Triggers and Cravings

Triggers and Cravings

Triggers and cravings can be one of the most difficult aspects of recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse. A trigger is anything that brings back painful thoughts, feelings, or memories having to do with your addiction. This could be your drug of choice, a location you frequented or even a person you got drugs from in the past.

Cravings for drugs or alcohol are similar to food cravings. All you can think about is consuming a drug or drink, but even more intensely. It may even feel that your life is dependent on getting this drug. Cravings are a normal part of addiction and having them doesn’t mean that you’ve relapsed. Everyone experiences cravings in a different way, some say it feels like a pit in their stomach, a racing heart, or even the ability to taste the drug out of nowhere. Levels and intensity of cravings will vary as well.

What is the difference between triggers and cravings?

The primary difference between cravings and triggers is their dimensionality. Triggers are mostly associated with thoughts or memories. Cravings are more physical, mental, and emotional. Additionally, a craving can arise even when you aren’t exposed to a trigger.

How do you deal with cravings?

First, realize that cravings are temporary. They may last just a few minutes and can be overcome. When a craving happens, you can start by recognizing, accepting and riding it out. The hold that the craving has on you will slowly weaken while you strengthen in willpower. An important aspect of your recovery will include developing the skills to recognize and combat these cravings. A combination of work, time, guidance, and support will help you to develop the skills you need to successfully overcome your cravings.

How do you deal with triggers?

Understanding why you have an emotional response to something is the beginning step to managing triggers in your addiction recovery. You may begin to ask yourself questions about your life and what it would look like if you were in control of your reactions. These questions may inspire you to take the steps needed to pursue emotional freedom. The next step in managing your triggers is to recognize your emotional reaction as soon as it begins to appear in your body. Based on the emotion you experience from a trigger, you may examine what triggered that emotion. The last step is to shift your emotional state once you notice a trigger and your response.

In addiction treatment, you will learn how to recognize the signs of cravings and triggers along with ways to manage them. The addiction treatment team at Silicon Beach Outpatient Treatment Center is here to help you learn the tools needed to manage and overcome triggers and cravings throughout your recovery.

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