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Relapse: The Most Common Triggers of All

Relapse: The Most Common Triggers of All


It’s often assumed that when the very best local drug rehab clinics have discharged a patient, the treatment process comes to an end.  In reality however, successfully completing a course of treatment or rehab represents only the first step in and ongoing journey towards freedom from drug addiction. While it’s not the kind of thing most of those going through the process would like to think about, relapse is surprisingly common. Which can be taken in one of two ways – you can either reside yourself to the fact that it is going to be difficult to avoid relapsing, or you can accept the fact that if you do relapse, it doesn’t for one moment represent the end of the road.

Still, it’s always preferable and beneficial to avoid relapse in the first place, which becomes much easier with ongoing professional support. Nevertheless, there will always be certain triggers that make any given individual more likely to relapse. Or at least, struggle to stay on the straight and narrow. Triggers vary significantly from one person to the next, but there are certain examples of universal triggers that have the potential to affect anyone going through the recovery process.

Avoiding relapse means acknowledging these triggers and working to keep them under control – the following representing the most common and potentially dangerous of all:

1 – Overconfidence

The first of all, while confidence plays a critical role in the recovery process from start to finish, there is such a thing as too much confidence. The reason being that when an individual falls into the trap of thinking that they’re 100% in the clear and never going to face the prospect of slipping back into old habits, this is precisely when they are most likely to do exactly that.  Good intentions go out of the window and are replaced with a sense of being able to do anything at any time and not pay the price. It’s one thing to take pride in your recovery and build self-confidence – it’s something else entirely to cross the line into overconfidence.

2 – Self-Pity

Right at the opposite end of the scale, self-pity can also be an extremely powerful relapse trigger. Rather than feeling over confidence in your abilities to stay away from drugs or alcohol, you instead reside yourself to the fact that you have no willpower, no confidence and absolutely no chance of success. As such, you see no reason why you shouldn’t simply accept relapse as an inevitability.  Self-pity represents something of a vicious circle which leads to a downward spiral that is very difficult to break, without plenty of support and perhaps professional intervention.

3 – Unrealistic Expectations

It’s also important to both enter and go through the recovery process as a whole with realistic expectations. One of the biggest problems with addiction recovery and the treatment process itself is the way in which no two cases are ever 100% identical. What works wonders for one may prove completely ineffective for another. Likewise, what takes just a week for one person to accomplish may take a year or even longer for someone else. Expectations must be tailored accordingly, in order to avoid expecting too much and falling into relapse.

4 – Poor Health

The addiction recovery process inherently means dealing with certain side effects and symptoms – some of which can be rather debilitating. For obvious reasons, it is during periods of poor health and wellbeing in general that many recovering addicts find themselves attempted to slip back into old habits. The reason being that as you feel just about as low as it gets already, you fall into the trap of thinking that relapse won’t make you feel any worse than you already do.

5 – Relationship Issues

If the individual in question is facing a relationship issue, which may have been caused by their addiction or otherwise, the likelihood of relapse increases significantly. Dealing with a relationship issues at the best of times can be incredibly difficult – dealing with them while going through the addiction recovery process represents a much bigger challenge.

6 – Other Substance Abuse

Last but not least, there will always be those who fall into the trap of assuming that just as long as they do not go back to the substance they were addicted to in the first place, other substances can be used to help with the recovery process.  One common example being those who quit alcohol getting into the habit of routinely using cannabis as an alternative.  The problem being that when you replace one dependency with another, you significantly limit your progress – or perhaps make absolutely no positive progress whatsoever.