Avoid Triggers to Prevent Drug Relapse

Avoid Triggers to Prevent Drug Relapse

As Horace, the Roman lyric poet, once said, “Great effort is required to arrest decay and restore vigor.” This quote is apt for someone trying to give up illicit substances. It is an uphill task for a chronic substance abuser to abstain from an addiction and thereby prevent relapse. It has been found that usually some form of stimuli, which drives a person to include in addictive behavior, triggers most of the addictions. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these “triggers” are referred to as the “five Ws,” when, where, why, with and what, or simply known as people, places and things, since they remind an individual addicted to substances about his or her compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

However, psychologists view relapse as a shared attribute of addiction and do not consider it as an indicator of failure. When a person hooked on substances quits them suddenly, he or she is at a high risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms and increased drug cravings. A prolonged substance abuse disrupts the neuronal pathways of the brain and alters the pathways connected to pleasure, rewards, impulse control and decision-making leading to complete dependence. consequently, in such situations, relapse may be a form of self-medication.

Clearly, relapse is a stepping-stone to recovery and should never be considered as the end of the road. In fact, it is an indicator that treatment needs to be tweaked or reinstated as the intensity and duration of the medication or therapy largely depends on the gravity of the relapse.

Coping strategies to counter triggers

Several studies have demonstrated that stress is a shared cause for relapse. CBT is an effective tool to cope with both external and internal stressors in order to avoid a likely relapse. According to a study published in the journal Psychiatric Times before, “CBT may truly help to enhance a person’s neurobiological circuits in the brain. Depression, anxiety, and mood fluctuations are shared side effects of addiction and withdrawal, and CBT can help to smooth out some of these symptoms by teaching strategies to manage them.”

In addition, a well-observed inpatient treatment program can be highly instrumental in avoiding any example of relapse. The main purpose of such a program is to ensure that new coping strategies and mechanisms are firmly rooted in the patients before they are discharged from the rehabilitation center. The longer the patient stays under observation in a rehab, the better it is for his or her future sobriety, as the brain gets sufficient time to rewire itself.

Medications are equally important during the detoxification course of action since they can be helpful in regulating mood swings, managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing drug cravings. A comprehensive and holistic drug abuse treatment program includes both therapy and time-tested pharmacological processes to minimize relapse and arrest triggers.

except proper sleep, diet and physical exercise, other complementary methods to combat relapse are:

  • Yoga: Techniques to enhance breathing and stretching go a long way in managing stress, reducing possible cravings and improving mental health.
  • Mindfulness meditation: Self-awareness by meditation helps to clarify and manager possible triggers in an effective way.
  • Acupuncture: Needle therapy administered by a trained specialized can be advantageous for the bodily roles and also help minimize cravings.
  • Massage therapy: Massage or touch therapy aids blood circulation, which is connected to mental roles.

Leading a drug-free life is possible

Historically, addiction was viewed as a sign of moral weakness. However, evidence-based scientific research has shown that an addiction is a mental disorder, on par with other ailments such as asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes.

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