How can a former addict “disarm” the desire for rapid relief when faced with overwhelming pressures, fear, or temptation from formerly known associates? What triggers such a strong emotion in the first place?
Those questions are addressed in the video below. Watch Dr. Von Stieff, author of Brain In Balance: Understanding the Genetics and Neurochemistry Behind Addiction and Sobriety, explain the triggers of a relapse and how to disarm them before they happen.
The triggers of a drug relapse: fear, anxiety, and panic attacks
If you or a loved one has recently gone through an addiction control therapy or rehabilitation, you most likely were informed about how to “manage” the impulse to relapse. But is it possible to control cravings for the substance?
It is possible to control cravings for drugs and alcohol
Evading relapse and maintaining craving control is possible, with the right tools and the right knowledge.
The journey to recovery starts with an understanding of addiction itself. Any addiction treatment program should have as its focus the helping of an individual to gain control over their cravings. To help reset the neurotransmitters that drive the behavior behind cravings.
Cravings are like signs on the road to successful addiction treatment. Good news, that means good progress is being made in rewiring the dynamics that drive addiction! Almost infallibly, the source of a strong surge of cravings is a deep-seated fear or anxiety triggered by some memory. When this happens, as Dr. Von Stieff mentioned in the video above,
“open your eyes, look around in the room and say, ‘what’s the threat?'”
By understanding which substances an individual is craving, doctors can determine what kind of neurochemical imbalance the patient has and from there address the appropriate brain receptors.
Why does this work? Over time, the individual has “trained” the brain to feel alleviated when taking certain substance, so when the cravings begin, it is a sign that the body is once again calling for a “fix” or a re-balancing of the neurochemical composition.
Addiction can be inherited genetically
Noteworthy is the role genetics play in this “training”, since such training in the brain’s pleasure receptors may well have begun before the individual was ever born.
We are not talking about predestination. We are talking about the way the brain works as a great, complex processor. As explained in the book, Brain in Balance, often times, the neurochemical imbalance(s) of a chemically dependent individual starts off as something he or she is born with.
Prolonged drug use then aggravates the imbalance to a further, often dangerous, degree. Detoxifying individuals using medications that make the process safe and less painful helps the person to reset their neurochemicals back to their original levels.
Gaining control over cravings = preventing drug addiction relapse
With a good addiction treatment program, an individual can hit the reset button on the pleasure receptors of the brain, as it were. But addictions are often times more than just a chemical imbalance as you saw explained in Dr. Von Stieff’s video above. A psychological factor then remains as the next phase of rehabilitation.
By expert observation, a qualified drug addiction specialist can then determine what is the source of their neurochemical imbalance.
- is this individual’s neurochemical imbalance genetic, something they were born with
- or did the neurochemical imbalance arose simply because of prolonged drug use
Whatever the case, in order to prevent a relapse and maintain successful control over their cravings, a recovering individual needs a treatment plan tailored to their unique cravings.
Share these excerpts from Brain in Balance with a relative, physician, or friend.