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Drug Addiction Triggers

by James Heller 24. November 2009 12:58
Drug addiction is mainly driven by internal factors with individuals who suffer.  But external cues, or triggers, can affect the progression of drug use, or relapse for those in recovery.  So it is very important for those who suffer from drug addiction, as well as alcoholism, to be aware of their triggers, and for loved ones to understand how they work.

Triggers, generally defined, are anything that sparks an emotional response in addicts that in turn lead them to a thought that their substance of choice will calm them.  The trigger can cause stress, sadness, or glee.  They are such a high risk of relapse that triggers are typically addressed in drug or alcohol detox, early in treatment.

Loved ones often wonder why anyone in recovery from drug addiction or alcohol dependence would use a drug to make things better after gaining awareness of the damage it had caused them.  The fact is that the trigger mechanism is out of the addict’s control.  The decision of whether to use drugs or not is something that requires work.  So it is an effective defense for addicts to inform family and friends about specific triggers.

A trigger does not necessarily involve the drug of choice, like a heroin addict seeing a picture of a needle.  It can be a neighborhood, event, person, and even the sunrise.  Triggers from sensory cues tend to last for a lifetime, but lose power when a program of recovery is followed.  Because of this, addicts must always be prepared to either avoid triggers or know what to do when faced with them.

The excerpt below is from a study about the relationship of news media reports and opioid overdoses.  It is interesting to note that opioid addicts are more likely to overdose with a relapse, especially after a long period of abstinence.  Since the disease is progressive they may use a high dose to feed their addiction, but the body simply can’t handle it anymore.    

Those who suffer from drug addiction and their loved ones need to be vigilant about triggers.  Use the information in this article, along with the study, for knowledge as a defense.

-- Begin external content --

Historical studies of news media have suggested an association between reporting and increased drug abuse. Period effects for substance use have been documented for different classes of legal and illicit substances, with the suspicion that media publicity may have played major roles in their emergence. Previous analyses have drawn primarily from qualitative evidence; the temporal relationship between media reporting volume and adverse health consequences has not been quantified nationally. We set out to explore whether we could find a quantitative relationship between media reports about prescription opioid abuse and overdose mortality associated with these drugs. We assessed whether increases in news media reports occurred before or after increases in overdose deaths.

-- Source: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0007758

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles staffs addiction counselors in medical detoxification units as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help for drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.