Quora Q and A (Most Common Cause of Relapse)
Updated: Jan 25
I was recently asked "What causes relapse the most?" A quick google search will tell you that stress is the answer. It's estimated that Americans are under stress 70 percent of the time.
But do you realize all that happens physiologically when under stress?
When entering a stressed state, blood is literally squeezed off from our logical brain, and shunted to the hind brain. When operating in this mode, our cognitive capabilities are dramatically reduced, because our mind then operates from the "Primitive brain" which is executing our emergency protocol (Fight/Flight/Freeze responses).
Our body takes over and does what is programmed in the subconscious. You experience a stimulus, your body responds with the program it deems appropriate, and executes that program from beginning to end. Once that program has started, it is difficult to interrupt.
Lets take a look at my Gummy Bear behavior. The sugar makes me cranky, so I'm always swearing off the gummy bears. I go through my day and my willpower wears down because willpower is finite. Like everyone else, I'm a little stressed all day. Then lets say I experience a significant stressor, and really start operating from my primitive brain..
My body wants comfort, or something familiar at the very least. (We always sort by what's FAMILIAR, not whats better for us) So, my body puts the gummy bears in the cart. I can hear a faint "No" somewhere in my mind, but it isn't strong enough,. My body resolutely buys, and consumes the gummy bears even though I consciously don't want to.
What we program our BODY to do can easily over ride our mind. i.e. How many times have you driven somewhere and realized you don't remember driving? Your body did all that while your conscious mind was elsewhere. I believe this is how many people begin to relapse. While the stressed out mind is occupied, the body does what is familiar, not what is reasonable, and not what is better for you, Suddenly, you're knee deep in familiar old situations before you even remember that you have tools.
I used to say that it felt like my car stopped at the convenience store without my permission. In a way, it did. ....
Check out my new page - "How to Create an Addict".