16 Apr Top Triggers for Women Who Relapse

For some recovering addicts, relapse does not mean a permanent slip back into old habits; but for others, it could mean exactly that. Because it’s impossible to know what relapse could mean for you as a recovering addict, it’s important to be mindful of what triggers relapse. That way, you can avoid these environmental triggers altogether, greatly reducing the likelihood of slipping back into addiction. Last month we covered some of the top triggers for relapse in men. This month, we’re discussing what some of the top triggers for relapse are in women and how women can prepare for them as they enter post-rehab life.

Not Enough Self-Focus

Recovering from an addiction requires a great deal of self-care and introspection, in addition to the type of therapy that support groups can provide. Self-focus is a central part of successful addiction recovery because a recovering addict must be able to recognize personal relapse triggers and dangerous thought patterns in order to avoid slipping back into addiction. Yet many women after completing rehab return back to lives revolving around their children, families, and communities, which can make creating time for self-focus especially difficult. Women already tend to rely on support groups and 12-step programs more commonly than men do, so it’s important to introduce the element of self-focus in order to make for a well-rounded recovery process.

Stress and Untreated Psychological Disorders

Stress, anxiety, and depression are three of the most common problems that underlie drug and alcohol addictions in women, so it isn’t surprising that these things in post-rehab life are among the leading causes of relapse in women. Stress can arise from competing responsibilities, low self-esteem, self-doubt, or new family struggles, while anxiety and depression are ongoing psychological disorders that may have been left untreated during the rehab process. In order to prevent these mental struggles from triggering relapse in the early stages of recovery, it’s important to make yourself a part of a program dedicated to treating co-occurring mental disorders, so that you’ll have the tools to battle both while in recovery.

Romantic Involvement

Dating too soon is a trigger that also happens to be common to men. Romantic involvement in the early stages of recovery is dangerous for women not only because it can bring out undue stresses or shift focus away from recovery, but also because it can cause internal conflicts like low self-esteem or memories of past abuse to crop up once again. Sexual relationships and ties to those who are still addicted to harmful substances are especially problematic. For women in recovery, steering clear of romantic relationships—even promising ones—is the best way to avoid all of the relapse triggers associated with romantic involvement.

Mike Keenan is a Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor (LSUDC) and is continuing his education by pursuing a degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. Mike began his career in 2008 working in youth residential treatment. Soon after, he identified his passion for working with the adult population suffering from addiction and chemical dependency and transitioned into adult residential, in-patient, and out-patient treatment. Mike has excelled in a variety of supervisory and director level positions, and is currently succeeding as the Director of Client Relations at Therápia. In addition, Mike has been practicing as a Certified Equine Specialist, using the EAGALA Model, since 2008. Using the EAGALA model, he works in a team to facilitate Equine Psychotherapy and Equine Life-skills sessions. Mike grew up in St. George Utah and has always taken advantage of the wide array of outdoor and recreational activities Southern Utah provides. He has capitalized on his love for and expertise in the stunning surrounding environment to facilitate experiential therapy and metaphorical learning.

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