Reasons why drug addicts relapse and ways to cope


The road to recovery from drug addiction is brimming with thorns and potholes. One slight tremble in your feet, and there are chances you will fall into relapse. This aspect is one of the most challenging parts of recovery. The constant temptation and constant fear of relapse and having to experience the pain all over again make rehabilitation a dreadful experience. But the reality is that a significant percentage of people experience relapses before they finally get clean. If you don’t want to be another person in that statistic, you must understand the factors that cause a drug relapse. Furthermore, it is wise to have a set strategy in place that can help you prevent relapse. Therefore, some triggers and strategies to cope with them are:

  1. Stress 

One of the top reasons individuals often relapse is possibly due to stress, which is also a reason many people start using substances in the first place. It may include the stress of their responsibilities, work, relationships, etc. Stress becomes a coping mechanism that allows them to relax their mind and body. Furthermore, rehabilitation is a stressful experience for the mind and body. Hence, patients often have intense cravings because they want to rely on their coping mechanism, substance abuse, to relieve their stress.

If stress is your main trigger point, there are ways to reduce stress by reevaluating your situation and emotions. While you can eliminate all stress factors from your life, you can still learn to cope with them healthily. For starters, you may want to start by avoiding extremely stressful places, people, and situations during your rehabilitation. For this reason, you can opt from various reputable facilities and decide from a list of residential treatment options, as they can isolate you from all the stress triggers. Residential treatments aim towards creating a comfortable environment for their patients to focus on themselves without any stress or anxiety. They have therapists and counselors in their team who can help you find the root cause of your stress and deal with it. They will help you make lifestyle changes that will reduce stressful situations in your life. Apart from that, every coping mechanism you learn will help you healthily deal with stress when you finally go out into the world again.

  1. Places or people connected with addictive behavior 

Another potential trigger that can cause a relapse is facing a person who participated in substance abuse with you. It doesn’t matter if they are still using drugs or if they are clean. Their presence will remind you of that time, which can trigger a relapse. Similarly, certain places, which were your dealing spots, hiding spots, or places where you regularly used substances, can act as reminders of your addiction. Apart from that, people or places that caused trauma and fear in the first place can also trigger you into a relapse.

You must understand that many things will remind you of your addictive behavior. But the most critical aspect is to learn to control your urges and healthily handle your feelings. For example, if your old friends ask you to accompany them to a party where they will use drugs, prepare for a response to decline their invitation. Apart from that, opt for a healthy activity to take your mind off the thoughts whenever you get withdrawals. For example, you can go for a jog, read a book, watch your favorite series, cook food, etc.

  1. Negative emotions 

Negative emotions act as one of the biggest triggers for a person who has been struggling with drug abuse. The reason is that negativity is unavoidable in life. Many external factors can hurt your emotions. But what a person can do is regulate their feelings not to seek comfort in the toxic bonding of drugs. They need a coping mechanism to help them make sense of their negative and challenging emotions and manage them successfully. To escape from the addictive behavior, you can opt for therapy. A therapist can teach you methods that will help you make sense of what you’re feeling and deal with it healthily. They will help you realize that negative emotions teach you essential lessons and allow you to grow. By understanding your emotion, you will understand yourself and the people around you.

You can also try other methods such as exercise, meditation, or journaling. Similarly, if you are spiritual, then you can seek comfort in prayer. Having a healthy mechanism that allows you to release pent-up negative energy does wonder in improving your mood. It makes you feel better about yourself and your life.


These are some of the many triggers a person can face. But the key to handling every trigger is to analyze the situation objectively and find a practical solution. If stress is a trigger, then avoid stressful situations and learn how to deal with them in the meantime. If certain people and places result in a trigger, then cut ties with the negative influence or avoid them until you keep your emotions in check. All of these methods are highly effective and work wonders. Therefore, they can help you prevent relapse and aid your recovery.

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