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Understanding and Managing Cravings in Addiction Recovery

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Cravings are a common occurrence in addiction recovery. They are an intense desire or urge to use drugs or engage in other addictive behaviors. Cravings can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, boredom, social situations, and emotional distress. They can be difficult to manage, but it is possible to overcome them with the right tools and support.

Understanding Cravings

Cravings are a normal part of addiction recovery. They are a result of changes that occur in the brain during addiction. The brain becomes accustomed to the effects of drugs or addictive behaviors and begins to crave them. This is due to changes in the reward system and other areas of the brain that regulate emotion and motivation.

Cravings can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:

1. Stress: Stressful situations can trigger cravings by increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

2. Boredom: Boredom can lead to cravings as a way to fill time and provide stimulation.

3. Social situations: Being around people who use drugs or engage in addictive behaviors can trigger cravings.

4. Emotional distress: Emotional distress, such as anxiety or depression, can trigger cravings as a way to cope with the negative feelings.

Managing Cravings

Managing cravings is an important part of addiction recovery. There are several strategies that can be helpful in managing cravings, including:

1. Distract yourself: Engaging in activities that you enjoy can help distract you from cravings. This can include exercise, reading, or spending time with friends.

2. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help you become more aware of your cravings and better able to manage them.

3. Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can trigger cravings.

4. Seek support: Support from friends, family, or a therapist can be helpful in managing cravings. They can provide encouragement and help you stay accountable.

5. Change your environment: Changing your environment, such as avoiding places or people that trigger cravings, can be helpful in managing cravings.

Cravings are a normal part of addiction recovery, but they can be managed with the right tools and support. By understanding the triggers of cravings and practicing healthy coping mechanisms, you can overcome cravings and maintain sobriety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please reach out to Sarasota Addiction Specialists at (941) 444-6560 or visit our website at for more information and support. We are here to help.


1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. Retrieved from

2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from

3. American Addiction Centers. (2021). How to Manage Cravings in Recovery. Retrieved from

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