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How To Cope With Addiction Cravings

How Can You Identify Potential Triggers Before You Start Craving

Triggers and Cravings (Part 6): Dealing with Triggers and Cravings

Identifying triggers starts with knowing yourself, and knowing the symptoms.

Triggers are thoughts, feelings, and memories that remind you of your substance use or the lifestyle around your substance use. Brain scans have shown that these triggers are tied to your neurochemistry, activating the key parts of your brain that lead to the desire to use.

These triggers can be different for everyone. Depending on your own personality and substance use history, the following things may trigger a craving:

  • Special occasions and holidays
  • Being around people you associate with substance use
  • Being offered a drink or drug

Keep in mind, this list is not all inclusive.Many triggers are difficult to avoid, but that doesnt make managing your resulting cravings impossible.

Explore Your Addiction Treatment Options

Once youve committed to recovery, its time to explore your treatment choices. While addiction treatment can vary according to the specific drug, a successful program often includes different elements, such as:

Detoxification. Usually the first step is to purge your body of drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Behavioral counseling. Individual, group, and/or family therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.

Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.

Long-term follow-up can help to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. This may include attending regular in-person support groups or online meetings to help keep your recovery on track.

Types Of Drug Treatment Programs

  • Residential treatment Residential treatment involves living at a facility and getting away from work, school, family, friends, and addiction triggers while undergoing intensive treatment. Residential treatment can last from a few days to several months.
  • Day treatment/Partial hospitalization Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but wish to still live at home and have a stable living environment. These treatment programs usually meet at a treatment center for 7 to 8 hours during the day, then you return home at night.
  • Outpatient treatment Not a live-in treatment program, these outpatient programs can be scheduled around work or school. You’re treated during the day or evening but don’t stay overnight. The major focus is relapse prevention.
  • Sober living communities Living in a sober house normally follows an intensive treatment program such as residential treatment. You live with other recovering addicts in a safe, supportive, and drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are useful if you have nowhere to go or you’re worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse.

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Examples Of Coping Strategies

Individuals in recovery will have natural inclinations for coping with cravings and high-risk situations and if the therapist can get a sense of their characteristic coping styles, he or she can begin to help the client develop effective coping strategies that will work for them. The following coping strategies are some of the most common.

In drug and alcohol rehab, clients may work individually or in groups to practice exercises that reinforce some of the above coping strategies and develop strategies that work best for them to help maintain their sobriety.

Cravings: Tips For Coping With A Common Issue

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by Cheryl Cirelli | Apr 12, 2022 | Addiction, Recovery

Cravings can be common in recovery and can be controlled in a variety of ways. When you experience a craving, you may not only have a mental yearning to use drugs or alcohol but have physical symptoms such as a headache, racing heartbeat, or anxiety. Cravings can vary in intensity: some may be easy to control while others may be intense and put you in danger of relapse.

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Craving Symptoms And Treatments For Specific Drugs

If you need help managing your drug cravings or overcoming an addiction, contact a treatment program specialist today at

The specific characteristics of cravings and the treatment for them can vary based on the drug. Below youll find links to pages with more information about cravings for specific drugs.

Onset of Cravings

Onset and duration of cravings can vary depending on the substance abused. For example:

  • Crystal meth cravings can begin anywhere from a few hours to a few days after the last dose but can then last for years due to alterations in brain structure and function believed to be caused by persistent, heavy use. 1, 2
  • The onset of prescription opioid cravings will depend on whether the drug is short- or long-acting. Short-acting opioids can cause cravings as soon as 6-12 hours after the last dose. Cravings for long-acting opioids may not begin until about 2-4 days after the most recent dose. 1 Cravings for opioid painkillers can last for weeks to months. 1

Quickly Relieve Stress Without Drugs

Different quick stress relief strategies work better for some people than others. The key is to find the one that works best for you.

Movement. A brisk walk around the block can be enough to relieve stress. Yoga and meditation are also excellent ways to bust stress and find balance.

Step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape.

Play with your dog or cat. Enjoy the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur.

Experiment with your sense of smell. Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell.

Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place. Think of a sandy beach, or a fond memory, such as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends.

Pamper yourself. Make yourself a steaming cup of tea, give yourself a neck or shoulder massage. Soak in a hot bath or shower.

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Use Tools From Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

You can use cognitive behavioural therapy to better understand and identify cravings and use tools such as self-talk to overcome them. What normally happens with a craving is that it can generate many thoughts that encourage you to relapse. Rather than allowing this to happen, you can identify these dangerous thoughts supporting the addictive behaviour and replacing them with positive or encouraging self-talk . If you are attending therapy sessions, you will also get help from the therapist to deal with cravings.

