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Are strong cravings the same as withdrawal?

Discussion in 'Withdrawal Symptoms' started by primalclaws1974, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. primalclaws1974

    primalclaws1974 Senior Contributor

    I have long considered myself to NOT be an addicted sort of person. My drug of choice is alcohol, and I generally drink 1-2 times a week. Sometimes, if I go longer than 3 days I will get this stranger feeling in my stomach. It is not the same as hunger, but I cannot describe it in any other way than being hunger-like. I don't have any physical symptoms, like you will sometimes hear about from severe alcoholics. I don't shake, cry out or anything else. It's simply a strong craving. I usually drink within a day of this feeling, and it goes away for a few days. What do you think of this?
  2. Janie

    Janie Active Contributor

    But are you also hungry at the same time? Just wondering because I think I get the feeling you are describing sometimes, it is separate from hunger, but coincidently, I will also be hungry at the same time, if that makes sense. I wonder if anyone else has this too.
  3. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    It could be that this feeling that you get in your stomach is stress related. If you usually have a beer or two when you get stressed then it's likely that your mind has become conditioned to crave a drink every time you experience physical stress symptoms.
  4. Shimus

    Shimus Community Champion

    No they're not the same thing. Withdrawal indicates you're not only a long term user, but a heavy user as well. And withdrawal usually is a lot worse, being feverish, pools of sweat, mentality changes (mood swings of a sort) and beyond. Strong cravings don't even compare, because you can squash cravings.
  5. primalclaws1974

    primalclaws1974 Senior Contributor

    For the record, I am a heavy drinker. No, I am not a daily drinker, but I drink a lot at a time. No, the feeling doesn't have to be associated with food. No, it is not a stress stomachache, I know what that is too. It is most definitely an alcohol craving, I just wasn't sure if it was a mild version of withdrawal. I drink about twice a week, so lately I haven't gone long enough to feel this, but when I am working I drink one day a week, sometimes less. That is when I will feel this gnawing (but slight) pain in my stomach.
  6. valiantx

    valiantx Community Champion

    The word "withdrawal" means "the act to take back," so craving is a mental attempt to take back to drinking ethanol beverages. The body gets rid of a drug addiction far faster than one's mind, because the latter is more elusive, not easy to master, and relapse occurs first in one's mind. That urge or desire in your stomach, primalclaws1974, is something I used to feel for ethanol drinking too, but over the years I've come to understand and discipline myself to be aware of it and then to simply drop it from my mind.
  7. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    Withdrawal and craving are completely seperate. Withdrawal is a physical need in your body to take your drug and get well again. Craving is a feeling that you get when you feel well in the body, and you get a strong urge to use your DOC that sometimes will not go away. Dont get me wrong, a craving can be as powerful as a withdrawal.
  8. primalclaws1974

    primalclaws1974 Senior Contributor

    I don't totally agree that they are completely separate. A person obviously gets cravings to start the withdrawal. They may not be the same, per se, but they are closely linked, at least in the sense I am discussing. You might be looking at a craving as something anyone can have, for example a strong urge to eat something sweet. But this is a deeper urge than that. Maybe I am not able to express myself properly. Does anyone understand what I am driving at?
  9. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    My withdrawal does not start with a craving. I can forget about Heroin altogether until my body starts to remind me I need a fix. When I am stable on my methadone and no longer get the withdrawal, thats when my craving starts, this is why I see them as seperate. Sometimes the craving gets that bad, I end up using, even though I know I shouldn't, but as you say it goes much deeper than just making a decsion.
  10. Shimus

    Shimus Community Champion

    Realizing what that craving is, and what it is for is half of the fight. Locate what it is and work towards eliminating it to begin with, at the source. Such things as music, hobbies, and sports can you keep your unwanted attentions focused elsewhere, or help to lessen the burden of the cravings. It is not nearly the same as withdrawals, I used to help at a facility designed to break long term meth users of their habits. THAT is some nasty withdrawals. Cravings can be crushed, or rerouted. Withdrawal cannot - it cripples the life of the one withdrawing.
  11. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    This may sound kind of ridiculous, but have you been hungry at the time of this sensation? I know of people who thought they were going through withdrawals/having cravings when it turns out they were actually just hungry. Also, cravings are much easier to deal with than withdrawals because cravings can be stopped easily, unlike withdrawals.
  12. OhioTom76

    OhioTom76 Senior Contributor

    I've always considered the withdrawal symptoms as more like the hangover symptoms you get from drinking a lot the night before. It's that "coming down" feeling where you start becoming depressed and feeling like crap, and just want another drink or another dose of whatever drug you are doing to keep the buzz going as long as possible.

    I'm pretty sure the heavy sweating is due to your body trying to rid itself of all the toxins in your system. The shakes I get from heavy drinking are usually just from the fact that I was up all night and never got any sleep, plus once the alcohol starts to wear off, my anxiety kicks in which in turn makes me nervous and I start overreacting and going into panic mode.

    Cravings for me, are a little different. I may have sobered up by then, and had a few meals and a few good nights of sleep and feel otherwise back to normal. But if I know something such as some booze or drugs are around, I may start getting pings/cravings for them. What will really set me off though is if I've had a really stressful day and then I start craving a drink to calm my nerves down.
  13. musicmonster

    musicmonster Senior Contributor

    It could be one of those symptoms. But it is not always the basis. I saw it happened to one of my friends as well. Eventually, it toned down.
  14. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    I would agree that strong cravings may be triggered when a person suddenly stops taking something they were previously addicted to. On the one hand, it may have something to do with a need to forget a source of discomfort or sorrow. When people run away from something, there's a strong desire to dull their pain and not feel anything.
  15. Charity

    Charity Member

    Cravings are different than withdrawls. In fact, Withdrawls will lead to DTs if you are not careful and those need to be treated. The cravings is your body telling you want to have something, just like candy you may have a strong craving for it, but you can defeat the craving. The withdrawls is your body telling you that you need to have the item even if you do not want to have it.
  16. Brady2121

    Brady2121 Active Contributor

    Usually a craving is something you want. A withdrawal is the need for something, whether you want it or not. Hence, why it's so hard to quit smoking.
  17. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Well you have boundaries with alcohol. People who drink in excess are getting all these symptoms because they have way too much. It is much better to not have an addictive personality to things.
  18. Cheeky_Chick

    Cheeky_Chick Community Champion

    I have read what a lot of others above have said, but I am not entirely sure whether I agree with them or not. I think that if you have any kind of symptom, and you have to drink for it to go away, it is a withdrawal symptom, and means that you have an addiction. To be honest, it doesn't particularly matter whether you put a label on it or not, if you need alcohol for any reason, you should try to get help before it becomes a problem for you again. It is much easier to catch in the early stages.
  19. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Are strong cravings the same as withdrawal? This was the original question. Sometimes I forget this when I get into a thread and read the rest. Strong cravings are part of withdrawal. It is a symptom and side effect. It is part of the addiction. If it didn't happen there would be no addiction.