Managing Triggers While in Outpatient Treatment

Managing Triggers While in Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment can offer clients in addiction recovery several benefits. This level of care provides clients an opportunity to remain at home during treatment and to practice many of the skills learned during their program in real-time. Clients can then report back to their treatment team and discuss their experiences with different coping mechanisms.

For clients who are in drug rehab, it’s important to learn how to manage triggers while in outpatient treatment because you may be exposed to triggers whenever you leave your treatment facility.

Managing Triggers while in Outpatient Treatment

You will learn about managing triggers while in outpatient treatment during your individual and group sessions. Group sessions, in particular, might offer insight into highly specific examples that other clients have struggled with, while individual sessions might provide specific examples of managing personal triggers.

Identify Your Triggers

Identifying your triggers is the first step in managing addiction triggers. You can’t manage them if you don’t know what they are. It can be helpful to keep a journal where you write down your daily experiences or thoughts so that you can identify events or trends that may have served as a trigger.

Equally important is taking time to pay attention to your body and how you are physically or mentally responding to your environment. This can make it easier to determine what preceded specific feelings.

Do Things You Like

Managing addiction triggers can mean finding coping activities that bring you joy so that when you are triggered, you can focus on filling your time with activities that you love, which serve as an outlet for any negative emotions or stress. This is different for everyone but might include activities like the following:

  • Learning a new skill
  • Crafting
  • Reading a book
  • Calling a friend
  • Going to see a movie
  • Going for a walk
  • Painting
  • Writing
  • Drawing
  • Doing yoga
  • Meditating
  • Exercising 

Examples of Managing Addiction Triggers

Let’s look at some examples. 


Marissa is struggling with an anxiety disorder. She has generalized anxiety and is participating in an outpatient program. However, one of her biggest sources of anxiety involves her family. Over the last several years, Marissa has realized that her family is very negative and they like to worry about every little thing, and that means they also call or text her regularly to express these worries and commiserate. 

How Marissa could manage…

For Marissa, her family’s phone calls and texts are a significant trigger.

While in outpatient treatment, Marissa could learn about managing addiction triggers like these by setting boundaries. She might learn that she won’t cut her family off completely, but she can offer potential solutions when they call and then let them know that she has provided a solution, but the fact that they keep talking about the issue indicates they aren’t looking for real help and at this time she can’t add that to her plate.  

When she is done with her phone calls, Marissa might manage the heightened anxiety symptoms she experiences by using anxiety coloring books.


Peter is struggling with major depressive disorder. He is currently in an outpatient program to help with depression and alcoholism with dual diagnosis services. A big source of his depression is his job. When he started working at his international organization, he did so under the belief that he was going to make a difference and help people. But now that he’s been at the same company for ten years, he is seeing that his efforts aren’t helping anything.

How Peter could manage…

For Peter, his job is a significant trigger, but he can’t quit. 

While in outpatient treatment, Peter could learn that he is not defined solely by his job, and therefore, he can find other ways to make a difference and help those in his community. Moreover, Peter might learn the importance of setting clear boundaries with his job. When he is struggling with depression symptoms triggered by a work phone call or meeting, Peter might manage his triggers by meditating or doing yoga.


Professional Treatment Services Can Help

Managing triggers while in outpatient treatment is possible. When you work with facilities like Water Gap Wellness Center, you will receive individualized therapy and holistic services designed to help you manage addiction triggers effectively. Teams at our Pennsylvania mental health retreat work with you not only to provide trigger management but also to review coping mechanism effectiveness in real time. Our outpatient mental health services and substance abuse treatment programs in Pennsylvania can help you modify coping strategies to provide the best possible outcome.

Call us today to learn more about managing addiction triggers when you leave our treatment center. 

About WGWC

Water Gap Wellness Center offers expert and compassionate treatment for mental health and substance abuse at our Pennsylvania facility, just outside New Jersey, a short drive from New York. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you today. 

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