Why Do People Have Addiction Cravings In The First Place

Coping with cravings in addiction recovery

To a lot of people, it doesnt make sense why people who struggled with substance abuse would want to relapse and go back into whatever it was they were addicted to. Its important to understand that their cravings are not because they are stubborn but rather because of a change in their brain that causes them to crave.

Addiction is more common than you might think. In 2013, around 6.6 percent of Americans have problems with alcohol, while more than 24 million people had abused an illicit drug, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Craving is natural while undergoing detox. Rehab is essentially reprogramming the brain and body to a state in which it no longer relies on the substance. These urges dont come from stubbornness but rather spontaneous impulsive signals from the brain.

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Tips For Dealing With Addiction Cravings

It is believed that addiction cravings occur because your brain has been trained to associate using alcohol or drugs with reward. Even after you accept the negative consequences of this behaviour, those connections in your brain are still going to be there. It means that when memories of engaging in substance abuse arise, you could experience a deep yearning to repeat the behaviour.

Cravings are something that most people who break free of addiction will experience from time to time. The good news is that, usually, these cravings become less frequent over time. Those who have reached long-term sobriety can go months without any type of craving arising, although even those who have been sober for decades can occasionally have a craving. These intrusive thoughts do not usually last for long, and there is action you can take to cause them to disappear even faster.

How Long Do They Last

Heroin cravings can start just hours after your last dose.

While this may sound alarming, itâs completely normal when it comes to heroin withdrawal. If you are quitting the substance, be prepared to experience some intense heroin cravings for a while.

Unfortunately, There is no set time limit to how long cravings will last.

For most people, they experience acute withdrawal for several days after quitting heroin.

During acute withdrawal is when the most intense heroin cravings will be experienced. Some people stay in this period for longer than others, but the general time frame ranges from around 3-6 days.

After acute withdrawal, many people experience what is called âPost Acute Withdrawal Syndrome,â or âPAWS.â PAWS symptoms include cravings, insomnia, anxiety, depression, irritability, and fatigue. PAWS can last from weeks to months.

After acute withdrawal and PAWS, cravings become less frequent and less intense. However, someone who was once addicted to heroin may experience cravings off and on for the rest of their life. Or they may stop experiencing cravings after a few months of sobriety. Everyone is different. This is why active recovery is so important.

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Holistic Healing At The Dawn

The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand takes a holistic approach to recovery, helping you to uncover the root causes of your addiction while strengthening your ability to cope with stress and take care of your physical and mental health. Our programmes employ a unique Twin Pillars approach, combining the most effective Western psychotherapies with proven Eastern wellness practises to fully heal your mind and body.

to learn more about how we can help you restore your health and ease you into a lasting recovery.

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Create A Response To The Trigger

Home » Blogs » What Are Drug Cravings and How Can I Cope With Them?

Its very common for people who quit smoking to suck on hard candy or chew gum to give them something to do with their mouths. You can use the same technique to overcome triggers associated with addiction.

Do you feel a craving to use drugs because youre lonely or sad? Go see a comedy or watch one on Netflix to lift your spirits.

Do you want a drink because youre out with friends and youre used to drinking with them? Try getting up and dancing or playing darts instead.

Are you bored? Call a friend, go out for a walk, wander through your local bookstore, or take up a new hobby to fill the time.

You get the idea. If you know that certain things trigger you, you can train yourself to respond with an alternative to relapsing. Over time, youll get used to these new activities, and theyll be second nature to you.

Its not possible to avoid everything that might trigger you or make you crave drugs or alcohol, but that doesnt mean you have to resign yourself to a relapse. The six methods described here can help you learn to cope with them and develop healthy alternatives.

To learn more about how our programs help addicts learn to resist relapses, .

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Learn To Manage Your Triggers And Cravings With Addiction Treatment

To better manage your triggers and cravings, you must be able to recognize and understand them. Every person will experience different triggers and desires, especially during long-term recovery.

While there are ways to learn how to manage triggers and cravings independently, addiction treatment is the most effective way to do so. Addiction treatment facilities offer different cognitive, behavioral, holistic and experiential therapies that teach various complementary ways of navigating and overcoming triggers and cravings.

