Cravingsa Cause for Addiction
Cravingis one of the problems of addiction. In psychology, craving refers tothe desire to use specific substance such as heroin, food,or do a specific behavioral activity such as shopping, gambling, orsex. If cravings were not there, then most people would be cleanafter becoming addicts.  In addition, the people quitting thesubstance use would succeed in remaining sober for a long time. Theelimination or reduction of the cravings is very important to peoplewho wish to get off the addiction.  However, it is important tounderstand what behavioral addiction is, the relationship betweendifferent theories and cravings, and why people find it had to changeonce they are addicted.
Processor behavioral addiction
Processaddiction is a behavior obsession. This is a condition whereby aperson depends on a particular behavior such as, gambling,sexual activity, shopping, eating disorders, internet, and many more.This form of addiction people do not use of alcohol or substancedrug.  However, the addiction has similar characteristics as ofsubstance addiction. For example, just as a person who uses asubstance drug has cravings, the same thing happens to people withbehavior addiction because they too have cravings for the particularbehavioral addiction.   Behavior addiction faces a lot ofcontroversy. However, people need to consider behavior addition inthe same way as substance addiction. This is because the cravings inboth conditions need psychological treatment to be able toovercome it.
Forexample, the reaction of nicotine found in cigarettes inthe brain receptors may activate the reward system. This brain regionmanages how people react to pleasurable behaviors that are healthysuch as, eating and sex(Alavi, Ferdosi, Jannatifard, Eslami, Alaghemandan,& Setare, 2012). However,the nicotine in the cigarettes stimulates neurons found inside thereward system releasing the signaling chemical called dopamine atvery high levels than as usually observed to a natural stimuliresponse. This high level of dopamine in the brain is what makespeople crave for the substance drug. The same is true for a personwith a behavior addiction. The reward system releases the chemical athigh levels making the person crave for that addictive activity.
Theseare rules that people in a given society or group useto find proper or inappropriate attitudes, values,behaviors and attitudes. Failure of a person to follow the rules canlead to punishment or isolation of the person from the society. Thesocial norm theory states that wrong perception of how other peoplein the society act and think can influence a person’s behavior.These misconceptions may involve behaviors, attitudes, alcohol, drugsubstance use, eating disorders and many more (Littrell, 2014). Thetheory notes that people overestimate the tolerance of peer behavioror attitude when it comes to drug use, alcohol, and other behavioralproblems. In addition, it states that people underestimate thedominance of healthy behaviors and attitudes.  This discouragespeople from trying to change to positive behaviors. The theory’smain aim to help people change these misconceptions and help peoplebehave in the expected way. For example, they encourage people thatthey are able to stop these cravings by receiving correctinformation in a believable way. This is possible through campaignsand rehabilitation facilities (Littrell, 2014).
Thistheory assumes that substance addiction is a progressive chronicdisease that is the similar to other chronic diseases such ascardiovascular diseases and cancer. Addiction is a medical diseasethat involves abnormality in the brain functioning whereby theoutcome leads to behavioral impairment of the person. One of thecharacteristics of addiction in this model is that the addict is notable to control their use of drug or alcohol. In addition, the personis unable to control their cravings to take drugs or drink alcohol.The disease model defines cravings, which is the main argument forthe model as an overpowering desire, or a feeling that makespeople to do anything to be able to get the object that iscausing the addiction. The disease model is essential to the valuesof Narcotic Anonymous and Alcoholic Anonymous. This theory presumesthat the cravings and the inability to be in control areirreversible. In addition, it states that there is no cure for thecondition. Therefore, the addict is to abstain from all form of drugsthat are interfering with the mind. The use of substance drugs havedifferent impact on the emotions, cognitive, spiritual and socialfunctioning of the addict. In the same way as other diseases, theaddict health deteriorates slowly unless the person joins a supportgroup or enters treatment.
Theharm reduction theory operates from the fact that most addicts cannottotally stop the use of the substance. Therefore, it’s main aim isto find ways to be able to cut the harm. Harmreduction model is against approaches of treatment that advocate fortotal abstinence. They do not expect the addicted person to stopusing the addictive substance totally. For example, they advocatenicotine addicts to use gum, lozenges, and patches because theseproducts will help reduce the cravings they feel. This is better thanchewing or smoking nicotine directly. They have introducednone smoking areas to help the victims avoid places wherepeople are allowed to smoke, since such places wouldincrease their craving levels. They also tend to help reduce thelevel of intake of the addictive substance until the victim is wellor is on moderate level. They have education for the addict on thesafe use of equipment, this helps reduce harm such as theexchange programs for needles, whereby they have sites whereby theaddicts can go get clean syringes.
Tobe able to overcome a person’s addiction a developmental process isinvolved. Most medicine suppresses the cravings while prolonging theaddict’s addiction in an altered disguise. Recovery comes fromenlightening insights, openness, and perspective change. Thisrevolution aims at getting alcoholics and drug addicts joining peersupport groups. These groups are involved in abstaining basedprograms of recovery such as, the Cocaine Anonymous, NarcoticAnonymous, and Alcoholic Anonymous. These groups are attracting otheraddict to join by hearing the experiences of others who havesucceeded to abstain. They also advocate that many of the currentsocial and health issues need more than medication drugs.
