What Are Internal Triggers Avoiding Relapse

When a dual diagnosis is apparent, mental health and addiction specialists must address both the addiction and mental illness in order to ensure a long, healthy and happy recovery. Unfortunately, even if you are experiencing no stress or negative emotions at all, the pleasure of the drug may still trigger an urge to consume. The urge to consume is not the same as an addiction’s craving; rather, it is simply a way to deal with the negative emotions or sensations that come with cravings. If you have been dealing with a negative thought or situation and you are suddenly craving a particular substance, you have likely found an internal trigger. If this trigger is strong enough to cause a desire to consume, then it is likely a drug dependency. When you take steps to get rid of this trigger, you can usually eliminate the cravings for the drug without having to go through the pain of withdrawal.

internal trigger examples

Trigger warnings are designed to warn trauma survivors about potentially disturbing content. These warnings originated in online forums for survivors of sexual trauma, where individuals would warn other readers about the upcoming content. For instance, the sound of fireworks can be a trigger for combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Or a certain type of dog might be a trigger for a person who was bitten as a child. Or perhaps you live with substance use disorder, where the smell of alcohol or a certain scene can trigger your symptoms.

Types of Addiction Relapse Triggers

A person with diabetes will often relapse due to poor eating behaviors, for example. They just have to reset, practice healthy eating and get their blood sugar under control with the help of their doctor. Scheduling can also get stressful, as patients in treatment or aftercare may think about skipping therapy or support group meetings to attend family events they consider obligatory. The holidays also represent a break in routine that can influence a person’s desire to use a substance. Therefore, it’s essential to develop coping methods that allow you to work through your triggers without resorting to drugs.

For example, do your fingers twitch when you’re about to be distracted? Do you get a flurry of butterflies in your stomach when you think about work when you’re with your kids? What does it feel like when the feelings crest and then subside? Bricker encourages staying with the feeling before acting on the impulse.


Triggers may seem to be everywhere, and you might want to isolate yourself to avoid them. If you do relapse because of your triggers, using substances can be deadly. You might go straight to the dose that you’re accustomed to, but your body can no longer handle the same levels of drugs.

Reminders of your addiction can trigger relapse during recovery. These, and countless other things, are prime examples of external triggers, and they are going to be largely unavoidable. If a person isn’t equipped with effective coping skills or neglects to use them to their full potential, the likelihood of acting on their urges increases. The last stage of relapse is the one most people think of first — returning to the use of drugs or alcohol. Negative emotions like sadness, guilt or anger are often core reasons why people begin abusing substances in the first place.

Jan Relapse Triggers : Internal vs. External

People who experienced trauma or who have a mental health condition are particularly vulnerable to triggers. But whether it’s a one-time event or a series of traumatic events, trauma affects each person differently. In fact, the same event could cause two people to respond completely differently. While one person might reach a point internal trigger examples of acceptance about an unsettling experience, the other person might develop PTSD. Apart from trauma, the term “trigger” is also used in other mental health contexts. A trigger can be anything that activates or worsens the symptoms of a mental health condition, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or substance use disorder.

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