Problematic substance use is all too common. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, almost half of all Americans have a family member who has struggled with addiction.
Whether you are hoping to learn about addiction triggers to help yourself or a loved one, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll discuss the most common substance use stressors to look out for, plus how to identify triggers.
Once you understand the events that trigger substance use and build up to an addiction, you’ll be more equipped to prevent them and find healthier ways to cope.
Common drug and alcohol addiction stressors
- Work stress is an everyday reality for many people. Whether it stems from long shifts, a demanding boss, frustrating coworkers or high-pressure presentations, work-related addiction stressors are common and often difficult to avoid.
- Every family has conflicts and some more than others. Family issues can range from unattainable parental expectations to childhood neglect, and all can lead to substance abuse.
- Chronic illness is one of the most common drug addiction stressors. Often, a person uses prescribed opioids for pain relief and begins to abuse the medication over time, or seeks stronger pain relief through illegal drugs.
- A break-up or a divorce can drastically change someone’s entire life and too often is the starting point for problematic drinking or drug use.
- A longitudinal study published in the International Journal of the Addictions states that a lack of strong social support can slowly lead to an addiction. Thankfully the reverse is true and a good support system can assist in treatment.
- The loss of a loved one can surely make someone vulnerable to addiction as he or she seeks distraction or emotional pain relief during the grieving process.
- According to a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, chronic stress is a risk factor for substance use disorders.
- An article in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that financial strain makes individuals more susceptible to heavy drinking and smoking and could be a predictive factor for substance use disorders.
- Social anxiety can make everyday life a challenge. Some individuals start to use drugs and alcohol to cope with discomfort in social settings.
- According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, violence in the home can be a trigger to substance use as well.
Tips for identifying your addiction triggers
Recovery from substance abuse is much easier when you know your weak points. Drug addiction stressors can be physical or mental and crop up any time of day. Identifying these stressors is simple, but it takes time. Use these tips to help you out.
- Keep a journal or daily log where you make notes about your strongest cravings during the day. Write down where you were, who you were with, what you were doing, how you were feeling and any other significant information. When you’re jotting it down every day, you’ll start to notice patterns.
- Some substance use stressors will be in your control, others will not. Identify in your log how each affects you differently.
- Develop some skills to manage the unexpected triggers that you can’t avoid. These are called coping strategies, and a quick internet search can offer tons of options. Just make sure you practice them before the pressure’s on so using the coping strategy feels natural.
- Read up on triggers. You may only experience some substance use stressors once, and having advanced notice can give you the advantage you need to overcome it.
Coping through addiction stressors
Staying strong in the midst of drug and alcohol addiction triggers is best supported by professional treatment. When you have medical and mental health professionals on your team, you’ll be best equipped to handle cravings and find a healthier outlet to manage all life throws at you.
In therapy or counseling, you’ll likely use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to gain power over your triggers. CBT works by changing thought patterns and responses to external stimuli. Since we can’t always control our environment, CBT teaches us to control our reactions.
Building up a repertoire of coping skills is another component of CBT. When you can’t avoid addiction stressors, coping strategies are the tools you can use to calm your emotions and think clearly. You’ll learn these skills and others in treatment to boost your recovery and prevent relapse in the face of addiction stressors.
Take back control
Treatment can help you gain mastery over your addiction triggers so you can live a full life. When you’re ready to get back your freedom, reach out to Rehab After Work. With flexible scheduling to fit your lifestyle, you don’t have to sacrifice your career or family time to get the help you deserve. Call now at 610-644-6464.