Do Cravings Define Addiction?

Hand Reaching for Drugs

A study published in The Journal of Pain, the peer-review journal of the American Pain Society, reported that individuals who take opioid analgesics but are not dependent or addicted, often have cravings to take more medication. They concluded there is no clear evidence that cravings are a sign of drug addiction, as individuals have reported drug cravings even though they are not addicted. While this leaves open the question of what The Journal of Pain authors mean by “addiction,” it is clear that cravings are involved with addiction.

Segan’s Medical Dictionary defines a craving as “a strong desire to consume a particular substance—e.g., of abuse (cocaine)—or food (chocolate); craving is a major factor in relapse and/or continued use after withdrawal from a substance of abuse and is both imprecisely defined and difficult to measure.”

When one moves from wanting another piece of chocolate, despite one’s promise to maintain a diet, to being driven to get another fix of heroin or cocaine to escape from the pain of withdrawal, it is clear one has crossed the line into addiction.

The Life Cycle and Mechanics of Addiction published by Narconon Louisiana, concurs and states that cravings for a drug are the first barrier to recovery. The first challenge for any addict wishing to kick his or her addiction is overcoming the mental and physical cravings for drugs or alcohol. An addict who is craving drugs may feel like life itself is dependent on getting and taking their preferred drug.

Additionally, the body stores drug toxins which accumulate after repeated drug use. These toxins will put stress on many of the body’s systems, resulting in fatigue, aches, pains and unclear thinking. The addicted person has learned to “medicate” their mental or physical problems with drugs. Therefore, they will continue to use drugs as a solution whenever they feel poorly and the continued use of drugs results in the addict feeling poorly—a vicious repeating cycle.

Whether studies are done by individuals who have experienced addiction as well as the pain of withdrawal from drugs or by the American Pain Society, the facts remain the same. Those who start down the path of addiction and continue unchecked will eventually be faced with so many unpleasant circumstances that each sober moment is filled with despair and misery, continuing the addict’s decline.

To arrest this decline and give an addict help in reversing their dwindling spiral, call Narconon Louisiana for information on what you can do for yourself or a loved one. Substance abuse counselors are available to take your call and provide you with information to help you in your situation, whatever that may be.

Call for help.