Cravings are generally misinterpreted. When we feel the desire for ice-cream or a need to go out into the sunshine, we often express it as a craving. However, when it comes to addiction, craving is a physical need that is often almost impossible to get past. A recent American study showed that by putting pictures of drugs in front of a user, you could activate a craving in them. This shows that when it comes to beating drugs, there is more to the process than just the initial healing.
Dealing with cravings is a very important part of rehab. Some facilities give patients medication to help them deal with cravings, while others will try to introduce conditioning, swapping an unhealthy addiction for a healthy one, such as eating carrot sticks or knitting. However, when it comes to cravings, for an addict, this can feel like the brain has been hijacked by drug-addicted elves. The desire for drugs seems impossible to overcome and the only way to quiet the brain is to give it what it wants.
These cravings are not permanent though and eventually, they do die down. This is a process that can take many years and usually requires a therapy group or a sponsor to be on hand so that the addict has somewhere to go and talk about the craving. At the time that it occurs, a craving can seem like the most important thing in an addict’s life. They may struggle to think about anything else, they may become agitated and angry, and they may even cry or become desperate.
This condition is not permanent though and by simply battling the craving the first time, a user has already won half the battle. This does take a lot of internal strength though, which is why battling a craving is best done in rehab. The need for drugs to satisfy cravings can be beaten, but it takes a lot of work on the part of the user, and can be one of the most difficult parts of the rehab process. This is something an addict will have to battle for the rest of their lives.