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Louisville Drug Rehabs

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Am I Experiencing Drug Cravings?

Am I Experiencing Drug Cravings?When Louisville residents begin using drugs for recreational or mood-enhancing purposes, they generally believe they will be able to maintain control. They assume they will be able to use drugs when they choose to and stop when they wish. Unfortunately, the body begins to adapt to the presence of drugs in the system, and one of the results of that adaptation is drug cravings.

A craving is essentially a strong desire or yearning for something. Cravings can be primarily psychological, based on memories of pleasant experiences, or they can be physically based, as when someone working in the hot sun craves water. Drug cravings often have both components.

Drug cravings often involve a sense of anxiety. There may also be depression and irritability. Individuals addicted to drugs begin to believe that they can only relieve these feelings with another dose of their drug of choice.

What Causes Drug Cravings?

Biologically, drug cravings are based on brain changes instituted by the drug and by the body’s adaptation to those changes. Although different drugs have varying mechanisms of actions, most drugs of abuse produce their effects by altering neurotransmitter levels in some way. Often a drug will increase the level of a neurotransmitter far above what could be produced by a natural reward. The body senses that it is out of balance and adapts, often by decreasing the amount of neurotransmitters produced or by altering receptor cells. The result of this adaptation is that over time, the body only feels biochemically in balance when the drug is present in the body, and when it isn’t, drug cravings occur.

Sometimes drug cravings seem to come out of the blue. They may, however, be triggered by cues that are too brief to be registered by the conscious brain. In 2008, researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that they were able to determine through brain imaging that cocaine-related pictures triggered activity in emotional centers of the brain of addicted individuals. This occurred even when the people involved were unaware that they had seen anything drug-related.

Options for Louisville Residents Overcoming Drug Cravings

Drug cravings can be a significant challenge to overcome in recovery. As the brain heals, cravings usually decrease in intensity and frequency, but may continue to occur. One of the components of a quality addiction treatment program is relapse prevention, and a large part of that is generally learning strategies to help manage cravings. This includes learning to “urge surf,” distract, and ask for help when needed. There are also medications that help reduce cravings for many abused drugs.

Help Is Available for Louisville Residents

No matter how dependent you have become on drugs or alcohol, help is available, and counselors who staff our toll-free helpline can assist you in finding it. They can answer your questions and help you understand your options. They’re available 24 hours a day, so there’s never a wrong time to call. Why not call now?

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