When someone views addiction from the outside, it looks like a complicated and intricate condition. Even though there are many facets to this condition, addiction cravings have a lot to do with why individuals keep using substances. By understanding what cravings are, it’s possible to find ways to take steps toward recovery and relapse prevention.
The Definition of Addiction Cravings
To put things simply, when someone is experiencing addiction cravings, that means they have a strong desire for a particular substance. For example, those cravings could be for alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
Even though cravings are an everyday part of life for many, it’s difficult for some to understand its official definition. The main reason is that when an individual is experiencing cravings, those feelings are incredibly individualized. That means that one person’s cravings could vary vastly from another’s.
Some of the most accepted definitions of addiction cravings include:
- When someone focuses on nothing else by acquiring that substance
- Someone’s desire to use the substance each time an opportunity presents itself
- Looking for specific opportunities to use substances even when they interfere with personal or work life
- An individual’s psychological desire for the substance’s positive effects
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction Cravings
Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction and cravings makes it easier to identify and cope with them. That way, once individuals understand what they are, it’s easier to take steps toward relapse prevention during recovery. Some general signs and symptoms include the following:
- The user can’t stop preoccupying their thoughts about using or acquiring the substance.
- There’s a strong desire to see old friends or return to places where they acquired or used substances.
- If they’re in the presence or near a reminder of them, they want to use substances.
- They continue purchasing paraphernalia needed for substance use.
Understanding Addiction Cravings Triggers
When someone experiences a physical response to not using substances, like muscle aches or stomach issues, that could mean they’re experiencing cravings. Thoughts and emotions also play an integral role in cravings. For example, if someone feels like they need a substance right now.
The question is, what triggers these addiction cravings? Triggers differ from person to person. However, here are some known triggers individuals can watch out for:
- Attending holiday events, parties, or other special occasions
- Attending sporting events where they previously used substances
- Being offered a substance
- Spending time with those whom they used substances with previously or associate with using them
- Watching a movie or television show where someone uses substances, they enjoyed
- When they experience boredom, fatigue, or stress
About Coping with Cravings and Triggers
If given enough time, cravings are going to go away. They’re not permanent, so a plan must be in place for encountering triggers and experiencing cravings. Having that plan is an integral part of relapse prevention.
Coping with cravings and triggers involves extinguishing that feeling internally. That internal process starts when individuals recognize the craving. Then, it moves on by reminding themselves that they don’t need to act upon those cravings. Finally, it’s best if they remove themselves from the situation.
Having an external support system also plays a crucial role in relapse prevention. By participating in other activities and allowing that support system to help redirect negative feelings, that helps individuals cope with addiction cravings and triggers easier.
Contact Northern Illinois Recovery Center for More Information About Addiction Cravings
It’s important to find a support system that understands the need for identifying addiction cravings and why that’s essential for relapse prevention. If you have questions about cravings, triggers, or relapsing, now is the time to reach out for support. Contact Northern Illinois Recovery Center at 855.786.1978 to learn more about how our services can help.