004- Understanding Triggers and Craving in Addictive Behaviors

 
 
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In addictive behaviors, triggers make you want to use and cravings are the repetitive thoughts reminding you over and over again that you want to use.  We have triggers for just about everything.  Some are obvious, like the sight of alcohol may trigger people to start craving a drink.  Some are not so obvious,  the impending anniversary of a loss may trigger a person to want to use alcohol or drugs to escape from the grief.  In this presentation we will cover what triggers are, discuss ways to identify personal triggers and explore ways of dealing with triggers and cravings.

Show Notes

Objectives
Define Triggers
Define Cravings
Explore ways to identify triggers and cravings
Discuss methods to deal with triggers and cravings
Why I Care/How It Impacts Recovery
People, places, things and times can trigger
The desire to use
Anxiety
Depression
Grief
Understanding your triggers is the first step in being able to avoid or deal with them so a relapse doesn’t “sneak up out of the clear ble”
What are triggers
Triggers are anything that prompt you to think about and/or do something.
Touching a hot stove is a trigger for…
The alarm clock is a trigger for…
A commercial for a bacon double cheeseburger is a trigger for…
A billboard advertising vodka is a trigger for…
The smell of freshly baked brownies is a trigger for…
Triggers
Learn to recognize triggers
Exposure to the addictive substance or behavior
People, places, things, times of day
Particular emotions (even good ones)
Physical feelings (sick, shaky, tense)

Triggers are things that:
Remind you of the good feeling the addiction provided
Make you want to escape
What are triggers
Sometimes triggers are not super obvious
Habits
You get up in the morning you…
When you are watching television you…
When you hear a certain song on the radio…
Random Associations
Telephone rings
The smell of exhaust fumes
Football games

Why are Triggers Important
You do things that are rewarding and avoid things that are punishing
Triggers are like push notifications for the brain
Many people return to their addictive behaviors when they are depressed or anxious and cannot figure out why (unidentified triggers)
Ralph and the Mice
Trigger Identification
Mindfulness
Practice being aware of
Your surroundings
Sights
Smells
Sounds
Your self
Breathing
Muscle tension
Thoughts  (Head)
Mood/Feelings (Heart)
Intuition (Gut)
Addressing Triggers
Increase those things that help you feel
Positive/clear headed
Happy/content
Safe/comfortable
Decrease those things that trigger feelings of
Confusion
Mental turmoil/frustration
Depression
Anxiety
Guilt
Resentment
Hypervigilence

Addressing Triggers
Some triggers cannot be eliminated or avoided
Distract don’t react
Change your dialogue/positive self-talk
Recondition it to trigger something positive
Payday
Sporting events
Holidays
Work
Deal with it
Cravings
A craving is a repetitive, consuming thought or desire for something
Commercials use the trigger/craving concept to motivate you to buy things
Cravings generally fulfill some real or artificially created need
Cravings
Cinnamon Buns (smelling them at the mall)
Escape (stress, boredom, cruise commercial)
Drugs/Alcohol

Dealing with Cravings
Triggers exist and cravings will happen
When you are triggered and have a craving
Ride the wave
Distract don’t react
Identify what you really need or want and find an alternative
Stop—Look—Listen—Feel
Cravings are often clues
Hunger  crave food clue: body needs fuel/blood sugar low
Addiction cravings are like the 3 year old in the store who wants candy.
Give into them and they will come back
Be strong and they will decide it isn’t worth the effort

Apply It
Identify 3 ways you could have used this information in the past week.
What triggered you?
What did you do?
How effective was that for you?
Short term
Long Term
If you would have had this new information, what could you have done differently?
How would that have changed the outcome?
How can you start integrating this knowledge into your routine
Summary
Humans are responsive organisms
There are triggers for everything
You can create positive triggers in your environment (funny pictures, favorite songs, aromatherapy)
Cravings are often clues telling us we need something to change.
Pay attention
Find an alternative

 

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