New Challenges Arise After Addiction Treatment
For recovered addicts, one of the highest-risk situations they will likely have to confront is an unexpected crisis. During unexpected life events, there is additional pressure to make decisions and deal with contingencies more often than they would otherwise have to deal with. This can be dangerous for recovered addicts, especially those who have just attained sobriety.
The stress associated with this time of turmoil has been shown to drastically increase the number of relapses among those in recovery. So how do you stay clean during a time of extended crisis, like the spread of the COVID-19 virus?
This starts with becoming more aware.
Obviously, most recovered addicts are aware of their history with drugs. However, they are not necessarily aware of the triggers and indicators associated with their use.
What this means is, they do not understand what causes them to want to use and cannot identify the behaviors which suggest they are starting to slip. Yet these are vital to note because by learning to isolate this before they start using again, they will save themselves and their families a lot of trouble and money.
Everyone’s triggers are different, but generally, they can be traced back to being social or emotional.
- Social triggers occur when a recovered addict spends time around people with whom they have had an unhealthy relationship. This causes them to become stressed during or after time spent with this person, resulting in an overwhelming urge to use their drug of choice. Another common social trigger is isolation. This is when an ex-addict is not able to spend time with friends and family and become lonely. In a recent survey conducted by the National Institute On Drug Abuse, there is a correlation between the isolation of the COVID pandemic and negative emotions that can be contributing factors to relapse. According to the study, 62% experienced increased worry, 51% had an increase in sadness, and 42% struggled with loneliness.
- Emotional triggers are more common, yet more difficult to identify. These are events from an addict’s past, like death, trauma, and loss, which cause emotional turmoil and internal distress that is often hard to pinpoint. By being honest about one’s past and how it affects them in the present, an addict can learn to cope with these troubles in a healthy way. The first step is to identify when emotional or social stressors are playing a part in one’s overall mood and locating those things that indicate when you begin to take an emotional downturn. Some of these indicators may be sleeping too much, loss of appetite, inability to follow a schedule or loss of interest in activities you previously found enjoyable.
Don’t let yourself fall victim to drugs and alcohol during the current pandemic. Recognize the signs early and take action to prevent yourself from falling back into the cycle of addiction. By staying informed and cognizant of your own risk behaviors, you can stay sober, healthy, and happy in this time of crisis.