How the Trigger Process Works

Cocaine is an extremely powerful and addictive stimulant produced from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America. The drug produces bursts of short-term euphoria, energy and talkativeness alongside the potential for dangerous physical and psychological effects. Because the effects are temporary, many users chase the high, which sets them up for addiction and its dangerous effects. Some people see this lifestyle as undesirable and seek treatment to learn about triggers and how to avoid them, but others continue down the dangerous road of addiction. However, the only way to get clean and safeguard your life is to seek professional help.

Triggers are known as the “cue” to sparking the memory, feeling and/or thoughts associated with addiction. Some people find that going passed a road where they use to buy cocaine triggers a craving for the drug, while other people find that music that they played when they were high sends them to seek the drug. “Trigger” is associated with a reward, so the body will react in a way in which it did when the individual used drugs once someone recognizes a trigger. Learning how this trigger process works (along with knowing what one’s own personal triggers are) can help someone maintain her sobriety and reduce her risk of relapse.

What Are Triggers and How Do They Work?

Triggers are an individual’s spark in remembering a thought, action, feeling or memory. When associated with cocaine addiction, triggers are often referred to as the “cue” in which the addict will experience a memory of a time she used drugs, along with a sound, feeling or smell that sparks an intense craving. While each individual’s triggers may differ, understand that the craving will last only a short time, but caving into the craving can cause life-threatening consequences. Cravings may come from any of the following triggers:

  • Specific drug paraphernalia
  • Location or environment
  • Social groups
  • Objects
  • Scents

Cocaine can be used in several ways, depending upon the form of cocaine someone buys. When in its powered form, cocaine is typically inhaled through the nose (snorted) where it then is absorbed through nasal tissue. However, powder cocaine can also be dissolved in water and then injected into the bloodstream. In its crystal form, cocaine is referred to as crack, which is then smoked. This type of cocaine received its name because of the crackling sound it produces when it is heated to smoke. Depending on how or what the addict uses to get high on cocaine, the trigger could be something as simple as a spoon, needle or lighter. Something as simple as going to the doctor to get a flu shot can spark an intense craving for a recovering addict even months into his recovery.

An individual’s environment is a key factor when it comes to triggers and/or what triggers the individual may come into contact with. Although, someone’s home ideally has all potential triggers removed from the immediate environment, a trip to the grocery store could cause her to go passed a house or down a road where she typically used or purchased drugs. Early in recovery, passing these familiar places can be a huge trigger for a craving, because it could cause the recovering addict to relapse and give in to temptation.

Once an individual has achieved sobriety, it is common for him to accept the fact that his past relationships with other drug users, even if they support his decision to be sober, could jeopardize his recovery. One may go to the extent to get a new phone number, relocate or even quit social media sites while in the early stages of recovery to avoid contact with drug-using friends and family. Although most attempts to avoid contact with these individuals may succeed, there will be a time when, despite one’s efforts, they have no option but to engage socially with known drug users. Seeing such people can cause intense cravings, almost immediately, even more so if the individual is under the influence.

Everyday objects could trigger the recovering addict to reflect on her past drug use and cause her to start craving cocaine (spoons, furniture, clothing, music, scents and vehicles). It can take months for the individual to feel comfortable with sobriety, but it could take only a split second decision to cause a relapse. Know what your triggers are, how they affect you personally and how to avoid them to find the upper hand in avoiding relapse. Although not every trigger can be avoided, a plan for when you come in contact with these problems can be tremendously beneficial in sobriety.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one struggles with cocaine addiction, then please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to help you find the best treatment available. Your life is worth the call, so make it now to begin recovery as soon as possible.

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