Whether an individual has been in recovery from substance abuse addiction for just a few weeks or for several years, they will always be at risk for relapse. Addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease, meaning that it has no cure. Relapse is a part of all chronic diseases, and unfortunately, addiction is no different. Recent studies have shown that the relapse rates for substance abuse disorders range from 40 to 60%.

Although there may be no cure for addiction, there are things that you can do and resources to use to help prevent relapse. Keep reading to learn helpful tips to help keep you clean and sober.


What are Common Triggers for Relapse?

Addiction triggers are emotional, environmental, or social situations that drug up memories of substance abuse in the past. Sometimes, these memories can stir up strong emotions, leading to the impulse to use a substance again. Although triggers do not necessarily lead to relapse, they make it much harder to resist the cravings that they produce.

Some of the most common triggers include the following: 

  1. Stress
  2. Challenging & Negative Emotions
  3. HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
  4. Physical or Mental Illness
  5. Change in Job or Location
  6. Social Isolation
  7. Situations Where Drugs Are Available and/or Easily Accessible
  8. Romantic Relationships
  9. Nostalgia for Substance Abuse
  10. Overconfidence in Recovery

a man concerned and asking himself do I have co-occurring disorders

Helpful Prevention Skills to Avoid Relapse

Relapse prevention skills are extremely important in an individual’s road to recovery. No matter what stage of recovery the individual is in, there is always a chance of relapsing. Implementing relapse prevention skills into your daily routine can help to prevent relapse and improve your life significantly. Here are some relapse prevention skills that you can put into practice: 

  1. Mindfulness Meditation: This can help teach you to become more self-aware, making you better able to cope with potential triggers to relapse. Hallmarks of mindfulness meditation include acceptance, letting go of personal control, and the use of prayer and meditation.
  2. Know Your Triggers: Making a list of any triggers that you may have is an excellent way to gain awareness and reduce your risk of relapse. 
  3. Join a Support Group: Regular support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, can help reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are both common triggers for relapse. It can also provide you with support, accountability, and education. 
  4. Exercise Regularly: Studies have shown that physical activity helps to prevent and reduce the risk of substance abuse. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress, a common trigger of relapse.  
  5. Avoid people, places, or things that are connected to previous substance abuse. 
  6. Keep your mind occupied. Taking up a creative hobby, such as painting or playing an instrument, is a great way to do this.


Don’t Be Scared to Get Help

You don’t have to recover by yourself. Getting the support you need will make the recovery process much easier. A therapist or counselor can teach you relapse prevention skills to deal with any negative thoughts or cravings that you might be experiencing. Here at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center, we understand how nerve-wracking or intimidating it can be to start your addiction recovery journey and our team of professionals is here to help! If you or someone you know is struggling with substance addiction, call our office today at 318-728-2970!