What are internal triggers? Internal triggers are behaviors, situations, objects and things that elicit strong cravings or ideas associated with drug use. An internal trigger is any thing or someone which prompts a person to resort to drugs. However, internal triggers are different than external triggers as they aren’t directed at any particular body part or behavior pattern. These triggers can be very difficult to control as they are largely intangible and change slowly over time. Below we’ll go over some of the most common triggers for addiction.
When you think about alcohol or drug use, you generally think of it as something that is pleasant, harmless and perhaps even healthy in small amounts. Your internal triggers for alcohol or drug use are probably very similar to how you feel before you have that cup of coffee or tea or whatever your preferred beverage of choice is. The same goes for thoughts on social issues like poverty, racial discrimination or violence. As your thoughts become habitual, your internal triggers for substance use often become more powerful and difficult to control.
As an addict, your internal triggers may include thoughts of failure, embarrassment or shame. These internal triggers may cause you to use substances to distract yourself from these thoughts. This often means that you stay awake until well into the night. Other internal triggers might include a need to self-soothe when there are tensions or worries about work or family. Intrusive thoughts can also lead to substance abuse.
causes of internal triggers
Too much stress may lead to physical dependence and cravings for the drug of choice. Too little stress may lead to emotional dependence and coping mechanisms that are inappropriate for the situation. Regardless of whether your stress comes from personal problems or from stressful situations in the workplace, the drug you are using to cope with that stress may cause cravings and lead to abuse.
Unfortunately, even if you are experiencing no stress or negative emotions at all, the pleasure of the drug may still trigger an urge to consume. The urge to consume is not the same as an addiction’s craving; rather, it is simply a way to deal with the negative emotions or sensations that come with cravings. If you have been dealing with a negative thought or situation and you are suddenly craving a particular substance, you have likely found an internal trigger. If this trigger is strong enough to cause a desire to consume, then it is likely a drug dependency. When you take steps to get rid of this trigger, you can usually eliminate the cravings for the drug without having to go through the pain of withdrawal.
One of the keys to recovery from substance abuse is learning to manage and eliminate internal triggers. By learning the specific triggers and reasons why you have cravings, you can learn how to reduce or even eliminate those triggers altogether. This process, coupled with lifestyle changes, can help you live a life free of substance abuse. It can also help you avoid relapse and return to a life without addiction.
Related: External Triggers