Intrusive and compulsive thoughts are trademarks of addiction. Outside of addiction, they are often linked with OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. The majority of people who use drugs or abuse alcohol often use to quiet these thoughts, while in others, the usage brings these thoughts and behaviors to the forefront.

Addiction And Those Compulsive Thoughts To Use Or Drink: Why?

When an addict is going through recovery, they are taught methods of dealing with intrusive and compulsive thoughts to help maintain sobriety. While this often is an effective way to help control or even beat and addiction, many wonder why the compulsion to use exist.

Understanding The Compulsion of Addiction

Cravings can show up at any time, and they usually make an appearance when you least expect them. Compulsive thoughts can be triggered by something as small as the clinking of glasses or the imagery of drug use seen on the big screen. Identifying those triggers is the first step in recovery which is followed by overcoming the compulsive thoughts that lead to craving and use. Understanding what is going on in the brain during a craving is the only way to make it through recovery sober.

There is a scientific process behind alcohol and drug addiction. These substances disrupt the natural state of the mind and body as soon as they enter a person’s system. Drugs and alcohol can have a drastic effect on a person’s motor skills, decision-making skills, and emotions. When a person has a pattern of use, it begins to actually change the chemistry of the brain. There are various drugs that can be abused which fall into two main categories; depressant and a stimulant. Alcohol is both a stimulator and a depressant. When drugs and alcohol are abused either alone or together, they have a dramatic and direct impact on a person’s neurological pathways. The pathways these substances affect are directly linked to memory, learning, and plasticity.

According to a study in Biological Psychiatry and Neuro-Psychopharmacology, addiction is “ a development of a negative affective state, a reduction in reward threshold, and significant impairments. In essence, the regular abuse of drugs and alcohol leads to more cravings and an increase in avoidance behaviors. Many addicts suffer from compulsive thoughts as their brain encourages them to seek “relief” from anxiety, stress, and other emotions that are perceived as non-rewarding.

This is the main reason why addicts are more susceptible to falling off the wagon while trying to break the bonds of their addictions. Addiction alters the brain and lowers the threshold for rewards. Simply taking away an addict’s substance of choice will not break their compulsions to use or their urge to abuse, it takes time, treatment, and therapy to truly break the cycle.

Breaking The Cycle & Beating Compulsive Thoughts

The first step in breaking an addiction is admitting that there is a problem. Once you take that step, then you should seek the help of a rehab center. Trained professionals can help you complete a guided detox that will be followed up with dedicated addiction treatment. Every addict will have a unique treatment path tailored to their specific needs. Most addiction treatments combine a mix of dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and 12-step programs to help people get sober and stay clean. These methods help users to identify what triggers their cravings and compulsive thoughts so they can then find alternative ways to address their feelings.

Your Compulsive Thoughts Are Not You As A Person

Thoughts are not always conscious, the same goes for compulsions. Over time, addicts begin to identify their thoughts and compulsions as their core being. Your brain has a way of associating memories, feelings, and experiences in a way that often does not make sense. This can lead to unconscious compulsions to abuse drugs or alcohol even when a trigger is not actively present.

Avoiding these intrusive compulsions can often make them stronger. It is important to face them head-on and reject the power they have over your action. When you fear your compulsions, it creates an emotional bond that just makes them stronger. The less energy you place on compulsion, the less hold it will have on your psyche.


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This is a real-deal program designed for people that are truly, deeply ready to change. First, it medically frees you from those uncontrollable urges and cravings to drink or use opioids, while blocking their pleasure effects as well. That ‘obsession’ that rules our lives completely loses its grip. Now, we work together to uncover and discover the causes that led to this madness, and more importantly, what it takes to live a happy, fulfilling life free and clear of alcohol and drugs…for good.

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