10 Common Relapse Triggers for Addiction during COVID-19

10 Common Relapse Triggers for Addiction during COVID-19

The coronavirus public health pandemic is having a devastating impact on individuals suffering from substance use disorder and mental health issues, as well as the community of people living in recovery from addiction.

For those in active addiction, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated issues or forced hidden issues to light, while making some addiction treatment services difficult to access. For those people living in recovery from addiction, COVID-19 quarantines and isolation have made recovery difficult, cutting them off from connection, meetings or supportive services.


It is vital that those in early sobriety, or those already in recovery, create awareness of many of the potential relapse triggers that are taking place due to COVID-19 and this second wave of lockdowns. If you are in recovery, act now and find solutions to potential triggers before they happen.


Here are 10 common relapse triggers for addiction taking place during COVID-19:



Fear is a major cause of ongoing active addiction, but fears (both rational and irrational) may be more prevalent or more intense now due to the coronavirus. There is a lot taking place right now that we don’t have answers to, that we don’t understand, and that we can’t control. If you feel fears are starting to spiral, talk to someone who you can trust to help you rationalize your thought processes.


Mental Health issues (anxiety/depression)

Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can be exacerbated due to COVID-19, quarantine and isolation. While mental health services are available online in some countries, they are often stretched and not always easy to contact. Get online and look for support services in your area including mental health groups. Many groups, including AA and NA, are now hosting online meetings through Zoom and Skype.


Isolation (loneliness)

Isolation and loneliness are often triggers from relapse into active addiction. Being cut off from friends and family, endlessly watching the news on television, lack of connection with others – these things are often at the heart of addiction, and these issues are often more intense now for many people due to COVID-19. Write a list of names and numbers that you feel comfortable talking to and make a plan to call three people a day. If you are in a recovery program and have a sponsor, let your sponsor know that you would like to make regular check-in calls.



Stress is a big trigger – it is overwhelming, causes fear and anxiety and makes people feel uncomfortable and out of control. Many people feel like they can’t breathe, and for those with addiction issues, that often makes them turn to drugs and alcohol for relief. Try to pinpoint the cause of your stress and work through what you can do to reduce your stress levels. Exercise, healthy diet and adequate sleep also help to reduce stress.



For many young people with substance use disorder issues, boredom is typically mentioned as a common reason for relapse.  They feel alive using drugs and alcohol. It gives them something to do, something to plan their social interactions around, and a means to connect to peers. Many people, once finding sobriety and living sober, don’t quite know how to find things to enjoy in early recovery. It is a process they must go through, but it is very difficult to do in the present circumstances due to COVID-19. Try learning something new to keep you engaged – take an online course, or use a language learning app. You can also opt for trying a new creative technique such as painting or modelling clay.


Family Dynamics

Family dynamics are often are major issue for anyone suffering from addiction, and addiction always stresses and negatively impacts a family. Now many families dealing with an addicted loved one are stuck together for long periods of time with little to do. It causes stress, irritation, agitation, anger, fear and anxiety. A family dealing with an addicted loved one stuck in a home together with little outlets for relief is a like a ticking time bomb. If this situation applies to you, reach out for professional help and guidance. Let your family know that you are seeking help and ask if they want to be involved. To talk to one of our team, contact us today – LINK LINK


Loss (loss of job/employment/relationship)

Loss can be a big trigger for relapse. Some examples are: the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19, the loss of a job and continued unemployment, the loss of income, the loss of a relationship that may have ended due to stress during quarantine, the loss of human connection and social interaction and the loss of routine or the loss of fun and enjoyable activities. It is extremely important to seek help if your emotional state is unstable and you are struggling to cope with loss. While you cannot always replace what you have lost, there are ways of coping with loss in a more positive and productive way.


Change in routine (meetings/recovery activities)

COVID-19 has certainly changed a great deal of most of us, and one of the biggest is routine. For those in early recovery, having a solid daily routine is extremely important – it helps individuals to stay on track and prevents them from drifting off course. If your daily routine has been disrupted, it’s important to create a new one – and this can be an enjoyable experience. Making a daily schedule will also help you to stay focused, engaged and productive.


All of these issues are triggers that can lead to relapse during any period of time, global health pandemic outbreak or not. And while these triggers may be more intensified or obvious now, it is always important to be mindful of them, be aware of them, and regularly guard against them by taking whatever necessary actions are possible to keep them arrested or at bay.


If you or someone you know needs help for addiction, relapse or for staying on track in sobriety contact us. We are open in Bali and we are offering our complete range of services. We are also able to provide visa and travel assistance to those coming from overseas.

If you are in recovery and would like to benefit from some additional support during this period, we also have online recovery programs available to help you maintain your sobriety at home. Click here for online recovery information

Despite the pandemic, no one has to struggle with addiction alone.

Contact us today and Change your tomorrow.

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