Tag Archives: cravings

Skills to deal with Anxiety, Distress and Cravings

Posted on February 1, 2016

– Reposted from the Center for Motivation & Change blog

Changing your relationship with substances or any compulsive behavior pattern takes time and practice.

storm_smartblog

When you first start to reduce or abstain from the behavior you are trying the change, you will likely have lots of “craving” to return to it. These moments of craving will happen when you are triggered by external (places, people, situations) and internal (certain mood or feeling states) cues that are associated with the behavior you are trying to change.

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To Tame An Urge

Posted on November 3, 2015

Magnifying glass on the word Redefine and related terms such as revise, redo, revisit, review, reposition, rethink, reconsider, reinvent, remodel and reevaluate

We all have triggers. It might be a situation or an emotion; a sight, sound or smell; a holiday or a time of day. Something that our brain learned over time to associate with our addictive behavior, and that it needs to unlearn as we start to break that connection. For me, it was cocktail receptions. They weren’t the only situation I associated with drinking – far from it – but they were one of the toughest. At the end of a long day at a conference, having watched what felt like 11,000 nearly-identical presentations in a row (and gulping down way too much coffee in order to stay alert) those clinking glasses and twinkling lights exerted a powerful pull. And the few times I ‘slipped’ after I quit (fortunately, one-drink slips) were at cocktail receptions. After the second time it happened, I knew I had to confront the situation…by avoiding it. Continue reading

Craving

Posted on July 7, 2015

 

Staying in control of your decisionsThe four points of SMART are points, not steps, and the idea is to work on all of them as needed, often at the same time. That said, their order makes sense for someone just starting on their journey toward freedom from an addiction. First they have to build motivation to abstain from the addictive substance or behavior and then they need to be able to cope with urges they will inevitably experience. In this second of four posts on the points of SMART, I’m going to talk about some of the techniques the program offers to those struggling with urges so they don’t have to rely on some vague idea of “willpower.”

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Take Control of Your Cravings

Posted on December 27, 2011

Take the First Step to Take Control of Your Cravings
by Julie Myers, PsyD

Urge Log

Cravings are controlled by a variety of brain chemicals, including norepinephrine, dopamine, and glutamate. Many people describe their cravings as coming out of nowhere, as if these chemicals pop into their brains and create cravings spontaneously.

These chemicals and the manifestations of cravings are actually triggered by stimuli from external environmental cues and internal mood states, particularly anxiety, irritability, and dysphoria. Environmental cues can include familiar people, places or things, (e.g., being in a favorite place that you used to use). Environmental triggers are often easier to identify than internal mood states, particularly if the moods are subtle. For example, a mildly irritating discussion may be enough to trigger a craving, although it may be difficult to identify this discussion as the trigger.

So does this mean that you are at the mercy of the environment and your own internal mood states? Absolutely not! It means that you can minimize your cravings by employing ways to control your environment and modify your mood. You have the power to choose what people, places and things you expose yourself to that might trigger a craving. You also have the power to recognize and change your own reactions, thereby changing your mood state.

The first step is to identify your specific triggers. Try keeping a simple log of your cravings. What environmental cue did you encounter? What were you feeling? Sit down and write it down. Think about it backwards, from the time that the craving hit, backwards until you can identify something you believe triggered that craving.

If you can identify your triggers, you have taken the first step to taking control of your cravings.

Reprinted with permission:
Copyright (2011) Julie Myers, PsyD: Psychologist in San Diego. All Rights Reserved