Like other addictions, alcoholism is considered a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. Prolonged excessive alcohol consumption triggers an array of changes in the brain’s reward and stress system. Alcohol withdrawal causes a wide variety of troubling side effects that can lead to relapse if an individual is not in treatment.
By Christian Castaneda, LCSW, Program Director at Promises Malibu
When you’re in addiction recovery, the whole world can become a trigger for drug relapse. If you’re addicted to alcohol and you walk past a bar where you see old friends, it may stimulate your memory of old times. If you are addicted to pornography, you might find that having access to a computer with internet can trigger your compulsion. Obviously, you want to avoid these triggers.
Findings from researchers and doctors indicate that people who maintain a physically active daily routine may substantially lower their level of exposure to substance intake and substance-related problems.
A new study has suggested that only half of all doctors use prescription drug monitoring programs, which are designed to prevent “doctor shopping” by people seeking multiple prescriptions for controlled substances. The finding drives home the point that large-scale adoption of any program such as this takes time, but the finding also presents cause for concern about the ease of obtaining multiple prescriptions for opioid painkillers. The researchers, however, have identified some of the factors preventing doctors from making use of the programs, and the results could be used to guide improvements and get more physicians using the systems.
Summer is fast on the way. People are already busy blocking off weekends on the calendar and making plans for all kinds of outdoor activities that make summer so much fun. But another plan people should be considering is how to enjoy those great outside activities without alcohol. Especially if the planned activities occur on or around the water, the safest thing to do is leave alcohol out of the cooler. The National Institutes of Health notes that half of all water recreation deaths of teens and adults involve alcohol. Consider these tips:
The addiction to illicit substances such as drugs and alcohol can be a life-threatening disease. There is no cap to the age of people who abuse illegal substances as it can range from young adolescents to the elderly. With the number of drug and alcohol abusers continuing to rise among Americans, it becomes a curiosity as to why so many people are affected by this disease. So the question arises: where does addiction come from? According to a recent study, the addiction to these dangerous substances largely is determined by our genetic sequences.
Regardless of their unshakeable dedication to sobriety, relapse is a constant threat to recovering addicts and alcoholics. Ask an addiction counselor what is relapse and they will explain how an addict can return to drinking or drug use with the suddenness of a lightning bolt if they become complacent or don’t ask for help when they need it.
Addiction treatment is designed to help you understand your disease and establish long-term sobriety. However, completion of rehab won’t stop you from facing situations in everyday life that are capable of triggering a relapse back into active drug or alcohol use. Fortunately, you can learn specific coping mechanisms that will help you deal with emotional and situational post-rehab triggers.
Staying sober requires constant vigilance and awareness of the many things that could trigger a relapse. Some relapse triggers are obvious, such as hanging around bars or wandering around neighborhoods known for high drug trafficking activity. Even continuing to hang around with friends or acquaintances who habitually use alcohol or drugs can be dangerous and asking for trouble.
As an addict in recovery you know that addiction is far more complicated than a failure of willpower. Drugs and alcohol cause chemical changes in your brain that encourage you to use them repeatedly. With more use come more alterations to the brain. These leave you nearly helpless in your attempts to stop using. However, once you have sought professional help and stopped using, you still face the possibility of relapse. Many factors come into play when you try to resist using again and one very important factor is your own willpower. You can improve your willpower to help you avoid relapsing.
After the hard work of addiction recovery your loved one is ready to come home. You are looking forward to having them back and putting life on a forward trajectory. However, at the same time, there may be a concern in the back of your mind. Fear of potential relapse could be casting a shadow over your bright hopes for the future.
The process of recovery from addiction presents many challenges, but one of the most significant is overcoming the psychological grasp of “triggers” or “cues” to use drugs. Relapse is a daily reality in treatment centers, and one of the main reasons it’s so common is that triggers and cues to use exert a very real psychological power. Learning to deal with triggers is never easy, but it helps to understand the theory behind drug triggers and some common techniques used to overcome them.
By now, the tinsel and streamers from New Year’s Eve celebrations have been swept away, party attire carefully put back into garment bags and closets, and it’s back to work and time to get serious about recovery goals. Faced with 12 months ahead and a list of resolutions you have no idea how to tackle, what should you do?
Here are 10 tips to help get you going on what you said you wanted to accomplish this year.
Learning to cope with drug cravings is an integral part of getting clean, but the internal pressure to use can often feel like it’s too much to cope with and may drive you back to your chosen substance. The most powerful pangs will undoubtedly come in the first few days of abstinence, but the compulsion to use doesn’t disappear when the last physical traces of a drug leave your system. In fact, longer-term cravings take root in psychological associations; a little like Pavlov’s dog’s salivation at the sound of a ringing bell.
The time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s can be an especially stressful time for those in recovery, particularly those who are newly sober. But you don’t have to shut yourself off from life and become a hermit for three months for fear of falling into relapse. There are safe and sober alternatives. Knowing the five holiday stressors that lead to relapse is the first step in preparing a holiday action plan to keep you safe and sober in recovery.