Recognizing Drug Cravings and Triggers During Aftercare
Being prepared for the outside world after recovery treatment is crucial to recovery success. Staying informed, learning about oneself, and receiving support after rehab are all necessary steps to remaining sober. Obtaining sobriety is not solely abstaining from drugs or alcohol, it is also the start of a new life in which the drug or alcohol is not your first priority.
Recognizing Drug Cravings throughout Recovery
Drug cravings are just like cravings for food or water, except much more intense. Some experts in the drug rehabilitation industry include cravings as a symptom of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. These cravings can be all a person has the ability to think about. Recognize that triggers are a part of addiction; this will help you prepare for the road ahead. Cravings do not last forever and understanding that they will pass will help get you through them. Giving into cravings will satisfy the feeling of emptiness for a short while, but eventually, that will wear off and you are left dealing with relapse. People experience cravings differently. A few different ways people experience cravings include:
- Rise in heart rate
- Intense feelings of need
- A taste of the drug or alcohol in the mouth
Recognizing Drug Triggers throughout Recovery
Triggers differ from cravings in that they aren’t feelings to use, but things that remind an addict of using. Triggers are the onset of cravings and are accompanied by many different situations. A recognized trigger can bring about painful and even vivid memories of a past drug or alcohol addiction lifestyle. Anything that reminds an addict of their past life before sobriety and leads to a drug or alcohol craving is considered a trigger. Possible examples of triggers include:
- Smells: Smelling is tied to the memory storage in the brain. When a certain smell is recognized, you are reminded of memory that you have of the smell, for example, alcohol.
- Tastes: In addition to smell, taste is tied to memory storage within the brain. Tasting a flavor leads a person to remember a specific time that they tasted the same.
- People: A person that you used to use with or a drug dealer that you used to buy drugs from can trigger a craving.
- Music: Certain music can almost make you travel in time, back to when you were drinking or using drugs.
- Places: Being in a certain place, like a bar, can remind an addict of their past endeavours and actions.
- Dates: Specific days of the year can remind an addict of certain situations in their past. These can be a sobriety anniversary, date of trauma, or birthday.
What to do about Triggers and Cravings
Triggers and cravings are going to be a part of your recovery. Everyone that has recovered from drug or alcohol addiction has dealt with triggers and cravings. The important part is to not act on them. They will just lead you around the same continuous cycle that you have been on before. No craving is worth your sobriety, no matter how intense. Seek help and get your mind distracted. Attend meetings, hang out with sober friends, work on projects, exercise, read, or write when your mind becomes filled with cravings.
Avoiding Cravings and Triggers
At FHE Health, we offer relapse prevention therapy. This educates recovering addicts on how to deal with and prepare for triggers and cravings. The best thing to do about triggers and cravings is to intentionally avoid them at all costs. Recognizing situations that you know that you will deal with triggers and cravings in is key to avoidance. Sometimes it will be impossible to avoid high-risk situations, since you won’t see them coming. Keep a list of possible high-risk situations to avoid and add to them as they arise so that you are constantly updated on what promotes your triggers and drug or alcohol cravings.
Seeking Help with Cravings and Triggers
FHE Health is here to help you if you feel that your drug and alcohol cravings or triggers are may lead to relapse. You do not have to deal with triggers and cravings alone. If you need support, we offer a number of programs to help you deal with your addiction. Medical detox is available for those who have relapsed, in addition to therapy and residency programs. If you have any questions about our programs or triggers and cravings, please contact us right away. Do not put your sobriety on the back burner. It should be your number one priority. We would love to hear from you and tell you a little more about our facility.