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Understanding Triggers and Cravings.
Brain Changes: Prefrontal Cortex
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) allows the individual to plan and execute goal-directed behaviors as a function of changing internal needs
Imaging studies implicated disruption in multiple regions of the PFC
This may underlie the
inflexible behavior when faced with conditioned cues
disruption in inhibitory control that results in impulsivity and poor control over behavior in addicts,
impaired decision making
impairment in internal awareness and error detection
Neuroplastic changes triggered by repeated drug use
Definition of AddictionAmerican Society of Addiction Medicine
The Addictive Process
Introductory phase
Maintenance phase
Disenchantment phase
Disaster phase

Cognitive ProcessBeginning Stages of Addiction
Cognitive ProcessDisenchantment
Stimuli/Triggers and Generalization
Engaging in a behavior that produces dopamine release produces a reward, so you are likely to do it again.
Generalization occurs when a reminder (stimulus) for the behavior occurs in different settings

Drink with friends  euphoria
At a social event  want to relax  drink
Feeling stressed  drink to relax
With friends who drink  drink
Gators Win –Gators Lose — Gators Off
Progressive Phases of Addiction
Stages of Recovery
Lasts 1 to 2 weeks
Low energy
Difficulty sleeping
Increased appetite
Difficulty concentrating
Honeymoon (Pink Cloud)
Lasts about 4 weeks
Increased energy, enthusiasm, and optimism
People often feel they are “cured” when they reach this stage
Family members often view this as the beginning of a relapse
Often coincides with discharge from residential
The Wall
Lasts about 12 to 16 weeks
Hardest stage of recovery (Reconditioning)
Low energy
Loss of enthusiasm
Easily overwhelmed
Body and brain still recovering from effects of substances
High risk of relapse
8 weeks or longer
The person in recovery and the family begin returning to more normal lifestyle
After extended abstinence, the person in recovery and family members begin working on marital, emotional, and psychological issues that will strengthen the family
Relapse Issues for People in Recovery
Lack of self care
Addiction causes changes in the brain
Using produces feelings of escape or euphoria which become associated with people, places and things.
When exposed to those people, places or things, people may begin to have cravings
When faced with unpleasant emotions or situations, people may also have cravings
Recovery involves creating new associations and developing new ways to feel good and deal with stress.