Though it’s not an uncommon piece of an experience in trying to recover from an addiction, the phrase “dysregulated behavior” may not ring bells for everyone. All this means is that the individual exhibits a response to certain stimulants that isn’t kept in check. Unfortunately, cravings are already difficult to manage and can arise seemingly without warning or prompting no matter how good the recovering person has been about avoiding them. So, why do these instances occur?

Cravings Make It Hard to Recover from an Addiction

Over-indulging in alcohol and drugs can be dysregulated behaviors. With or without the label of “addiction,” those who are struggling to end these and other behaviors are often judged, sometimes harshly, by those who haven’t experienced similar difficulties. However, “people who have never felt controlled by a dysregulated behavior often don’t understand why the behavior can feel so impossible to stop.” The truth of the matter is that ending an unhealthy relationship with a substance is made infinitely more difficult with this kind of negative, outside viewpoint.

Those who, more often than others, experience these periods of strong cravings are thought to be those who experience emotions more intensely. These people also (though not in all cases) may have been raised in an environment of abuse or neglect or in which their emotions were routinely invalidated by others, such as parents or guardians.

One of the most crucial pieces for an “outsider” to understand is that “distraction and willpower will often only work for a short time.” However, after a while, the cravings will become insurmountable unless there is some way to remove the source of the trigger by eliminating the substance or by changing environments. In the meantime, specialists can teach ways to hold out against these intense draws, eventually leading to a point in which the urges for the dysregulated behavior are no longer “in control.”

Those who have these cravings and urges while trying to recover from an addiction will say (rightfully) that they are incredibly hard to ignore. Metaphors can be made to the overwhelming and unavoidable draw from the substance or habit, but only those who have tried to end these behaviors know how intense the lure really is. This fact prevents sober or otherwise unaffected outsiders from really connecting to the issue and its victims in a serious way, which then leads to misunderstanding, assumption, and condescension.

For someone who has been trying to overcome dysregulated behavior, it’s key to remember that numerous people struggle through this same experience and that you aren’t alone in it. It isn’t a personal failing if you get caught up in these cravings and even if you aren’t able to resist them, there is always help and support available to get back on the right track. Realizing that there is an issue in your life that you want to adjust is a big first step and one that is necessary in true recovery. Recognizing your behavior or habit as problematic or unhealthy is the foundation on which you’ll be able to progress and recover from an addiction.

It’s important for those who don’t have dysregulated behaviors to be patient and supportive of loved ones who do. Though it may seem like they aren’t succeeding, particularly if they relapse, those individuals are going through a period of great stress which is made worse by judgment. If you know someone who could use a little guidance as they recover from an addiction, then get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.