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What is Fiending for Drugs?

fiending drugs

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

Welcome, join us as we delve into the complex and often misunderstood topic of drug craving, commonly referred to as “fiending.” This intense urge to use drugs can overpower reason, disrupt lives, and pose significant challenges on the journey to recovery. Understanding the psychological and physiological mechanisms behind fiending is crucial for anyone affected by addiction, whether directly or indirectly. In this post, we’ll explore what triggers these cravings, how they affect the brain and behavior, and what strategies can be employed to manage and overcome them. Whether you are battling addiction yourself, supporting someone who is, or simply seeking to educate yourself about this critical aspect of addiction, this discussion aims to provide valuable insights and practical advice.

What is Fiending for Drugs?

“Fiending” for drugs refers to a strong, often uncontrollable craving or desire to use a substance. This term is commonly used in the context of addiction and substance abuse. Fiending can be driven by both physical and psychological factors and is typically characterized by intense urges that can consume a person’s thoughts and behaviors.

Psychological and Physical Aspects

  • Psychological: The desire is often linked to the memory of the pleasure or relief provided by the drug, reinforced by the brain’s reward system.
  • Physical: In cases of physical dependence, the body may crave the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms, adding to the intensity of the need to use the substance.

Fiending can occur in individuals who have been using drugs for an extended period and have developed a dependence, but it can also happen after relatively brief exposure to addictive substances. Managing these cravings is a critical component of treatment and recovery from addiction.

What Causes Fiending for Drugs?

Fiending for drugs, or experiencing intense cravings for a substance, can be caused by a variety of factors that intertwine physiological, psychological, and environmental elements. Here’s a closer look at what can trigger such strong desires for drugs:

1. Brain Chemistry

Drugs can alter the brain’s chemistry, particularly affecting neurotransmitter systems like dopamine, which is heavily involved in the reward circuit. The use of addictive substances can cause the brain to release high levels of dopamine, leading to feelings of pleasure. Repeated drug use can make the brain reliant on these substances to stimulate dopamine release, causing intense cravings when the drug is absent.

2. Psychological Dependence

Emotional and mental reliance on a drug to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues can lead to fiending when the individual feels unable to manage these conditions without the substance.

3. Physical Dependence and Withdrawal

With continuous use, the body can develop a dependence on drugs, adjusting its normal functioning to accommodate the drug. When the drug is not used, withdrawal symptoms (which can be both physical and psychological) can occur, driving the person to use the drug again to alleviate discomfort.

4. Environmental Cues

Triggers in an individual’s environment such as specific places, people, or situations associated with drug use can provoke strong cravings. The brain associates these cues with the effects of the drug, which can induce fiending even after periods of abstinence.

5. Habitual Behavior

Routine or ritualistic aspects of drug use can also contribute to cravings. The act of preparing a drug can become a trigger itself, reinforcing the habit and making it harder to break.

6. Genetic Factors

Genetics can play a role in how susceptible someone is to addiction, influencing how strongly a person experiences cravings or the likelihood of developing a dependence on substances.

Understanding these causes is crucial for addressing the root of the problem and implementing effective treatment strategies to manage and reduce fiending, ultimately supporting long-term recovery from addiction.

Can Fiending for Drugs be Cured?

While the term “cured” may not perfectly fit the chronic nature of addiction, fiending for drugs, or intense drug cravings, can be effectively managed and significantly reduced over time. Addiction is generally regarded as a manageable disorder, similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes or hypertension. Here’s how it can be addressed:

1. Treatment Programs

Comprehensive addiction treatment programs that include medical and psychological care can help individuals reduce drug cravings. These programs may involve detoxification, behavioral therapies, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups.

2. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and restore normal brain function. For example, methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are commonly used in opioid addiction treatment to help manage cravings.

3. Behavioral Therapies

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other behavioral approaches can teach individuals how to manage triggers, change their thought patterns, and develop healthier coping mechanisms to deal with cravings and avoid relapse.

4. Support Groups

Engagement in support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or other community support environments can provide ongoing encouragement and strategies to handle cravings from peers who are experiencing similar challenges.

5. Lifestyle Changes

Incorporating healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a nutritious diet, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques can also help individuals strengthen their physical and mental health, reducing the intensity and frequency of cravings.

6. Relapse Prevention Education

Educational programs that focus on understanding addiction, identifying personal triggers, and developing relapse prevention strategies are crucial parts of comprehensive treatment approaches.

7. Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment

Since recovery from addiction is a long-term process, continuous monitoring and adjustments to the treatment plan are essential to address changing needs and potential setbacks effectively.

