Ending drug craving is a major challenge in the treatment of addiction because many patients often relapse because of drug craving. For example, giving in to drug addiction often leads patients to relapse into drug or alcohol use after being in recovery. Demand is closely related to the stimuli in the surrounding environment. Due to these motivations, patients’ demand for drugs increases and it becomes difficult for them to control this demand. Therefore, mastering the skills to deal with addiction is very important in addiction treatment.
Dr. Shahr Heshmat is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, USA. You have a PhD in Managerial Economics. You have done a lot of research on the thoughts and behaviors behind addiction, obesity, weight loss and drug addiction. Your recent book is out titled Eating Habits and Obesity. You are currently working on your new book “Addiction”.
Editor: Iqra Tariq
Our environment greatly influences our attitudes, it plays a very important role in changing our attitudes and changing our intentions. Demand is triggered by environmental cues that seek immediate satisfaction. Uncontrollable internal demand paves the way for wrong decisions in which a person gets confused between his wants and preferences. People are often well aware that they are under the influence of demand, but despite knowing this, they cannot control it.
Watch Dr. Sadaqat Ali’s special program on the topic of drug addiction.
Our preferences are linked to environmental cues such as the smell of a cake being baked, the sound of ice falling into a wine glass, or a bowl of ice cream on the table. All these environmental cues are related to our past habits. For example, if a person used to eat cake in the past, then the smell of cake being made at home will increase his desire to eat cake. This demand will prioritize eating cake over his intention to lose weight. The environment and the consumption of drugs or inappropriate food are closely related. Repeated exposure of a person to drug addiction increases the chances of developing drug addiction. For example, according to research, 75 percent of Las Vegas residents gamble because there are more gambling opportunities and places to play. Similarly, if a drug addict visits a pub, club or casino after treatment where drug supply and use are common, his drug demand will increase. Such an environment can create mental and psychological reactions for him.
Watch Dr. Sadaqat Ali’s special program on the topic of drug addiction on World Anti-Drug Day.
In short, it has been shown that stimuli in the environment increase the demand and make it difficult for patients to defend the demand for addiction, which causes them to relapse. On the other hand, it was also found that by avoiding or changing the stimuli in the environment that increase the demand, the addicts can reduce or eliminate their demand without any mental stress. This is a commonly used simple procedure to change behavior. With this method, people can choose for themselves an environment that will increase or decrease their demand for drugs. For example, alcoholic patients should avoid going to bars or clubs, weight loss people should not keep high calorie food around them etc.