Latest Study Shows That Your Response to Alcohol Cues Could Predict Drinking After Detoxification

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Detoxification is a process by which the body naturally (or with the help of medicine) dispels of toxins acquired through the period of time a person actively engaged in their addiction. Detox can be painful – withdrawal symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, headaches and/or migraines, irritability, depression, diarrhea and/or excessive flatulence, and more can be quite distressing for a person going through detox. There have been many cases of individuals going into shock during detox because they didn’t have the right tools and were not moving forward with detox correctly, so it’s important to do this at a reputable treatment center rather than at home so that you have a healthcare team who can keep an eye on you to ensure your safety.  

Although detox helps rid the body of harmful chemicals associated with addiction, individuals are still at risk for wanting to use substances again. Alcohol cues specifically trigger a person to want to drink again – examples of this may be unsettling emotions such as anger or sadness, being around people who are using substances, seeing commercials, advertisements, or movies that involve use of substances, and more. A recent study shows that your response to alcohol cues greatly predicts your chances of drinking after detoxification – which could give you understanding into what you need to look out for in order to be successful in recovery.

A 2017 study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors assessed 120 alcohol-dependent patients nearing the end of their detoxification regarding approach and avoidance motivation strategies when confronted with alcohol cues. Results indicated that participants with strong automatic avoidance tendencies for alcohol cues were predictive of higher heavy drinking days after detox – what are automatic avoidance motivations, and how are they different from approach motivations?

In the study, approach motivations were described as similar to obsessive thinking about alcohol use; automatic avoidance motivations were described as immediate responses to try and get away from whatever thoughts they were having about alcohol. When done purposefully, tactics such as distracting oneself, reminding oneself of the consequences of drinking and more can be very beneficial – but the study showed that it’s small automatic responses to avoid it that can make the urge to drink even stronger.

For many people, engaging in a treatment program after detox is necessary to develop appropriate cognitive tools to overcome cues that trigger relapse. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today about which program would work best for you.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.