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Common Relapse Triggers

Triggers are often internal or emotional reactions to external situations or environments. Triggers can occur at any time without warning. For this reason, they often catch people off guard. This can be devastating for someone who is trying to end addiction but falls prey to common relapse triggers that they may not be aware of.

One of the reasons why treatment for alcohol or drug addiction is vital to recovery is because a therapist can help a client identify the triggers and find a solution for overcoming them. Let’s take a look below at some common relapse triggers and how to avoid them.

High-Risk Situations

One of the biggest lies that a person in recovery tells themselves is that they can ‘handle’ a high-risk situation. These are situations where the threat of relapse is high. They often involve basic human conditions such as:

  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • Loneliness
  • Stress

When a person experiences high-risk situations, they either feel overconfident that they can deal with them on their own or their guard is down because they feel emotionally or physically drained.

How to overcome this: If you are serious about recovery, then the best way to avoid high-risk situations is to stick to a strict schedule and have an escape plan. Eat good meals, exercise, stick to a sleep routine, and be honest about what situations you can and cannot handle.

Emotional States

Emotions are normal and even healthy ways of dealing with different situations in your life. When emotions get off balance, however, you may react in destructive ways, i.e., drink or take drugs. Emotions range from feelings of deep depression to a state of euphoria. Both the ‘highs’ and the ‘lows’ can be triggers for relapse.

Like other triggers, emotions happen quickly and without our awareness. We don’t always know when we are angry, sad, depressed, anxious, excited, or even joyful. As a result, we can quickly get caught up in a situation and sabotage our recovery.

How to overcome this: The best way to overcome emotional triggers is through dialectical behavior therapy. During this type of therapy, your therapist teaches you how to identify your emotional triggers and react appropriately in certain situations. You can learn how to work through tough circumstances or even know when to walk away when your emotions get the best of you.


Isolation is one of the most common relapse triggers because isolation is a common symptom of addiction. For this reason, it is not good for you to spend too much time alone while you are recovering. The more isolated you are from other people, the more excuses you will make for drinking or taking drugs.

Furthermore, when you relapse, you may feel ashamed or embarrassed. This fuels your desire for isolation even more. Eventually, you will fall headlong back into addiction.

How to overcomes this: Get out, get moving, and get with other people. Spend time with friends, coworkers, family, your support group, and other people that will lift you and encourage you to keep going. Furthermore, force yourself to get out during those moments when you want to be alone for long periods.

Learn More About Common Relapse Triggers

At Recovery Ranch Tennessee, our goal is to give you the resources, education, and support you need to overcome your addiction. Learn more about common relapse triggers at our addiction treatment center in Tennessee. Call us at 1.844.876.7680 to get started with your treatment.

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