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Are Cravings and Triggers Connected? What You Need to Know

Addiction is not just an abstract thought. In the medical and psychological fields, addiction is classified as a disease we call substance use disorder (SUD). Addiction is far-reaching. Substances that can be abused may include alcohol or drugs, but activities such as sex and gambling can also become addictions.

In short, SUD includes any substance or activity whose use has sufficiently altered your brain chemistry to cause addiction. But how does that happen? Well, the answer is complex, but the short version is that your brain is trained to expect the pleasurable effects you receive from the substance or activity.

We use the term trigger to describe using a controlled substance or engaging in a harmful activity because of an environmental influence. A trigger can be internal, such as experiencing sadness that leads us to want to feel comforted, or external, such as being in a stressful situation.

Cravings, Triggers, and You

Sometimes certain things like stress can make us crave substances, which we call a trigger. Related to the idea of a trigger is a craving. A craving is the feeling we get when we want to consume something specific. We get cravings all the time, like when we want to eat pizza or go to a summer carnival.

No matter what a person is addicted to, the cause of addiction is the same. When we experience the substance, our brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, a pleasure chemical, into our brain’s reward center. This makes us feel good. But when the dopamine wears off, we crash, and often we find we want to feel that way again.

Process Addictions and Substance Abuse

Substance addictions involve substances, such as medicines, drugs, and alcohol. Process addictions involve stimuli such as gambling or sex. Both substance abuse and process addictions result in the same euphoria, withdrawal, and addiction.

Certain triggers in our environment make us want to consume the substance as a form of escape. When that desire becomes all that we can think about, we call that a craving.

Habits and What You Can Do to Overcome Them

Vices are bad habits we all have. Relying on our vices to get through our daily activities leads to dependence and addiction. It is important instead to learn healthy ways to cope with our daily struggles.

At The Guest House, our care team will develop a plan with you to address your concerns about your vices and help you learn healthy coping strategies. Together, we can overcome the triggers and cravings of substance abuse and help you reach a lifetime of sobriety.

We all have our vices, and most of the time, we do not think about them. However, when we give in to them, we can fall into a spiraling whirlpool of triggers, cravings, and addictions. The professionals at The Guest House know what it takes to help you kick those cravings to the curb and to separate yourself from the triggers that make you want those vices. Hope is possible; all you have to do is ask for help. Call The Guest House care team at (855) 483-7800 to discuss treatment options today.