Although addiction may not be “cured” in the traditional sense, many people successfully manage their addiction and live healthy, productive lives. Treatment helps to reduce the power of cravings (fiending) and increases the individual’s ability to function without the substance, significantly improving their quality of life.

Types of Fiending

Fiending, or intense cravings for drugs or addictive substances, can manifest in various forms depending on the substance involved, the duration of addiction, and individual psychological and physiological factors. Understanding the different types of fiending can help in recognizing and addressing them effectively in the context of addiction treatment. Here are some common types:

1. Physical Fiending

This type of craving is driven by the body’s physical dependence on a substance. After prolonged use, the body adapts to the presence of the drug, leading to withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not used. Physical fiending is often characterized by bodily symptoms like pain, shakes, sweating, and other discomforts that can only be relieved by taking the drug.

2. Psychological Fiending

Psychological or emotional cravings arise from the mental and emotional associations made with drug use. These cravings can be triggered by stress, emotional distress, or environmental cues that remind the individual of the pleasurable effects of the drug. Psychological fiending can be particularly challenging to overcome as it involves complex mental and emotional health issues.

3. Cue-Induced Fiending

This type is triggered by specific cues or reminders of drug use, such as visiting a place where the person used to take drugs, seeing paraphernalia, or even encountering people associated with past drug use. These external stimuli can provoke strong cravings, even after periods of abstinence.

4. Situational Fiending

Similar to cue-induced fiending but broader, situational fiending occurs in certain situations or under specific conditions that previously involved drug use. For example, someone might experience cravings when they are in social situations where drugs were previously consumed or during times of day when they typically used drugs.

5. Stress-Induced Fiending

Stress is a common trigger for many who experience cravings. During stressful periods, individuals may fiend for drugs as a coping mechanism to relieve stress, based on their past experiences of temporary relief provided by drug use.

6. Compulsive Fiending

This involves an overwhelming, often irresistible urge to use drugs, characterized by obsessive thoughts about obtaining and using the substance. Compulsive fiending can lead to drug-seeking behavior that disregards the harmful consequences.

7. Withdrawal-Induced Fiending

When the effects of a drug wear off, and withdrawal symptoms begin to set in, individuals often experience intense cravings as part of the withdrawal process. These cravings are a physiological response aimed at avoiding unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Recognizing the type of fiending someone is experiencing can significantly aid in customizing treatment approaches, such as behavioral therapies, medications, and support mechanisms, to better manage and eventually reduce the intensity and frequency of these cravings.

Effects of Fiending for Drugs

Fiending for drugs, characterized by intense cravings and urges to use substances, can have a wide range of effects on an individual’s life. These effects can be psychological, physical, social, and economic. Here’s an overview of the impacts:

Psychological Effects

  • Obsessive Thoughts: Individuals may become preoccupied with thoughts of acquiring and using the drug, which can dominate their mental space and distract from other important life activities.
  • Increased Anxiety and Stress: The intense desire to use drugs can cause significant anxiety, particularly if the individual is trying to resist the urge.
  • Mood Swings: Fluctuations in mood can be common, with individuals experiencing irritability, anger, or depression when they cannot use the drug.
  • Impaired Judgment: The overpowering need to satisfy cravings can lead to poor decision-making, leading to risky behaviors such as driving under the influence or unsafe sexual practices.

Physical Effects

  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Physical dependence on a drug can lead to uncomfortable or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms that make fiending even more intense.
  • Health Deterioration: Chronic drug use and ongoing fiending can lead to various health problems, depending on the substance, including liver damage, cardiovascular issues, and neurological impairment.

Social Effects

  • Relationship Strain: Fiending for drugs often puts a strain on personal and professional relationships, as the individual may neglect responsibilities or behave in ways that are harmful to others.
  • Isolation: Individuals may withdraw from family and friends, especially if they feel judged or misunderstood, leading to social isolation.
  • Legal Issues: Activities associated with obtaining and using illegal drugs can lead to legal problems, including arrest and incarceration.

Economic Effects

  • Financial Strain: Sustaining a drug habit can be costly, leading to financial strain as funds are diverted from essential needs to purchasing drugs.
  • Job Loss: Impaired performance and unreliability due to drug fiending can result in job loss, further exacerbating economic difficulties.

Overall Impact on Life

The cumulative effect of these issues can lead to a significant decline in the quality of life, affecting virtually all aspects of personal and professional life. Managing and overcoming fiending requires a comprehensive approach that often involves medical treatment, counseling, support groups, and changes in lifestyle. Effective treatment can help individuals regain control over their lives, reduce the intensity of cravings, and rebuild damaged relationships and professional careers.

