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Substance Abuse Triggers: Easiest To Do, Hardest To Undo

what are substance abuse triggers

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Ever took a look around a ghetto or a slum? Ever been to an after-party at any event? Well, in these places, it is not hard to believe that substance use has taken hold of the people stronger than anything else ever could. This era can easily be called the era where there are more alcoholics than workaholics, where more drugs are abused than are used and where addiction has become a fashion or a class thing rather than a problem.

Table of Contents

Factors That Can Trigger Drug Abuse

The factors that can trigger drug abuse include:

  • Living in an environment where drugs are often used
  • Wanting to feel the pleasant effect of drugs
  • Escape from the pain from a terminal illness or emotional trauma
  • Social anxiety
  • Sudden rise in status
  • Maternal drug history

However, a detailed analysis of the lives of addicts tells us that like every other chronic illness, this problem is also multifactorial. Let us learn about the causes that trigger this curse.

Alcohol Addiction Triggers


Alcohol addiction triggers include:

  • Peer pressure – Being surrounded by people who often use intoxicating beverages
  • Depression/trauma – Mentally destabilizing events that compel a person to drink to escape reality
  • Unlimited access to alcohol in parties – Joining parties that serve alcohol

Alcohol addiction is different from drug abuse as it is a substance available everywhere and used by almost everyone underage or over the age limit. It is easier to obtain, and falling prey to alcoholism is easier than abusing of other narcotics or stimulants. Factors that initiate addiction is as follows:

  • Peer Pressure – Human brain is always influenced by the environment. People who are exposed to an environment where people around them use intoxicating beverages freely are prone to developing addiction sooner or later if they don’t start themselves someone might encourage them to try. Next time when they are going through a hard time, they will find escape in the forgetfulness provided by beer or wine readily available to them. Children of alcoholic parents become addicts in the same manner.
  • Depression/ Trauma – Mentally destabilizing events are the commonest and strongest of the triggers. Alcohol throws a person into oblivion where they escape reality which is too painful for them. Once they start depending upon booze, it is hard for them to stop and thus addiction starts.
  • Unlimited Access to Alcohol in Parties – Be it office parties for adults or sorority or college parties for teenagers, there is usually more than one person getting drunk in such events. Many people taste alcohol for the first time, and then they can’t get rid of the taste and crave for booze long after the party has ended. In this way, their addiction begins.

Substance Abuse Triggers

substance-abuseDrugs such as cocaine, MDMA, heroin, etc. are harder for normal people to become addicted to. However, for people who live in an environment where drug abuse is common, it is easier for them to get involved in substance abuse. They so often see drugs that they cannot even process the concept that drug abuse is wrong. Some factors that provoke drug abuse are:

  • Environment – As explained above, people from ghettos to people who live in mansions all of them have certain groups of people who deal with drugs, use and supply them. Socializing with such a company comes with a price, one has to give up the right to sobriety to be a part of it.
  • To Get a Kick – People who have used drugs once usually come back to feel the surge of euphoria or to hallucinate about pleasant things. This temptation is too strong to resist, and people become addicts trying to feel the effects of drugs.
  • Escape from the Pain – Many abused drugs are actually opiates or other analgesics which are medically prescribed after major surgeries or to people suffering from terminal illnesses to reduce their physical pain, relaxants and hypnotics are also given to people who have suffered from emotional trauma. Many people become dependent on medication to stay pain-free and develop addiction due to this dependence.
  • Social Anxiety – Many people who have a fear of socializing and feel loneliness and boredom become inclined towards using drugs that would take them to a different world in a dream-like state.
  • Fame/Money – People who earn fame and notes overnight fall into strange addictions and habits because of this sudden rise in status. Many celebrities have destroyed their lives, health, and career due to drug abuse.
  • Maternal Drug History– In ghettos and slums, unprotected sexual intercourse is as common as drug abuse, many babies born to addict mothers and if the mothers don’t stop during pregnancy, are born physically dependent on drugs. If this problem isn’t addressed in infancy, these babies turn into addicts with high tolerance level to drugs. Even in some places, mothers give drugs to their babies to make them sleep well.

How do I avoid substance abuse triggers?

Here are some helpful ways to help avoid triggers:

  • Avoid places or events that serve alcohols and drugs.
  • Surround oneself with sober and responsible people.
  • Know how well a person can resist temptations and stay as far away as possible from drugs and alcohol.
  • Attend psychotherapy, doing mental exercises, and social work.

Guide to Avoiding Triggers

In these times, it is hard to completely cut off oneself from the world where a person meets addicts everywhere, so avoiding triggers isn’t feasible always. However, some steps that one can take to ensure sobriety include:

  • Avoiding accepting invitations to places where one is sure that drugs and alcoholic beverages will be present.
  • Keeping a friend circle or social circle made of sober and responsible people.
  • Realizing own resistance level against such temptations and staying away as far as possible from drugs or alcohol.
  • Using other methods of coping with stress such as psychotherapies, mental activities, and social work.

Relapse triggers are also common, and the whole society must come together to ensure that drugs dealing and distribution is controlled, and victims of addiction are properly institutionalized and helped to get over the addiction so that they are no longer a threat to themselves, their future generations or the society.

  1. National Institute of Drug Abuse. The Science of Drug Use: Discussion Points. 2017.
  2. Larimer M. E., Palmer R. S., and Marlatt G. A. Relapse Prevention: An Overview of Marlatt’s Cognitive-Behavioral Model. Alcohol Research & Health. 1999; 23(2): 151-160.
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. How addiction hijacks the brain. 2011.


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  • Ruth Richardson
    My son is in an alcoholic addition program. I drove his with wife and 5 year old son to see him this weekend. We were sitting in a motel and getting ready to go for lunch. The little guy was playing with his t-shirt instead of putting it on. The mother blew. and my son how will I cope if this is one of my triggers? I had no answer. The mother has no patience. Any suggestions