Triggers of Substance Use

If you have undergone a successful recovery, avoiding relapse is critical as you do not want to return to the troubled past. As such, you should focus on maintaining sobriety and seeking assistance from the right people to overcome triggers of substance abuse. Emotional, environmental, and social circumstances can remind a former drug user of past experiences and create the need for support from the experts at Foothills. If your teen is battling triggers for addiction, contact our adolescent treatment center today at 866.300.5275.

What Are the Triggers of Substance Use?

Triggers cause an intense craving and make you engage in drug or alcohol use. External triggers can include objects, people, and places that provoke cravings for substance use. Individuals undergoing recovery can succeed by avoiding things that may evoke thoughts about drug use. Discipline is critical during this phase because you will need to fight random urges and triggers.
Images related to drugs and substances can arouse subconscious cues prompting you to revert into abuse without awareness.


Some places can be risky for former drug abusers because they act as reminders of what they used to do before deciding to quit. A memory connection may occur when you visit the areas you used to drink or abuse drugs, including bars, concerts, neighborhoods, and hotels.
To prevent relapse, use different routes where you will not meet with dealers and former friends who are still indulging in dangerous habits.


Objects surrounding your daily lives can lead to drug and alcohol cravings. For example, if you were using spoons to consume heroin, the piece of cutlery can trigger those memories. Empty pill bottles, movies, magazines, and some paraphernalia are common triggers of substance use.
Several studies reveal that reformed substance abusers can revert to their old ways after exposure to objects related to drugs.


When you are unsure of your self-control, avoid situations that can force you to indulge in illicit drugs. People undergoing addiction treatment may find it challenging to attend celebrations and parties where alcohol is available. If such situations can contribute to your relapse, avoid going to stick to your goal of maintaining sobriety.

Some everyday situations to avoid include music festivals, beach vacations, and going out with friends.


The people closest to you can trigger cravings, leading to a gradual relapse. Surrounding yourself with people who use substances or do not support your recovery journey can cause a relapse. Some people may even offer you drugs and alcohol.
Influences can come from neighbors, spouses, family members, employers, co-workers, and drug dealers. These people may not know the dangers of exposing you to drugs and substances.

Internal Triggers

Internal triggers of substance use can be more difficult to avoid since they consist of emotions, thoughts, and feelings linked to the habit. When an internal trigger occurs, it may result in undesirable behaviors that can compromise your recovery journey. The cues can contribute to an intense urge for the substance you were using.

Be aware of emotions like anger, nervousness, irritation, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, stress makes you more vulnerable to a relapse. While it may be impossible to avoid some circumstances, try to apply the skills learned in rehab to cope.

Manage Your Teen’s Triggers at the Foothills at Red Oak

If your teen is battling their triggers, it’s important to realize that they’re not alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an estimated 40% of individuals who complete a residential treatment program can relapse. Rehab centers provide a variety of services, including:

Substance use disorders affect millions of people in the US. Do not let addiction destroy your teen’s life; you can receive the much-needed help at the Foothills at Red Oak. Our experts can teach your teen how to cope with the triggers of substance use to ensure long-term sobriety. Contact Foothills at Red Oak today at 866.300.5275 to schedule an appointment.

foothill s at red oak recovery adolescent treatment programFoothills at Red Oak Recovery serves 14-17 year old male adolescents and their families.Our program is located on a 94-acre working horse farm in Ellenboro, NC to help promote growth, reflection, and healing for those experiencing the results of trauma. Our licensed clinical team and extensive range of therapies provides the support and education young teens need to put themselves back on the right path Learn more.