Risks of Fiending for Drugs

Fiending for drugs, or experiencing intense and often uncontrollable cravings for substances, carries several significant risks that can affect nearly all aspects of an individual’s life. These risks can be grouped into various categories, including health, behavioral, social, and legal consequences. Here’s a detailed look at some of these risks:

Health Risks

  • Overdose: One of the most severe risks associated with fiending is the potential for overdose. As cravings intensify, the likelihood of taking larger doses or using more potent substances increases, raising the risk of fatal or non-fatal overdose.
  • Physical Health Decline: Long-term drug use can lead to numerous health problems, including cardiovascular disease, liver damage, respiratory issues, and neurological impairments.
  • Mental Health Issues: Substance abuse can exacerbate or trigger mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis. The psychological toll of addiction and constant fiending can also lead to increased stress, mood instability, and suicidal thoughts.

Behavioral Risks

  • Impulsive Behavior: Fiending can lead to impulsive decisions and risky behaviors, including unsafe driving, unsafe sexual practices, and engaging in illegal activities to obtain drugs.
  • Neglect of Responsibilities: Intense cravings can lead an individual to neglect professional, academic, and family responsibilities, impacting job performance, academic standing, and family dynamics.

Social Risks

  • Relationship Problems: Drug addiction and the associated fiending can severely strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Trust issues, neglect, and erratic behavior can lead to isolation and loss of support networks.
  • Stigma and Social Isolation: Individuals struggling with addiction often face stigma, leading to social isolation and a lack of support, which can hinder recovery efforts.

Legal Risks

  • Legal Consequences: Obtaining and using illegal drugs can lead to arrests, legal fees, and incarceration. Legal troubles can have long-term effects on employment opportunities, housing, and overall quality of life.
  • Financial Problems: The costs associated with purchasing drugs and potential legal fees can lead to significant financial strain, debt, and even poverty.

Overall Risks

The cumulative effect of these risks can lead to a cycle of addiction that becomes increasingly difficult to break without intervention. The longer the addiction persists, the more severe the consequences can become, affecting virtually all aspects of life.

Effective intervention typically involves a combination of medical treatment, counseling, support groups, and lifestyle changes. Addressing the underlying causes of addiction and learning coping strategies to manage cravings are essential steps in recovery. Engaging with professional treatment programs can provide the support needed to navigate these challenges and work towards recovery.

Prevalence of Fiending for Drugs

The prevalence of fiending for drugs, or experiencing intense cravings for substances, is a common and challenging aspect of substance use disorders (SUDs). Cravings are considered a hallmark of addiction and can persist long after the physical symptoms of withdrawal have subsided. Understanding the prevalence of these cravings is essential for addressing the broader issues of drug addiction in society.

General Prevalence of Substance Use Disorders

According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), millions of Americans are affected by substance use disorders each year. For example, the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that approximately 20.4 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in the previous year.

Specifics on Cravings

Cravings are reported by a significant portion of individuals with substance use disorders, regardless of the substance involved. These cravings are often triggered by various factors, including stress, environmental cues, and exposure to drug-related stimuli.

Studies and Reports

  • Research Findings: Studies suggest that the intensity and frequency of drug cravings are strong predictors of relapse. For instance, research published in the “Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment” found that cravings played a crucial role in relapse events among individuals treated for opioid addiction.
  • Treatment Admissions: Data on treatment admissions also reflect the prevalence of substance cravings. Many individuals seeking treatment report cravings as a primary challenge and a key factor motivating their decision to seek help.

Implications for Treatment

The prevalence of fiending for drugs underscores the need for effective treatment strategies that specifically target cravings. This includes:

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Medications like buprenorphine and naltrexone are used to reduce cravings in opioid and alcohol dependence, respectively.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This form of therapy helps individuals develop strategies to manage cravings and avoid triggers.
  • Contingency Management: This approach uses positive reinforcement to encourage sobriety and reduce the impact of cravings.

Ongoing Research and Monitoring

Continued research into the mechanisms of cravings and the effectiveness of various treatment strategies is crucial. Monitoring trends in substance use and the prevalence of cravings can help tailor public health responses and improve treatment outcomes.

Understanding the prevalence and impact of fiending for drugs is essential for developing comprehensive strategies to combat substance use disorders and support recovery efforts. These efforts include enhancing public awareness, improving access to treatment, and advancing research on addiction and recovery.

How is Fiending Diagnosed?

Fiending, or intense cravings for drugs, is diagnosed as part of the broader assessment for substance use disorders (SUDs) using the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). During the diagnostic process, healthcare providers typically:

  1. Conduct Interviews: Discuss the individual’s history of substance use, focusing on patterns and intensity of cravings.
  2. Use Screening Tools: Employ standardized tools to assess the severity of substance use and related symptoms, including cravings.
  3. Evaluate Behavioral and Psychological Factors: Consider how cravings impact the person’s behavior, mental health, and daily functioning.
  4. Review Medical History: Check for physical signs or health issues associated with substance use.

