How Environmental Cues Can Be Triggering (and How to Handle Them)

How Environmental Cues Can Be Triggering (and How to Handle Them)

People in recovery often struggle with cravings and triggers. Addiction is more than just making choices, it is also how the brain and body process substances and navigate withdrawal from those substances. Environment has a lot to do with triggers. Learn more about triggers and how to handle them when the pop up to better navigate recovery.

Emotional Triggers

Anything that prompts a person to use drugs or alcohol and puts a person at risk of relapse is considered a trigger. This may cause a person in recovery to go back to using substances. Addictive behaviors or cravings may result from emotional triggers, as well. They may struggle to cope with stress, sadness, or other difficult feelings. Many people who use drugs learn to use them to numb out feelings but those old feelings can come back when stress or sadness reappear in recovery, triggering feelings of wanting to use substances again. Triggers are not a negative emotion, but they can be triggered by happy feelings, too, or wanting to celebrate. Depending how and when a person used substances, they are more likely to be triggered when those things happen in recovery and trigger that emotional response they had when using drugs or alcohol. 

Environment Matters

Cues from the environment can trigger responses. Sometimes people deal with past trauma and other memories that are hard to deal with. In their minds, they think about some of the good times they had when addicted to drugs or alcohol. This can be a trigger in itself, but mainly there are two ways the environment a person is in can be a trigger:

  • Power or intensity of a situation a person is in can become a trigger. Someone who experiences the loss of a loved one may feel triggered by something said or done or going to places they used to be with them. Memories of the loss or memories of what has been lost can be triggered by being in a situation that brings these memories to the fore
  • Anytime a person experienced substance abuse in a consistent environment, they are more likely to be triggered in recovery. If it was a certain bar, house, place, venue, or area, then the memory is solidified and can trigger that person more every time they are around that environment
Coping with Triggers

Anytime memories and emotions are attached, it can be a challenging situation. Using drugs and alcohol are used to numb certain things but it ends up being harmful. When a ‘solution’ is taken away yet the emotions exist, most people don’t know how to cope. Addiction treatment is important, so it is helpful to:

  • Seek relapse prevention for environmental triggers
  • Find stress and trauma treatment
  • Develop aftercare and personalized therapy for best support

The brain and body are connected when it comes to triggers. It makes sense to find therapeutic support that directs attention to this connection, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). addiction treatment can provide quality care in a safe environment that provides help for people to navigate recovery, including the possibility of transitional care programs to deal with triggers in sobriety. 

Oceanfront will help you kick addiction to the curb with our premier beachfront community in Laguna Beach. We are founded on the principle of providing the best in care and services at affordable prices. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295