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10 Common Substance Abuse Triggers

A substance abuse trigger is something that gives you a reason or an excuse to drink or use drugs. A trigger can be just about anything that you associate with the drug use. Most people have a variety of triggers in common. Those who use drugs or alcohol on a regular basis often feel these triggers.

1. Stress at Home and Work

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stress is a huge factor in what triggers substance abuse. Stress at home or stress at work can cause you to turn to drinking or drugs in order to reduce that stress even if it is only for a little while.

2. Finances

Money and financial matters also are a trigger for substance abuse. They are part of the overall stress but sometimes not having enough money to pay bills and acquire the substance is the trigger.

3. Friends who Use

common substance abuse triggers

Chronic pain often leads to substance abuse due to the addictive nature of prescription painkillers.

Being around friends who use your substance of choice or any substance for that matter often cause issues with substance abuse. Seeing them have fun using can trigger your own use.

4. Seeing the Drug or Alcohol

Visuals of the drugs or alcohol also trigger you to relapse or use. Although you will not be able to avoid all of them, you can avoid some of them by staying away from things that you know will picture the substance.

5. Going to a Place that You Frequented

If you frequented a place as a user, it is unwise to frequent it as a nonuser. Familiar surroundings might cause you to want to use a substance.

6. Smells that you Associate with Use

Smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers. Just as you can smell something associated with a food, you can smell something that you associate with the drug use. Smell is one sensory trigger that you want to avoid.

7. Sounds such as Music that you Associate with Use

Just like other sensory triggers, sounds such as music can be associated with drug use. Since sensory triggers are so powerful, you should try to avoid songs and other sounds that you listened to while using drugs or alcohol.

8. Untreated Chronic Illness

Pain is a powerful trigger. Many addicts start their addiction because they have a chronic disorder that causes them pain. Unfortunately, the same medications used to treat chronic illness are often addictive. By leaving the condition untreated the drug use could be triggered again.

Why are Anxiety and Substance Abuse Linked?

9. Untreated Mental Illness

Although technically not a trigger, untreated mental illness can lead to drug use. Self-medication is one of the primary causes of drug use and drug addiction. If you were self-medicating for a mental illness and suddenly stop, that mental illness will come back. This triggers the drug use again.

10. Not Seeking Treatment at All

An untreated condition is a very large trigger for drug use. The best way to stop this trigger is to treat the condition. For more information about substance abuse treatment, call us at 1-800-895-1695.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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