An overwhelming craving for drugs often arises from the desire for relief. Usually, individuals seek relief from pain, whether physical, mental, or emotional. Unfortunately, cravings are often the result because substance use produces feelings of euphoria, making it difficult to fight cravings. Identifying the reasons behind cravings will enhance a person’s ability to fight their urges successfully. Cravings for drugs can happen when your body is stressed, tired, or undernourished.
Why Do Cravings Occur?
Cravings usually begin in the brain. Illicit substances like cocaine, marijuana, or ecstasy produce an increased level of euphoria. The brain releases dopamine into a person’s bloodstream. According to the Surgeon General Report, the more dopamine released in the body, the higher the level of euphoria experienced. Since these substances overwhelm the brain’s reward system, many individuals find it difficult to resist the urge to use again. Thus, individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) are fighting their minds and body’s cravings for more.
The Impact of Withdrawal Symptoms on Cravings
Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the specific drug, the length of drug use, and the person’s state of health. Withdrawal symptoms heighten a person’s craving to return using substances. Many find the withdrawal symptoms extremely intense. The physical symptoms of withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and painful, especially in the early stages of recovery. We recommend seeking medically supervised detox to help deal with the symptoms. At Restoration Recovery Center, we provide acute detoxification.
The symptoms fall into categories: physical and psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms include the common signs of withdrawal like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, or stomach ache. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, or depression.
Other tell-tale signs of withdrawal are:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling tired, weak, lightheaded, or nauseous
- Mood swings
- Numbness in the body
- Tremors and shakes
- Muscle cramps or aches in your arms and legs
- Desires to be comforted
- Changes in appetite
Remnants of withdrawal symptoms can last well into a person’s recovery journey. Nonetheless, a longer time of sobriety decreases the withdrawal’s intensity.
Steps to Fight Drug Cravings
To understand your cravings and how they will help you determine the best course of action, use the following steps as a guide:
- Mental Health and healing trauma: Untreated mental health disorders and unresolved trauma lead to people using substances. If left unaddressed, they both can leave a person susceptible to their cravings. Professional help can assist you with treating trauma and mental health issues.
- Follow a recovery plan: Current research shows that treatment plans work. Request a program from your healthcare provider, mental health professional, and a reputable treatment center. They will assist you in creating a relapse-prevention plan.
- Learn to cope with adverse situations: Adverse events can happen to anyone. Nonetheless, such events can trigger a person’s urge to return to using substances. Have a plan in effect when life events like grief, divorce, or job loss occur. A good program incorporates coping mechanisms such as distraction, support groups, self-care activities, counseling, etc.
- Acceptance: Everyone experiences some form of cravings. People’s cravings range from shopping to smoking. Our minds use cravings to cope with life circumstances and feel good. Thus, find a healthier craving like gardening, exercise, volunteering, etc.
- Find your path: Different people have different ways of coping with hard times or stressors in their life. Find the best method for you. The best approach will support your overall well-being and recovery goals. So keep trying until you find the best fit for you. Something that works for you may not work for the next person.
- Know your triggers: Identify your triggers to prevent a relapse. Hunger, fatigue, emotional stress, etc., can trigger their urges for some people. When you experience a trigger, execute your action plan to mitigate any urges for substance use.
- Develop healthy relationships with friends and family members: Having a network of supportive family, friends, and peers in recovery will serve you well. Lean on them during an emotionally painful or stressful time. They can provide valuable feedback to support your recovery.
Professional SUD Treatment Can Help
Current research reveals the impact of professional substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation. Quality treatment centers like Restoration Recovery help many conquer their cravings for substances and manage their SUD for long-term sobriety.
The most significant benefit of professional substance abuse treatment is that it allows you to process the ramifications of having a SUD. As a result, you can focus on building a more robust life—one without substances. Like those at Restoration Recovery, qualified professionals help individuals with SUD achieve their desired goal faster than individuals who choose to do it alone.
Understanding the root cause behind your addiction is integral to fighting against the craving for drugs. Inability to do so will continue the cycle of cravings. The brain plays a central role in people’s cravings, especially for relief. Hence, mitigating triggers and finding new coping mechanisms support long-term sobriety. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms also impact a person’s urges for substances. Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s response to wanting to use again. Professionals can help. SUD treatment provides a practical, evidence-based approach to treating substance use disorders. Reputable treatment centers offer hope to their participants. Treatment for substance use disorders aims to reduce or eliminate cravings by addressing the underlying causes of cravings. Restoration Recovery Center provides a safe haven for individuals recovering from SUD. Our qualified clinicians will help you restore your lives. We also provide support for families and friends of individuals with SUD. To learn more about our treatment, contact us today at (888) 290-0925.