Craving And Related Concepts

Craving refers to an intense desire for the drug, expressed as constant, obsessive thinking about the drug and its desired effects, a sense of acute deprivation that can be relieved only by taking the drug, and an urgent need to obtain it. This state is probably induced by exposure to bodily sensations and external stimuli that have in the past been linked to circumstances and situations in which drug use has been necessary, such as self-treatment of early withdrawal symptoms by taking more drug. Drug hunger is essentially synonymous with craving, and urge represents the same phenomenon but of lesser intensity.

The behavioral consequence of an urge or craving is usually a redirecting of the person's thoughts and activities towards obtaining and using a new supply of drug. All the behaviors directed toward this end, such as searching drawers and cupboards for possible remnants of drug, getting money (whether by legal or illegal means), contacting the sources of supply, purchasing the drug, and preparing it for use, are included under the term drug-seeking behavior. The more intense the craving, the more urgent, desperate, or irrational this behavior tends to become.

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