smoke, or use drugs. Additionally, you may be triggered by certain places that evoke memories of your addiction.
You may even find that your family members are triggers, particularly if they make you feel vulnerable and child-like.
You should have effective ways to deal with your feelings when reminded of your addiction. It might be helpful to have a specific response ready if, for example, you’re an alcoholic and your drinking buddies ask you to go out, or you see people from work going to happy hour.
Additionally, having a healthy activity to do instead could be helpful such as going for a run, watching a movie, going out to dinner, or reading a good book.
Stress is the leading cause of relapse. People suffering from addiction often seek solace through their preferred substance or activity.
The desire to use the substance, alcohol or addictive activity increases during stressful situations, especially if the substance, activity, or activity was the person’s primary coping mechanism.
Assessing how much stress you’re experiencing can prepare you for this trigger. Although you can’t eliminate all stress from your life, you can avoid situations that cause extreme anxiety.
Therefore, you may find it beneficial to write down all the people, places, and things that cause you excessive stress.
It is possible to feel happy, in control, and confident that you can handle one drink, one cigarette, or one flirtation with an appealing stranger. You can also be triggered by happy occasions, such as birthdays and holidays. But can you control yourself?
Those struggling with addiction often lose the ability to know when to stop. As a result, an occasional drink can become a binge. Perhaps buying one unnecessarily expensive pair of shoes will lead to an impulse purchase.
If you are at risk of relapsing, having a buddy can help. Whenever you begin to relapse, have someone you trust and persuade you kindly but firmly to stop what you’re doing.
A counselor, support network, and recognizing triggers are valuable tools in preventing relapses. Make every effort to protect yourself, but don’t berate yourself if you slip.
Relapse does not mean you have failed in your recovery. The path to recovery is new and unfamiliar to you. Thus, your defenses against specific triggers should become more robust with continued therapy and support.
So, believe in yourself and trust us; you’ll recover soon and resume your normal life again.