Addicts who avoid coping with stress succumb to cravings

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 08:50 hrs

People recovering from drug addiction who avoid coping with stress, succumb easily to more cravings, says a new study.

'Cravings are a strong predictor of relapse,' said H. Harrington Cleveland, associate professor of human development, Penn State University (PSU).

'The goal of this study is to predict the variation in substance craving in a person on a within-day basis, as recovery must be maintained one day at a time', added Cleveland.

Cleveland and Kitty S. Harris, director, Centre for the Study of Addiction and Recovery, Texas Tech University, used data from a daily diary study of college students who are recovering addicts to identify the processes that trigger cravings and prevent addicts from building a sustained recovery.

They found that how addicts cope with stress -- either by working through a problem or avoiding it -- is a strong predictor of whether they will experience cravings when faced with stress and negative mood.

'Whether you avoid problems or analyse problems not only makes a big difference in your life but also has a powerful impact on someone who has worked hard to stay away from alcohol and other drugs,' explained Cleveland.

'When faced with stress, addicts who have more adaptive coping skills appear to have a better chance of staying in recovery,' added Cleveland, said a PSU release.

The findings appeared in Addictive Behaviours.

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