The 10 Most Common Addiction Triggers

Published by John Gillen | Last updated: 12th March 2021

The 10 Most Common Addiction Triggers

An addiction that is identified as a brain illness can amount and develop for a number of different reasons. While there are some biological links to addiction susceptibility, any individual in the world can become addicted to addictive stimuli, such as drugs, alcohol and gambling activity.

Unfortunately, many onlookers believe that becoming dependent on such stimuli is a choice. Yet, as we know, addiction triggers exist, standing as the causation for influencing the addiction cycle, compulsive and habitual behaviours, and physical and psychological change.

Triggers of addiction, although personal and random for some can be categorised, commonly falling within environmental, emotional, mental and social influences. Gauging such triggers on a personal level is very important, in order to not only detach from drugs and alcohol but also plan ahead through relapse prevention, with the aim to avoid exposure to such triggers.

Down to this, here are the 10 most common addiction triggers to consider, along with how we at Cassiobury Court can help you overcome the influential traits of your personal causation. Understandably, some triggers will fall outside such categories. Yet having knowledge of how triggers work and the importance of overcoming them will benefit your addiction recovery journey.

Reach out today for insight into your addiction triggers, invaluable when considering long-term relapse prevention planning.


Addiction triggers and their influences

Addiction triggers are the stimulus that influences the initial causation of abuse. For example, a distressing experience can trigger the desire to abuse drugs and alcohol, to encounter an escape from that experience.

When reaching out to addictive stimuli, users, in the majority of cases will not have the intentions to develop a dependence. They will see the likes of drugs and alcohol as coping strategies, as innocent support systems, and as positive reinforcements.

However, down to toxicity, down to addictive traits, and down to the adaptations that such stimuli create in the brain, an addiction can soon materialise, even from minimal exposure. That’s how powerful addiction triggers can be, to influence the average person to see substance abuse or further addictive activities as a distraction, as an escape and as a helping hand.

Addiction triggers are personal, can be random, and can amount from a single moment or thought. However, vulnerabilities are usually present, whether that’s weaknesses caused by genetics, influential environments or pressuring relationships. Within that moment of vulnerability, addiction triggers can activate, amounting to much more than a coping strategy.

It’s also important to note that triggers can be longstanding, where resurfacing exposure can trigger similar reactions and behaviours. This is why it’s important to understand and work through addiction triggers, to work on securing relapse prevention planning for the future.

While causations are personal and very sensitive, here are the 10 most common addiction triggers to consider.


The 10 most common addiction triggers

Stress is one of the most common addiction triggers, as it places significant pressure on our quality of life. While stress is a common response which the majority of us will experience on a consistent basis, for some individuals, stress can be engulfing. It’s also important to remember that stress management is different for us all, as we have different personalities, tolerances and abilities to cope.

Many individuals, unfortunately, consider quick and intensive coping strategies, such as drugs and alcohol when experiencing stressful encounters, which act as addiction triggers when abused.


Mental health issues
Mental health issues are highly correlated with addiction, as those with pre-existing weaknesses do have a greater susceptibility to developing unhealthy habits. Unfortunately, the use of addictive stimuli is desirable for an individual’s suffering with the likes of depression and anxiety, as a way to stabilise and control symptoms.

Standing as one of the 10 most common addiction triggers, negative thoughts, emotions and experiences are likely causations of habitual behaviours.


Influential environments
Negative environments can trigger and enable initial abuse of addictive stimuli, increasing the acceptance and justification of such actions. For example, highly stressful environments can motivate the abuse of drugs and alcohol. In addition, to this, those who have been brought up within an alcohol-fuelled environment are more likely to develop alcoholism later down the line.

Environmental triggers are linked to taught behaviour, which can be difficult to acknowledge and break.


Social influences
Social influences, including social situations, peer pressure, and isolation triggers are commonly attached to addiction diagnoses. This again surrounds the enablement or promotion of such behaviours and coping strategies.

Feeling pressured to conform to social influences can unknowingly trigger addictive tendencies, which if exposure continues on a consistent basis, can form a physical and psychological addiction.


Unhealthy, toxic relationships are commonly a driving force to reach for coping strategies which promote escapism. Those coping strategies will offer support and respite, which can be craved under such emotional strain, amounting to ongoing use and the potential development of addiction.


Life pressures
Life pressures such as money worries, legal problems and health concerns are all common addiction triggers. Standing as stress triggers, pressure can be a key driving force for many individuals to act outside of their comfort zone and usual routine, which is associated with increased risk of addiction susceptibility.


Poor lifestyle choices
Your lifestyle will drive your actions, emotions, decisions and behaviours. From the amount of sleep you have, to the food you eat, to the activities you partake in, all can influence your outlooks, your motivation, your mental health and your happiness.

Through poor lifestyle choices, greater risks of developing an addiction are present, along with relapse triggers on a post-recovery basis.


Overuse of negative coping strategies
Negative coping strategies usually include the likes of drugs, alcohol, exposure to toxic relationships or people, and further controlling and consuming stimuli. The overuse of such strategies can heighten the risk of addiction development, as individuals can become addicted to the feelings and emotions, provided by those strategies.


Emotional distress
Emotional triggers are especially common when considering addiction development, as addictive stimuli will commonly provide increased promotion of artificial happy chemicals.

For example, someone who’s feeling low may lean on the consumption of certain drugs to motivate the highs that they provide, ultimately suppressing those low moments. However, through such exposure, addiction triggers can materialise, as our emotions lead our decisions and actions.


Over glamorised and harmless images of substance abuse
Substance abuse is over glamorised and is seen as harmless on the surface. Down to these incorrect images, many individuals will abuse drugs and alcohol with little perceived risk in mind. However, through such denial, vulnerabilities can be missed, acting as a common addiction trigger.


The importance of gauging and avoiding triggers

Your personal triggers, influencing addictive behaviours may differ from the above. If so, it is important to remember how influential such triggers can be, along with the vitality to understand the causation of your behaviours.

We at Cassiobury Court are here to help you through identifying your triggers, through addiction recovery, and through reducing the influence of your triggers moving forward. Through aftercare and through relapse prevention planning, the power of your addiction triggers can be suppressed to help manage ongoing recovery.

Addiction triggers can influence the initial development of addictive behaviours, and can, unfortunately, resurface such behaviours, even once the recovery status has been fulfilled. This is why it’s very important to understand your triggers and how you can avoid their presence in your life through positive lifestyle choices, stress management, relapse prevention, and the use of positive coping strategies.

John Gillen

John Gillen - Author Last updated: 12th March 2021

John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years of experience providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John also co-authors the book, The Secret Disease of Addiction, which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.