Cravings: causes and symptoms of cravings for substance use

Consumption of psychoactive substancesIf it is practiced more or less frequently, it ends up causing the body to build up a tolerance to this substance. This means that in order to achieve the same effects as at the beginning, the administered dose must be gradually increased, or consumption must be spaced so that the body gets used to working without it.

If the body stops consuming or stays with doses that no longer work, a certain type of withdrawal syndrome tends to appear, causing varying levels of discomfort and suffering, with an intense desire to consume the drug. substance in question. It’s a matter of envy.

    What is envy?

    We understand how much the urge to feel urgent and urgent need to perform a certain activity, absence generates anxiety. In the case of drugs, it refers to the intense desire to obtain and consume the substance in question that generates it. This desire does not have to find a behavioral correlate, that is to say it does not have to cause an action that leads to consumption.

    This desire is given in people who are or have had a dependence on a particular substance, Forming an important part in sustaining the addiction process. It can be triggered by the presence of stimuli previously associated with substance use, by stressful events, and even by the absence of sufficient stimulation.

    Desire it can appear even in people who have stopped using. It is usually able to be actively present for up to two years later, although it is usually much more intense between the month and the first year of stopping use. This without taking into account the existence of falls and relapses.

      Causes and contexts of occurrence

      The urge to use drugs it is usually associated with the need caused by one’s abstinenceBut this reason is only one of those that exist. Here are some of the main times when thirst arises.

      1. Withdrawal syndrome

      Abstinence from a substance that your body and mind have become accustomed to can be very difficult.

      If withdrawal from consumption occurs suddenly, Too fast or inappropriate It is common for various symptoms of varying risk to appear. Even if it is given in a structured and correct way, the reduction or not in consumption to feel the effects can cause discomfort, frustration, anxiety or even aggression and under control in the subject. And even if the subject does not try to take off, the gradual increase in the body’s tolerance to the drug leads to the need to increase consumption, causing discomfort in not getting it.

      In all these circumstances, it is common for the urge to appear, in order to avoid or reduce the discomfort associated with non-consumption.

        2. Stimulate conditioning

        Drug use usually occurs in a particular context. Places, activities and even people are ultimately associated with consumption.

        This means that, in the long term, coming into contact with certain types of stimuli elicits the consumer response, revealing the urge to these stimuli, people or situations.

        3. Pursuit of pleasure / avoidance of discontent

        Many people who use drugs start using because it gives them pleasant sensations or to escape trouble concrete. Even if there is no physiological need as in the case of abstinence, a strong desire for consumption can appear in situations of vital suffering, depression or simple boredom. Sometimes it also comes across as a way to try and improve a rewarding experience, such as with sex or food.

        Possible explanations for the desire to consume

        The causes of this phenomenon have been explored and studied by many authors and schools of thought. Some of the possible explanations offered are as follows.

        neuropsychological explanation

        At the neurobiological level, thirst seems to be caused by the adaptation of the nervous system to the substance. The addict who stops consuming maintains various altered brain mechanisms such as the brain reward system and the transmission of hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.

        When consumption ceases or does not occur to a sufficient extent, the body is impaired by the absence of family elements. This causes intense discomfort associated with the missing substance, So that the persistent desire to consume it appears. Over time, if no consumption occurs, the brain returns to a normal state, so the need will not be so high.

          Explanation according to packaging

          Another explanation can be found in the packaging.

          On the one hand, we can observe typical components of conventional packaging, which in this case would cause a link between consumption and the elements of the environment, so that the presence of these elements will evoke consumption. So a desire is aroused repeat the experience in the face of the associated stimulation.

          On the other hand, from the operative conditioning, it can be established that the positive consequences of consumption and its persistent experimentation act as a reinforcement of one’s own consumption while generating the hope of continuously obtaining the same reward and with the same intensity. In its absence, the response of repeated consumption is generated in order to achieve the same effects.

          The cognitive perspective of envy

          A more cognitive view refers to thirst he is mediated by his own self-efficacy expectations and beliefs, Be a key element in explaining information processing.

          One of the most popular cognitive-behavioral models for explaining compelling need is the double-acting model, Which emphasizes that the urge comes on the one hand from the aversive emotional state which causes the withdrawal syndrome or unpleasant events and on the other hand from the positive emotional state generated by the consumption of substances. The events and stimuli of the environment generate the activation of the network of responses and cognitions linked to the appetitive effects of the drug and the aversives of its absence.

          Another possible explanation is found in the cognitive processing model, Which states that among drug addicts, the habit of consuming has been automated, requiring a non-consuming effort. From this point of view, craving is a non-automatic process brought about by the effort not to consume.

          Desire for addiction treatment

          Treating substance dependence it is a difficult and protracted process, Which can be influenced by very different factors such as the type of treatment applied, the individual’s experiences during the period in which it is performed or the perceived social support.

          In this process, abstinence caused great suffering in the person being treated, Suffering which will very powerfully generate the desire or the desire to consume again: the desire.

          Thirst is one of the main causes of fall (consuming once but without necessarily restoring the habit) and relapse (in which the habit of consuming is recovered), it must therefore be particularly taken into account when starting. in place treatment programs. that’s why it is essential to develop relapse prevention programs during any treatment.

          In order to prevent it, we must first inform and educate the patient in which the desire for consumption in the normal and the fact that the desire arises does not imply that the consumption must occur.

          It is also useful to take into account the type of stimuli that facilitate consumption or cause the desire to do so, in order to avoid them or to learn how to use them. manage adaptively without resorting to consumption. Reinforce and empower the patientBesides restoring your sense of control and giving you tools and strategies that will help you deal with stress and resist desire, this is another useful strategy to apply.

          Bibliographical references:

          • Iraurgi, J. and Corcuera, N. (2008). Desire: concept, measure and therapy. Northern Mental Health, 32; 9-22. Pays Basque.
          • River, P. (1987). The motivation for drug use: a psychobiological analysis of emergencies. The Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: Alcohol Use and Abuse. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
          • Sanchez, E .; Molina, N .; of Om, R .; Thomas. V. and Morales, E. (2001). Envy and addiction. Addictive Disorders, vol. 3; 4; 237-243.
          • Tiffany, S. (1990). A cognitive model of emergencies and drug abuse behaviors: role of automatic and non-automatic processes. Psychol Rev, 84, 127-90.

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