Why Do People Relapse While Being Treated for Addictions Disorders?

Why Do People Relapse While Being Treated for Addictions Disorders?

Published On: January 19, 2018

Recovering from addictions disorders is often a lifelong process and journey with successes and setbacks. The important thing to remember when having a setback is to get back up, and continue on with your counselling, therapy, and rehabilitation treatment. Throughout this journey it is not uncommon to encounter various triggers and cravings that could result in a relapse.

What Causes Triggers?

Triggers are caused by our memories of our prior behaviours that resulted in our additions. Triggers can arise due to any of the following:
•  Stress
•  Anxiety
•  Emotions
•  Feelings
•  Events
•  Locations
•  Specific Days of the Week
•  Specific Dates or Times of the Year
•  People
•  Sounds
•  Tastes
•  Smells
During addictions disorder counselling and therapy, part of the recovery process involves learning and discovering what your triggers are and how to develop effective coping mechanisms and skills.

How Are Triggers Related to Cravings?

Cravings is a general term used to describe the desire to engage in the addictive behaviour that led to your addiction. Triggers are the initial occurrences that can lead to cravings or the desire to give in to the addiction. For instance, if you are dealing with alcoholism, the smell of your favorite alcoholic beverage could be a trigger. This could then result in a craving to drink.

Why Do Cravings Occur?

With addictions disorders, the chemistry of the brain and area that signify pleasure, happiness, and other responses are changed and altered during the period of addiction. This results in the addictive behaviour being preferred over other things that we used to enjoy prior to the addiction.

Do Cravings Go Away?

Cravings will not easily go away on their own. This is why you need to develop the appropriate coping mechanisms and skills. Cravings tend to start out with the occasional thought about engaging in your addictive behaviour. If you do not deal with it at this stage, it can continue to become stronger and stronger.
As the craving starts to strengthen, you can find your mind wandering and returning to thoughts about the craving. Eventually, you start to think about the pros and cons of engaging in the behavior. You might also start to bargain with yourself, like telling yourself it is okay to give in just this once.
You may even start to tell yourself a minor relapse is okay since all recovering addicts have them. Finally, you will get to the point emotionally, physically, and mentally you can no longer resist the temptation of the craving, so you do give in.
For addicts, giving into a craving is not as simple as engaging in the behaviour once. Depending on how strong the craving was and your prior addiction, you could find that you start to slip up more and more frequently. Stopping again could be even harder than the first time.
However, if you have a strong support system in place and have developed coping mechanisms, it is possible to deal with cravings so they do not result in a relapse. If you are struggling with cravings, need help identifying triggers, and want to learn how to develop coping mechanisms, Bayridge Counselling Centres are here to help. Call us at 905-319-1488 now!

For more information, visit us at any of our Counselling Centers in Burlington, Brampton, Hamilton, Grimsby, Mississauga, Muskoka, Oakville, St. Catharines and Kitchener/Waterloo.

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