How Thoughts And Triggers Can Fuel Drug Addiction

If you are coping with a drug addiction, there are two things that need to be addressed during therapy to help you conquer your problem. They are your thought patterns and learned triggers that reinforce your perceived need for certain substances.


Your thoughts have great power and can set into motion a cascade of things that result in your behavior and consequences of that behavior. This makes it very important to examine the nature of your thoughts and work on substituting thoughts that will serve you better until they become second nature.

When you realize it is impossible to just banish negative thoughts because that just creates an empty space, you will see that the way to get rid of an unhealthy thoughts is to crowd them out with better ones. An example of this is when you have a reoccurring thought that you aren't very smart. You could choose to talk back to that thought with a new one: Intelligence comes in many forms and I am very good at ...."

Many people are at the mercy of their feelings without realizing that their thoughts lead them to their negative emotional states. These seemingly unbearable feelings and emotions lead people to self-medicate with drugs. Once you realize you can have much control over your moods by controlling your thoughts, you can choose to become a happier and calmer person and this will give you the strength you need.

Triggers and Learned Behaviors

During your life you have been exposed to a multitude of experiences, and when you were an infant and later a small child you had little or no choice about many of the things you were exposed to. If you were a member of a dysfunctional family there are probably many blocked out memories that are still causing you problems today. Along with repressed memories can be things that trigger thoughts and feelings that only make sense when the repressed memories are uncovered.

For example, a mother may be cooking some oatmeal for her children who are toddlers or preschool age. Her husband comes in the kitchen with a hangover from a bout of drinking the night before. He yells that he hates oatmeal and then he hits his wife.

The children watching would naturally be frightened and also very sad to see their mother treated this way. Even though they will grow up and may not consciously remember this incident, it could be that when any of them smell oatmeal cooking, they start to feel nauseated or afraid.

As you got older you learned how to do drugs from peers. You became repeatedly exposed to certain places, sights, sounds, smells, feelings and physical effects of doing the particular drug you are now addicted to and these have become triggers for you. When you experience any them, you may start thinking about using the drug again. You may think "Oh, just one more time," or "I can't stay clean. It's impossible." You begin to feel that you are hopeless and helpless in the face of your addiction.

You may not be able to get at the root of some of your early unconscious triggers, but you can learn how to identify each trigger by journaling or keeping track of them in a notebook. Then you can make the choice to avoid places, people or things that trigger your desire for the drug, or you can consciously confront your triggers with better thoughts and new learned behaviors.

Drug Addiction Treatment

Getting conscious control of your thoughts and triggers is part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which has shown to be very effective in helping people conquer drug addiction and is a fundamental part of most treatment approaches. It works in a relatively short period of time and is one of the tools you will learn to help you build a new drug-free life. You can also participate in drug rehab centers (