According to SAMHSA, in 2017, nearly 20 million Americans over the age of 12 met the criteria for a substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse disorders are chronic and progressive, meaning symptoms become worse the longer you struggle with addiction. Since symptoms require lifelong management, it is important to understand common addiction triggers during treatment and recovery to ensure that you can maintain your abstinence and sobriety.
Symptoms, such as cravings, can occur long after your last use. That makes completing adolescent addiction treatment essential to your sobriety because rehab teaches you how to identify and cope with things like stress, cravings, and anxiety to limit your risk of relapsing.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is a disease that causes you to compulsively use your substance of choice despite having a desire to quit and experiencing harmful consequences as a result of your drug use. Addiction begins with your first use and ends with psychological or physical dependency. Substances like opiates and stimulants force your brain to release more neurotransmitters than it should. For example, opiates cause your brain to release a rush of dopamine, which causes the pleasurable feelings you experience during intoxication.
However, when intoxication ends, your brain is left with a depletion of pleasurable neurotransmitters and craves more of your substance of choice to restore the supply of neurotransmitters. Your brain also associates your substance of choice with pleasure, which alters your brain chemistry. Your brain’s pleasure and reward center positively reinforce your substance use by releasing neurotransmitters when you use and restricting their release when you are sober.
Another complication of addiction is that your body can become physically dependent on your substance of choice to function. Examples of substances that can cause physical dependency include:
- Opiates, such as OxyContin and heroin
- Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin
When you develop a physical dependency, you experience withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop using your substance of choice. Withdrawal symptoms can even be life-threatening, which makes connecting with a treatment center imperative.
Common Addiction Triggers
Because addiction is a chronic condition, treatment teaches you how to manage common addiction triggers to prepare you for a life of sobriety. Common addiction triggers can include:
- Stress, depression, and anxiety
- Places you used to use or acquire your substance of choice
- People who use substances
- Major life changes
- Things that remind you of your substance of choice
Your brain associates people, places, and things that remind you of your substance of choice with pleasure. When you are exposed to common addiction triggers, it causes your brain to crave your substance of choice. Triggers are unique to the individual. However, most common addiction triggers involve negative emotions, high-risk environments, and inadequate coping skills. Learning how to handle negative emotions is an important part of treatment because, during addiction, it is common to rely on your substance of choice to cope with things like conflict, depression, and anxiety.
Common addiction triggers are identified during treatment, and your treatment team will help you create a relapse prevention plan. Preparing for life during recovery ensures that you understand how to address common addiction triggers. During treatment, you will also have the opportunity to address underlying issues related to your addiction. If you have a co-occurring disorder, the treatment ensures both your mental health and addiction are treated, which improves recovery outcomes.
Accepting that you are struggling with addiction is the first step in achieving recovery. Recovering from addiction typically requires treatment because it takes time for your body and brain to heal. Your brain has to re-learn how to properly release neurotransmitters while your body must learn how to function without your substance of choice. Substance abuse treatment ensures that you have a safe and supportive environment to focus on your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing and are prepared to cope with common addiction triggers. To find out more about our programs, contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today at 866.300.5275.