Efforts to identify dark matter by detecting nuclear recoils produced by dark matter particles reveal low-energy backgrounds of unknown origin in different types of detectors. In many cases, energy accumulation and delayed burst-like releases of stored energy could provide an explanation. These dynamics follow Prigogine's ideas on systems with energy flow and the general Self-Organized Criticality scenario. We compare these models with properties of excess backgrounds in cryogenic solid-state detectors, relaxation processes in glasses and crystals, our observations of delayed luminescence in NaI(Tl), and make predictions for more phenomena present in these systems and in superconducting photon detectors and qubits. Experiments to create accurate phenomenological models are needed.