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Learning to Recognize Your Alcohol Triggers

Whether it’s binge-drinking or daily alcohol use, more than 15 million adults in the United States over age 18 have alcohol use disorder, and only a fraction of these people ever seek help for their drinking problem.

If you’re concerned about the challenges of alcohol use, we can help. At The Rose Center for Integrative Health near The Loop in Chicago, Dr. Glenn Harrison and our experienced health care team take a personalized approach to treating your alcohol use, abuse, or dependence, based on your individual needs.

In this blog, we discuss how to recognize your alcohol triggers so you can determine what may be leading you to drink more than you know is healthy. Once you identify your triggers, we can help you develop an action plan and strategies to reduce how triggers influence your response to alcohol. 

Common alcohol triggers

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your relationship to alcohol is to become aware of things that trigger your desire to drink. Triggers include people, places, situations, and emotions that increase your urge for an alcoholic beverage. Most alcohol triggers fall into three categories.

Environmental triggers

Environmental triggers include people, places, and events that you associate with drinking alcohol. For example, you may meet up with an old friend you’ve shared past drinking experiences with, or being in a certain restaurant or club could make you want to consume alcoholic beverages.

Stress triggers

Stress triggers include persistent negative emotions like fear, anger, guilt, or shame. Depression is another powerful alcohol trigger. If you have a history of dealing with your emotions by numbing the feelings with alcohol, these are stress triggers for you. 

Physical pain can be a stress trigger, too. If you’re dealing with a chronic health condition, it may be tempting to desensitize the pain and unpleasant symptoms with alcohol. 

Profound life changes — like getting fired from your job, the death of loved one, or divorce — can also be stress triggers that prompt you to use alcohol as an escape or outlet from your problems. 

Re-exposure triggers

Re-exposure triggers are any location or situation in which you see people drinking — including family gatherings, TV commercials, or movies. These types of triggers are unavoidable because alcohol use is so widely accepted in society.

Avoiding alcohol triggers 

While it may be fairly easy to identify your biggest alcohol triggers, it can be much more challenging to avoid them. The best way to not be tempted by triggers is to avoid them altogether, but this is difficult to do, especially if your job or other obligations require you to participate in situations where people are drinking socially.

You may need to set boundaries, such as asking friends and family members not to drink at your home or avoiding social events where you know you could be tempted to consume alcohol.

Gather a support network

Friends, family, and support groups are essential for your success in taking control over alcohol in your life. This may mean making major changes to your social circles or recreational activities, but it’s worth it to move forward in a way that best serves you. The dedicated team at The Rose Center for Integrative Health can become part of your support network as you embark on an alcoholism treatment plan. 

We personalize treatment based on your individual needs and challenges. We prescribe therapies to address mental and emotional issues and treatments that help you overcome your addiction. Your treatment plan may include home visits, ketamine therapy, and cannabis therapy so you can break your addictive patterns and minimize unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. 

Take the first step toward gaining control over the influence of alcohol in your life. Call our experienced, compassionate staff at 872-204-3891, or request the next available appointment online today.

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