Addiction treatment will also help you learn how to find positive coping mechanisms when you feel depressed or anxious to prevent relapse from occurring in the future. You will learn to stay sober from drugs and alcohol by challenging triggers as they surface in life. These vital tools will remain with you long after you exit the doors of treatment and return to everyday life.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is a drug and alcohol treatment center that emphasizes the importance of working through personal triggers and cravings while achieving long-term recovery. We offer several different types of programs and therapy options to help individualize your treatment experience. We can help you build the necessary coping skills to overcome your addiction. To learn more, call Pinelands today at 557-5372.

How To Cope With And Manage Your Cravings For Drugs Or Alcohol:

When an addict finds himself in early recovery, coping with cravings causes difficulty focussing. People deal with cravings Even people who only use occasionally crave. Sometimes a craving might be so heavy it feels like you are teetering on the edge of an active volcano. The world might as well end if you dont use. Other times a craving might flow through the mind like the thought of having a slice of pizza. In other words, its no big deal.

There are two types of cravings a person will experience while in recovery.

  • Overt: when you know that you are experiencing a craving.
  • Covert: is when the craving is hidden to you the addict doesnt even know that they want alcohol or other drugs. For example you have been in a meeting for the last 6 hours straight. You have not had a cigarette in 6 hours and you become irritable, edgy, judgmental, obnoxious, and critical of the people you are with and everything just seems to be a little off. Once you are in your car you reach in and grab your cigarettes. You light up and a take that first drag. INHALEEXHALE a calm feeling washes over you and you understand just how big a role nicotine plays in your life.

Now lets examine how cravings are manufactured in our mind.

There are two types of factors that trigger cravings:

  • Internal factors which include feelings, thoughts, or physical sensations or emotions
  • External factors such as people, places, events and objects which trigger memories of experiences.

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The Three Basic Steps Of Urge Surfing:

  • Notice how youre experience the craving. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in a relaxed position. Take a few deep breaths and focus your attention on your body. Notice where in your body you experience the craving or urge and what the sensations feel like. Verbalize what youre experiencing. For example, you could tell yourself: My craving is in my mouth and nose and in my stomach.
  • Focus on one area where youre experiencing the craving. What are the sensations in that area? Describe them to yourself. For example, perhaps you feel hot, cold, tingly, or numb? Maybe your muscles are tense? How large an area is involved? Notice if the sensations change as you focus on them. My mouth feels dry. There is a numbness in my lips. When I swallow, I can imagine the feeling of using.
  • Repeat by focusing on each part of your body that experiences the urge. Describe to yourself how the sensations change, how the urge comes and goes. Many people notice that after a few minutes of urge surfing, their craving has disappeared. The purpose of this exercise, however, is not to make the urge go away but to experience it in a new way. If you regularly practice urge surfing, youll become more familiar with your cravings and find it easier to ride them out until they go away naturally.
  • Keep Drug Triggers And Cravings In Check

    Cravings & Triggers: How to get through them without relapsing – tips for addiction recovery

    Your recovery doesn’t end at getting sober. Your brain still needs time to recover and rebuild connections that changed while you were addicted. During this rebuild, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued recovery by avoiding people, places, and situations that trigger your urge to use:

    Step away from your friends who use. Don’t hang out with friends who are still doing drugs. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety, not those who tempt you to slip back into old, destructive habits.

    Avoid bars and clubs. Even if you don’t have a problem with alcohol, drinking lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which can easily lead to a relapse. Drugs are often readily available and the temptation to use can be overpowering. Also avoid any other environments and situations that you associate with drug use.

    Be upfront about your history of drug use when seeking medical treatment. If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be upfront and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary. You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use or be denied medication for pain if that happens, find another provider.

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    What Are Alcohol And Drug Cravings

    Drug or alcohol cravings are intense desires to use drugs or alcohol, which trigger an urge or intent to use alcohol or drugs. Cravings can be so strong that its difficult for a person to focus on or think about anything else but satisfying the urge to use the substance.2, 3, 23

    Cravings are a symptom of substance use disorders as outlined by the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for substance use disorders .3 The APA explains that cravings can occur at any time, but theyre more likely to occur if you are in an environment where you used to use or obtain the substance.3

    Cravings can be difficult to withstand for people who have a substance use disorder, partly due to the way many addictive substances work in the reward center of the brain.3 Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters in the brain associated with reward, motivation and reinforcement, and repeating pleasurable activities.4 It is naturally released in response to pleasurable activities, like eating or sexual activity.4

    When a person takes drugs or alcohol, the brains reward circuit is activated, resulting in abnormally large amounts of dopamine. This release helps to reinforce the desire to use the substance.

    Many people may relapse because the desire to experience pleasure again, and get relief from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, is so great.

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