Craving

Last Updated: August 7, 2018

Definition - What does Craving mean?

A craving refers to the physical or psychological need to consume a substance, specifically a drug (prescribed or illicit). It most often refers to the need of an addict to continue consuming the substance they are addicted to in an ever increasing manner. Individuals abusing drugs develop cravings to achieve a sense of euphoria or pleasure with each use. However, constant substance use induces physiological changes that occur in the brain over time, leading to increased dosage intake. This pattern of addictive behavior results in tolerance for the drug in question, prompting people to use more or stronger drugs to maintain the initial experience of euphoria or pleasure.

WorkplaceTesting explains Craving

A craving induced by drug addiction can pose serious health concerns, putting individuals at risk of an overdose. Many people with cravings resort to criminal and/or negligent activities to continue and support their addiction including theft or absenteeism from work. Different drugs including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and/or marijuana can have profound lifelong effects on the neurochemical structure in the brain, disrupting normal release of dopamine receptors. Although all drugs undergo metabolic decomposition followed by excretion from the body as waste in urine, feces, and sweat, residual drug metabolites tend to be stored in fatty tissue and could be released later due to weight loss, reactivating a craving even after recovery.

This definition was written in the context of Drug Testing
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