Drug cravings are persistent curses that come with addiction. These cravings are what take over the addict’s mind and body, preventing them from being able to focus on anything else. If these yearnings weren’t a part of the addiction cycle, more people would be able to conquer their dependency. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, which is why it’s important that cravings are addressed and recovering addicts know how to deal with them.
It can be difficult for the average person to understand the nature of drug cravings. These desires aren’t like any type of want; they gnaw at you and interfere with your ability to live a normal lifestyle unless you satisfy them. Once the craving is satisfied, the addict feels completely fulfilled, that is until the next craving comes along. This dangerous cycle is what contributes to ongoing, long-term drug abuse.
The best comparison is that of hunger. If you have ever been really, really hungry, all you can do is think about the hunger. You can’t focus on anything else as the feelings of hunger continue to grow. This hunger takes over your body, leaving you feeling tired, irritable and weak. Your head hurts; your stomach growls.
If you continue with this, you’ll eventually start thinking about nothing else but food – how it tastes, what it looks like, how it smells. People who have been stranded for days say that they go through in their mind what it would be like to actually eat the food, bite by bite. Once you are able to satisfy your hunger, the feelings go away, and you feel completely satisfied.
Drug cravings mimic this feeling of desperation, but they are even more intense. In order to fulfill this desire, addicts will go through great lengths to get the drug of their choice, whether it be lying, stealing or relapsing. Addicts feel justified in doing this because it’s the only way they can function. The problem is that just a few short hours or days away, the addict will suffer from the same cravings and need to use again.
Managing drug or alcohol cravings is a large part of what recovery is all about. During addiction treatment, patients are taught the various tools that can help during an intense craving, such as meditation, journaling, exercising or speaking to a counselor. These coping skills can be difficult to put into action at first, but over time, recovering addicts learn how to avoid cravings and manage them if they do creep up.
The problem is that even the most devoted recovering addict may still have remnants of the drug left in their body. Even though much of the drug is filtered out through the urine, feces or sweat, some remain in the body and become metabolites. These metabolites can attach to the fatty tissues in the body and stay there for years. They may lay dormant for a while, but when the person has a time of distress, the metabolites can enter the bloodstream and create the desire to use drugs again. This is why some people can be sober for months or years, and all of a sudden, start craving drugs.
Recovery programs often teach addicts to call a professional therapist, counselor or guide to help them through these difficult times. Yet there is another approach, one that offers more hope and certainty for the future. While recovery is integral to combating addiction, detoxification proves to be a strong component in long-term recovery. Unfortunately, detoxification doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
Many treatment facilities don’t provide detox services onsite, but they do expect that patients coming in for treatment have been detoxed. In many cases, there is a time lapse between detox and treatment, placing less importance on the significance of the detox and treatment process as a cohesive unit. When seeking treatment at The River Source, detoxification is a part of our services, allowing patients to receive both detox and treatment without any lapses.
What makes our detoxification program a cut above is that it incorporates a variety of naturopathic treatments, including dry sauna detox. What dry sauna detox does is remove the toxins and impurities from the body in a natural way. When more of these toxins are removed, they have a lesser chance of becoming metabolites and staying in the body.
Of course, the body would be depleted if everything was released from the body, which is why we believe in the combination of dry sauna detox and nutritional IV therapy. The purpose of nutritional IV therapy is to replace the body with vital nutrients that have been lost through addiction and detox.
We hope that more emphasis is placed on the importance of detoxification and its role in long-term sobriety. It’s a vital component in treatment, and by completely ridding the body of these toxins and building the body back up with essential vitamins and nutrients, recovering addicts may have a better chance of succeeding in the real-world and managing cravings.