The Difference Between Craving Drugs and Wanting Drugs
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: February 26, 2021

Drug addiction is far more difficult to deal with than many people realize. Individuals who struggle with addiction risk losing control of their careers, relationships, and lives. When people fall deeper and deeper under the spell of substance abuse, friends and family members naturally grow concerned. It’s important to remember that not everyone who uses drugs actually becomes addicted. Some users are able to limit their intake and stay outside the bounds of addiction. The ones who don’t limit their intake of drugs will eventually have unmanageable cravings that affect every aspect of their lives. That craving makes it harder and harder for them to quit the longer and more often they use. For that reason, it’s important to distinguish between a simple want for a drug and a craving for one.

What Does It Means To ‘Want’ A Drug?

In some social situations, people might find themselves wanting to take drugs. Much like social drinking, this sort of drug use may be limited to certain occasions when around others. They aren’t necessarily looking to get high, but to have an experience with friends at that moment. While this sort of drug use isn’t good, it is less concerning than a full-fledged drug addiction. When these situations are spaced out over a long period of time and the drug use doesn’t continue outside of the social situation, addiction doesn’t occur. It’s when those situations become more regular and the drug use continues outside of them that drug addiction becomes a reality.

How Wanting Drugs Is Different From Drug Cravings

Cravings are far more powerful than wants. People who crave drugs have often used them in excess over a period of time. Their bodies have grown accustomed to having the drug. When these users go without, they start experiencing intense drug cravings. Drug cravings can lead to physical and mental health problems. Going without the substance can also lead to withdrawal symptoms. It’s similar to people who are addicted to caffeine getting a headache when they’ve gone without it for a couple of days. With drug cravings, though, the symptoms are much worse. How severe these symptoms get, though, depends on what drugs are being taken and how long the individual has been taking them. These cravings can be triggered by certain people, places, and things. Emotions like anger, sadness and fear can serve as triggers that will spark a craving. Oftentimes these triggers can be surprising and appear to arise out of nowhere placing an individual in a vulnerable state that can easily lead to using.

Curbing Drug Cravings The Safe Way

The fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult for users to commit to quitting drug use. If you or a loved one wants to quit drugs, Lakeview Health can help. Our team of medical professionals will help you through detoxing and rehabilitation. We know how to handle cravings and withdrawal and we want to help. Don’t give into your harsh drug cravings any longer. Call Lakeview Health today at 866.374.0561 and get the help you need to quit.