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(p. 143) Facts About Cravings  

(p. 143) Facts About Cravings
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date: 16 November 2019

Adapted from Baker, Kay-Lambkin, Lee, & Jenner (2003)

  1. 1. Cravings/urges to use are a natural part of reducing/stopping drug use. This means that you are no more likely to have any more difficulty in altering your drug use than anybody else does. Understanding cravings help people to overcome them. They are not a sign of failure. Instead, try to learn from them about what your craving “triggers” are.

  2. 2. Cravings are the result of long-term drug use and can continue long after quitting. So, people with a heavier history of use will experience stronger urges.

  3. 3. Craving can be triggered by: people, places, things, feeling, situations or anything else that has been associated with using in the past.

  4. 4. Craving are like waves at the beach. Every wave/craving starts off small, and builds up to its highest point, and then it will break and flow away. Each individual craving rarely lasts beyond a few minutes.

     Facts About Cravings

  5. 5. Craving will only lose their power if they are NOT strengthened (reinforced) by using. Each time a person does something other than use in response to a craving, the craving will lose its power. The peak of the craving wave will become smaller, and the waves will be further apart. This process is known as extinction.

     Facts About Cravings

  6. (p. 144) 6. Craving only get stronger if you give in and “feed” them. That is, craving are like a stray cat – if you keep feeding it, it will keep coming back.

     Facts About Cravings

  7. 7. Abstinence from drugs is the best way to ensure the most rapid and complete extinction of cravings.

  8. 8. Cravings are most intense in the early part of quitting/cutting down, but people may continue to experience craving for the first few months and sometimes even year after quitting.

  9. 9. Each craving will not always be less intense than the pervious one. Be aware that sometimes, particularly in response to stress and certain triggers, the peak can return to the maximum strength but will decline when the stress subsides.