Triggers and Drivers of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Triggers and Drivers of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

The road to sobriety and improved mental health is often paved with support from loved ones and guidance from experienced counselors and drug specialists. Even when surrounded by encouragement, those battling substance abuse and mental health challenges can relapse upon experiencing triggers.

Identifying the triggers that push substance use disorder or mental health patients into relapse is the first step toward recovery. Relapse is common, especially in the initial phases of treatment, with more than two-thirds of individuals returning to drugs or alcohol after beginning a recovery plan.1

What’s most important is understanding that relapse is not failure, and it certainly doesn’t mean an enjoyable life of sobriety is out of reach.

Triggers of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Challenges

When you or a loved one is ready to reach out for support to distance yourself from substance abuse, you must take time to identify your triggers. Substance abuse and mental health triggers are the places, people, or environments that contribute to your substance use or unwanted emotional responses.2 Triggers are external factors, so you have the opportunity to identify those influences and avoid the people or circumstances that evoke undesired emotional or physical reactions.

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To identify your triggers, think about several situations that may create a response that contributes to relapse, including:

  • Emotions
  • People
  • Places
  • Things
  • Thoughts
  • Activities or Events

Consider the things, people, events, and thoughts that spark the emotional and physical responses that lead to substance abuse and mental health challenges. Once you’ve identified those triggers, the work begins with managing your response.

How to Manage Triggers

One of the best ways to manage a drug or alcohol trigger, especially at the beginning of your recovery, is avoidance. It may be necessary to make lifestyle changes to avoid those people or places that evoke an unwanted response.

When you consider a California rehab center, choosing a facility that personalizes a recovery plan specific to your needs is essential. Making the lifestyle changes needed to build a long-term plan toward sobriety means working with experienced counselors. Clear Life Recovery staff members will help you create and stick with a plan to avoid your major triggers.

Another critical element of addressing your substance use and mental health challenges is developing positive coping skills. Substance use is often an attempt to manage negative situations or emotions.3 This type of self-medication can be eliminated when it’s replaced with a positive coping skill. Examples of coping skills may include:

  • Painting or drawing
  • Reading
  • Walking (or other forms of exercise)
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Intentional breathing exercises
  • Gardening
  • Attending individual or group therapy
  • Keep a gratitude journal

In addition to physical and mental coping skills, it may also be necessary to consider dual-diagnosis treatment. A facility that offers support with detoxification and a 12-step program can help you maintain sobriety, but it’s equally important to deal with mental health distress.

Dual-diagnosis is the simultaneous treatment of substance abuse and mental health challenges. Luxury drug rehab centers in California typically offer dual-diagnosis treatment because it’s unrealistic to expect substance use disorder patients to remain sober if mental health hurdles are left unaddressed.

Once positive coping skills have been developed, it’s essential to practice them regularly. Waiting until a trigger presents itself to test your coping mechanisms may catch you off guard and make the situation difficult to handle.

Connecting Substance Abuse and Mental Health

While there’s no definitive answer on whether mental health challenges cause substance abuse or vice versa, research shows there’s definitely a connection. Roughly half of all people challenged with a mental illness will also face substance use disorder in their lifetime.4 For those facing a severe mental illness, like bipolar disorder or severe depression, an estimated 25% also battle addiction.4

To adequately address issues with mental health and substance use disorder, you or your loved one need a rehab center in Costa Mesa that offers several specialty services. At Clear Life Recovery, our focus is on improved mental health with programs like anxiety therapy and depression therapy. Contact our experienced team at Clear Life Recovery today to learn more about creating your personalized plan for recovery.