Kolmac offers tips to manage addiction triggers
Part of our intensive outpatient (IOP) program at Kolmac involves teaching patients how to manage addiction triggers. A trigger is something that you associate with using drugs or alcohol. Examples of triggers include people you used the substance with, places you obtained or used the substance, items connected with substance use, and sensory stimuli like smells and tastes. Emotions can also trigger a craving to use alcohol or another drug.
Being exposed to the trigger is enough to make you think about using the substance or make you crave it. In this way, triggers can lead to a return to active use. As a result, it’s important to understand how to manage addiction triggers as you recover.
Practicing abstinence is one important way to manage addiction triggers
Many people think they can learn to use an addictive substance in moderation. However, the science of addiction and our experience shows us that this isn’t true. For this reason, our experienced clinical team asks you to practice abstinence from all substances, including alcohol, in our program and after completing it to manage addiction triggers.
The use of substances, even ones that are not your primary concern, can cause a return to using the main substance you have a problem with. We have treated many patients over the years who started using a different substance after they came to Kolmac because they didn’t think they had a problem with it. They later returned to us a few years later addicted to the substance they used as a substitute.
Remember, the use of substances is a symptom that needs to be addressed, but it is not the root of the problem. With addiction, you cannot address the root problem if you are altering your brain with a different substance. Ultimately, it’s all the same trigger to the pleasure center of the brain. We work on helping our patients develop new paths to seeking pleasure in their lives and assist them in addressing the deeper issues underlying their addiction.
We recommend removing all addictive substances and paraphernalia from the home
Another way to manage addiction triggers is to remove addictive substances and related paraphernalia from your environment. It is not realistic to avoid contact with all addictive substances because we live in a world that heavily relies on alcohol and other substances to alter mood and increase socialization.
However, it is vital to create a safe space in your home where you don’t have to put in a great deal of effort to avoid substances. To help with this, we recommend removing all substances and paraphernalia from your home and any other place where you regularly spend time.
Managing emotions can help you manage addiction triggers
Emotions like anxiety, depression and stress may lead you to seek comfort or relief through substance use. This may be especially true if you have a co-occurring psychiatric condition. If this is the case, Kolmac can provide simultaneous treatment for both addiction and the psychiatric condition during your intensive outpatient treatment.
Even if you don’t have a co-occurring condition, negative emotions can be a major contributor to the process of relapse. This is because people believe the only thing that will make them feel better is to use a substance. As a result, we work on learning new, healthy coping skills for managing emotions.
- Relying on a sober support network
- Working with a therapist to challenge core beliefs
- Getting exercise and proper nutrition
- Engaging in meditation or other relaxing behaviors
Exercise, positive social contact, and meditation are the top three skills that can change your brain and help manage addiction triggers. We can incorporate all these skills into your treatment plan at Kolmac.
Contact us to learn more about how to manage triggers and overcome addiction. The team at Kolmac can help you regain your life and freedom from substances.