In most cases, the intrusive thoughts associated with addiction (cravings, disturbing images, etc) go away during the course of recovery.
An alcoholic can self-regulate consumption for periods given the support from a research project, but when that support ends, a return to previous behavior is likely.
Craving has finally been added to the symptom list. I was never entirely clear on why it wasn’t included in DSM-IV, since there’s an impressive body of research on craving measurement.
One study indicated that it could take as little as 33 milliseconds to trigger a craving. If something only lasts three one-hundredths of a second, you’re probably not going to be aware of it.
One thing’s for sure: it’ll be popular, because your typical alcoholic would rather not quit if he could think of an alternative.
It’s not a mystery why so many addicts lapse in those initial months. That’s completely understandable. The important thing is that they climb back on the bike and ride on to success.
Many of the suggestions are counterintuitive (did you know that mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce cravings?), but all of the suggestions are grounded in science.
This short article includes a quick inventory to assess your own problems with craving, and techniques for fighting back and maintaining sobriety.
Would have been easy enough to avoid, had I seen it coming. Unfortunately the brain I was using to make decisions was the addicted one. It was not a friend to recovery.