Understanding HALT in Addiction Recovery: The Acronym of Addiction Triggers | Recognize Weak Moments and Prevent Relapse

For those who’ve successfully completed a rehab program, that first step outside the treatment facility can feel tremendous. They may return home feeling ready to tackle life with renewed vigor and passion, giving little thought to the challenges of an extended recovery. Relapse rates for those in recovery from addiction are no greater than those for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension, but they can be immensely disheartening. Remembering to HALT in addiction recovery can help individuals take better care of themselves and better avoid the chance of relapse.

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The Meaning of HALT in Addiction Recovery

The HALT acronym has been very useful for those just beginning their recovery outside of a rehabilitation center. Conceived to help people spot warning signs of an impending relapse, the acronym is used today as a means by which to evaluate one’s physical and emotional well-being. If you find yourself feeling down or discontent, take a moment to HALT and assess what steps you should take to care for yourself.

Understanding the HALT Acronym

Each of the letters in HALT stands for a state of being in which the temptation to return to a drug or alcohol may be particularly great. By taking the time to work through each of the letters, individuals in recovery can gain a better assessment of their current mood and state of mind and work to adjust each accordingly.

  • Hungry: Hunger can make it difficult to think or express yourself calmly, and hunger is intrinsically tied to our emotionsGhrelin, an appetite hormone, also triggers feelings of anxiety. The brain, which is responsible for our emotions and thoughts, is primarily fueled by glucose, which explains why when sugar levels are low, an individual’s ability to reason and remain calm quickly drops. Fortunately, these feelings will quickly subside with a snack. Hunger can also stand for emotional hunger, like a hunger for understanding, companionship, or attention.
  • Angry: Like all emotions, there is nothing wrong with feeling angry. However, not everyone learns how to deal with their anger in a safe and constructive way. Men may have grown up learning to lash out, while women may have been trained to suppress emotions until they become overwhelming. Regardless of the way in which you process your anger, take a moment to evaluate whether it is anger that is driving your actions and what you might need to do to work through it.
  • Lonely: Humans are social creatures by nature. Even if we don’t mind being alone for periods of time, we crave the sense of connection and community received from knowing that someone else understands what we’re going through. Whether it’s meeting up with a friend or spending some time in counseling, staying connected can have a drastic impact on your mood and your outlook on life.
  • Tired: Long days at work, poor bodily health, and familial stress all have one thing in common; they can really wear you out. Generally, a good night’s rest is all we need to recharge, but if you find yourself consistently tired or having difficulty sleeping, you’ll notice the effects of prolonged tiredness, which can include a shorter temper, greater trouble thinking, decreased coordination, and feelings of anxiety. Regular exercise, a proper diet, and a quick meditation before bed can combat fatigue, but don’t be afraid to get the advice of a medical professional if the need arises.

Before You Can HALT, You’ve Got to Start

HALT is used as a tool to supplement and support other strategies in recovery, but it is not likely to be enough to help you or a loved one break free from the initial hold of addiction. We specialize in high-quality, customized programming and patient care. We take a dual-diagnosis approach to our treatment, ensuring that our patients will have all aspects of their addiction addressed. A free clinical assessment can help you determine the type of program that would be best suited to your unique addiction, and our treatment specialists are available by phone 24/7 to answer your questions.

For more information on HALT, our treatment programs, and our private treatment center, fill out our form here or call now.