A craving is an urge or powerful desire - it is something you feel when you are hungry. When a substance like drugs or alcohol or engagement in a behavior is viewed as a vital part of daily routine - an absolute need in your life - it becomes a craving.
Unfortunately, using drugs or alcohol or engaging in a particular behavior may temporarily relieve the craving, but it can create a continuous cycle that leads to more cravings.
How can you tell when a craving is developing into addiction?
While a craving is a powerful desire, addiction is the continued use of a substance or engagement in a behavior regardless of negative impacts such as problems in relationships, health problems, or even harm.
Cravings are one sign of an addiction problem. Individuals addicted to drugs, alcohol or behaviors also experience other symptoms, like not being able to stick to limits, increased tolerance and continued use despite negative consequences. The simplest way to define addiction is when the four C's are present: compulsion, craving, consequences, and control loss.
How can someone avoid becoming addicted?
Cravings are found at the root of addictive behaviors. Managing and taking control of cravings can be the difference between halting or giving in to an addiction.
Cravings for substance use or behaviors can be triggered by:
People & Places
Emotions: Stress, Boredom & Guilt
HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
Triggers that spark a craving can be different for everyone, but most common are emotional, environmental, or mental triggers.
Knowing your triggers for cravings can help you manage them. While it’s not always possible to avoid every trigger, you may be able to prepare yourself in advance if you know you will be faced with one.
When to ask for help.
Cravings, if accompanied by other symptoms, may indicate a substance use disorder. Even though cravings can be powerful, they cannot force you to use drugs, alcohol or partake in certain behaviors. Taking actions to reduce craving intensity and avoiding triggers can help you gain control over them.
If you think that you may be dealing with an addiction problem, speak to an addiction specialist about your concerns.
If you or a loved one need help with substance abuse or addiction, Care Addiction Center can help you along every step of the way. Call our Illinois rehab today at 630-402-0144.