Thealcoholics and addicts know they are required to change ifthey are to have a better life but they did not know how to do it.However, today they are following their peers’ footstepand using the same path, to get what their peers have, addictionfreedom. Peer based supports are doing a lot to help the addicts stopthe cravings that cause the addictions and avoid relapse to thesubstance use again. The addicts are able to meet this byknowing what causes the cravings, find ways to prevent setbacks,building confidence, and avoiding places that may increase thecravings for the drug or alcohol use.  In addition, the supportgroups’ processes have helped the addicted people to becomeresponsible people in the society since they are in control of thecravings. To add-on, they have become role models to others inthe society.
Traditionaltreatment approaches to diverse population.
Inthe United States of America, there are different people who livethere based on gender, culture, ethnicity, age, geographical place,religion, and many more. Therefore, before designing a goodpreventive or treatment service for an addict, it is important forthe medical team to consider these differences. This is because aperson’s use of the alcohol or drugs may be linked tothese differences and may be the reason to why they arecraving for the substance. One of the boards that deal withaddictions (NAADAC) has come up with different ways in which peoplewith diverse background can get good treatment (Franken,2003).
Thecode of ethics demands that counselors and health workers shouldrespect the client’s diverseness when they are analyzing and givingthe best option for treatment. The disease model is a good example oftraditional treatment method that uses total abstinence from thesubstance. However, before 1970 the older methods of addictiontreatment did not put a lot of consideration to the client’sgender, race, or cultural issues when treating the patient andhelping them overcome their cravings. There was no relevance toconsider culture when treating the addict. In addition, sometreatments programs were not relevant to some communities. Therefore,they did not work to the best interest of the addict.
Currentapproaches to diverse population.
Nowadaysthe medical care has been able to introduce individualized treatmentprograms that concentrate on the specific client’s needs. Inaddition, the new treatment approaches concentrates on the needs ofracial people, women, and even the minority in the community. The useapproaches that evidence based. The methods of treatment involvebehavioral therapy, pharmacotherapy, motivational interviews,recognition of effects that cause substance disorder use and manymore.  Harm reduction, relapse prevention, and the 12-stepplan are used to train clients on ways they canbe able to find and deal with triggers, signal, andcravings from the substance.
Addictionon drugs or a particular behavior is a chronic disease that ischaracterized with uncontrollable craving for the substance inthe drug. The addicts genuinely volunteer to join the treatmentprogram to be able to overcome the cravings. However, someare unable to complete the treatment this is because of the prolongeduse of the drug. In addition, the addict visiting places that peopleuse the drug may increase the cravings need to the addict. Therefore,good treatment programs should find ways to be ableto find triggers and ways to manage the cravings. This willhelp in getting the best treatment for the patient(Littrell, 2014).
Forthe addict who has decided to change should know that it is a processand there is no single treatment that can work for everyone. Theaddict should be committed to follow the program for totalrecovery from the craving needs. There are varieties of places theaddict can go for treatment depending on the duration they have beenon the drug. It is important for the addict to know that they cannotovercome the cravings for addiction alone. Therefore, they should getsupport from family and close friends, be in environments that aredrug free such as sober homes, change friends, and join a supportrecovery group. However, researchers should also find ways to explainwhat makes the cravings lead the recovering addicts to start usingthe drug again after a given period and help get a permanent solutionfor it.
Fromthe above it is obvious that cravings are major problem for addicts.Most of the addicts who want to overcome the craving shouldseek for help because it can lead to relapse. Research has shown thatthere are different theories that can help people understand thecravings found in the addict. In addition, some theories consideraddiction as a chronic disease. Therefore, when receiving treatmentit is recommended that it should be personalized dependingwith the needs of the person. To be able to overcome and get fullrecovery it is advisable for the addict to change friends, joinrecovery groups, avoid places that would trigger and increase thecravings desire. It is important for the addicts to know they can getcured from the craving that cause addiction if the addict follows tothe end their treatment program despite the time duration involved.
Littrell,J. (2014). Understandingand Treating Alcoholism: Volume I: An Empirically Based Clinician`sHandbook for the Treatment of Alcoholism: volume Ii: Biological,Psychological, and Social Aspects of Alcohol Consumption and Abuse.Psychology Press.
Sayette,M. A. (2015). The Role of Craving in Substance Use Disorders:Theoretical and Methodological Issues. AnnualReview of Clinical Psychology, 12(1).
Alavi,S. S., Ferdosi, M., Jannatifard, F., Eslami, M., Alaghemandan, H., &Setare, M. (2012). Behavioral addiction versus substance addiction:Correspondence of psychiatric and psychological views. Internationaljournal of preventive medicine, 3(4),290.
Franken,I. H. (2003). Drug craving and addiction: integrating psychologicaland neuropsychopharmacological approaches. Progressin Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 27(4),563-579.