Internal vs External Relapse Triggers

Clients are encouraged to identify whether they are non-users or denied users. A denied user is in chronic mental relapse and at high-risk for future relapse. Clinical experience has shown that everyone in early recovery is a denied user. The goal is to help individuals move from denied users to non-users.

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Normal Feelings That Trigger Relapse

Triggers are internal and external cues that cause a person in recovery to crave drugs and eventually relapse. Patients need to understand the nature of triggers before they can begin proper treatment. Learning how to cope with triggers and thoughts of substances can help the individual successfully reintegrate into society.

What does high cortisol feel like?

As the body's primary stress hormone, cortisol surges when we perceive danger, and causes all the symptoms we associate with “fight or flight”—increased blood pressure and heart rate, muscle tension, and the digestive system slamming to a halt, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

There are other self-help groups, including Women for Sobriety, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, Smart Recovery, and Caduceus groups for health professionals. It has been shown that the way to get the most out of 12-step groups is to attend meetings regularly, have a sponsor, read 12-step materials, and have a goal of abstinence . The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. If you believe you have a medical emergency, you should immediately call 911. Animations – epileptic users can stop all running animations with the click of a button.


You may not be able to walk that path for them, but you can help them stick to it—and help guide them back to it if they should lose their way. We tend to want to believe recovery is permanent once it’s achieved.

Relinquishing control or clinging to the belief they have control over people, places, and things is another trait many substance users have in common. Being a professional internal triggers victim with the blame thrower on full blast does not help in terms of avoiding relapse. How individuals deal with setbacks plays a major role in recovery.

Get Help with Avoiding Triggers and Alcohol Relapse

It is essential to keep in mind that while many triggers result from negative events or experiences, positive events or experiences can also trigger a relapse. Objects like syringes, wine glasses, pill bottles, or pipes may be difficult for you to look at. These objects may remind you of your previous use and can cause you to linger on thoughts of using drugs or alcohol with old buddies or alone at your home. If you do relapse because of your triggers, using substances can be deadly.

  • The brain of a former addict registers such things and relates them to the same environment involved in drug-seeking behavior.
  • More broadly speaking, I believe that recovering individuals need to learn to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • If you have managed to acquire some sober time, you are aware that the journey is full of productive, easy sailing days as well as days when you feel you can barely make it through.
  • Recovering individuals are often overwhelmed by the idea of change.
  • Communication techniques and family dynamics will improve through the family therapy process.