Cravings are directly mentioned in the DSM-5 as one of the criteria for diagnosing substance use disorders, highlighting their importance in the diagnostic process.

Signs and Symptoms of Fiending for Drugs?

Psychological Symptoms

  • Intense Urges: Strong, often overwhelming desire to use the drug.
  • Preoccupation: Constant thoughts about the drug, how to obtain it, and when to use it.
  • Mood Swings: Rapid changes in mood, especially irritability or anxiety when unable to use the drug.
  • Anxiety and Restlessness: Increased anxiety or restlessness associated with the desire to use the substance.

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Loss of Control: Inability to control the amount and frequency of drug use despite intentions to cut down or stop.
  • Compulsive Behavior: Engaging in compulsive drug-seeking activities, often going to great lengths to obtain the substance.
  • Neglect of Responsibilities: Ignoring or failing to fulfill work, school, or family obligations because of drug use.
  • Social Withdrawal: Withdrawing from social or recreational activities that were once enjoyable, in favor of drug use.

Physical Symptoms

  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug, which can intensify the craving.
  • Tolerance: Needing increasingly larger amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect, which can lead to stronger cravings.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Frustration: Feeling frustrated or helpless about not being able to secure or take the drug.
  • Guilt or Shame: Feeling guilty or ashamed after using the drug or about how much time and effort is spent on obtaining and using the drug.

These symptoms can manifest in varying degrees depending on the individual and the substance involved. Recognizing these signs is crucial for seeking timely help and treatment to manage and overcome addiction.

How Do You Help a Loved One who is Fiending for Drugs?

Helping a loved one who is experiencing intense cravings or “fiending” for drugs can be challenging, but there are effective ways to support them through their struggles with addiction. Here’s how you can help:

1. Educate Yourself about Addiction

Learn about the nature of addiction, its triggers, and its effects. Understanding the complexities of addiction can help you provide empathetic and informed support.

2. Encourage Professional Help

Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Addiction is a medical condition that often requires comprehensive treatment, including detoxification, counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups.

3. Offer Emotional Support

Be there to listen without judgment. Offer reassurance and acceptance, which can be crucial for someone struggling with addiction. Validate their feelings and experiences, and express your concern for their well-being.

4. Help Identify Triggers

Work with your loved one to identify specific triggers that lead to drug cravings. Understanding these triggers can help in developing strategies to avoid or manage them.

5. Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Encourage activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, such as regular exercise, a nutritious diet, adequate sleep, and engaging in hobbies. A healthy body can better cope with cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.

6. Set Boundaries

Set clear boundaries that protect your own well-being. Be supportive, but avoid enabling their substance use. Make it clear that you support their recovery, not their addiction.

7. Consider Family Therapy

Family therapy can be beneficial in addressing the issues that arise within the family due to a loved one’s drug use. It can help improve communication and resolve conflicts in a supportive environment.

8. Be Patient and Persistent

Recovery is a long process that can include setbacks. Patience and persistence are important as your loved one works through the stages of recovery. Celebrate small victories together to encourage continued progress.

9. Plan for Cravings

Help your loved one develop a plan for when cravings strike. This might include calling a friend, going for a walk, or practicing relaxation techniques. Having a plan can help them feel more in control.

10. Stay Informed About Treatment Options

Stay updated on the latest in addiction treatments and recovery approaches. This knowledge can help in discussions about different treatment options and decisions regarding changes to treatment plans.

By providing a combination of emotional support, practical help, and encouragement to seek professional treatment, you can play a vital role in your loved one’s journey to recovery. It’s also important to take care of yourself during this process, as supporting someone with an addiction can be emotionally demanding.

Treatment Options for Fiending for Drugs

Treating intense cravings or “fiending” for drugs is a crucial part of managing and overcoming substance use disorders. Effective treatment usually involves a combination of pharmacological approaches, behavioral therapies, and support systems. Here are several widely recognized treatment options:

1. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT uses medications to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to engage in therapy and recover. The specific medication used depends on the substance of addiction:

  • Opioids: Medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone help reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Alcohol: Naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram are commonly used to manage alcohol dependence.
  • Nicotine: Nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, bupropion, and varenicline are effective in reducing nicotine cravings.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps individuals identify and change destructive thought patterns and behaviors associated with substance use. It teaches coping strategies to handle various scenarios that might lead to drug use, including how to deal with cravings.

3. Contingency Management (CM)

This approach uses positive reinforcement to encourage sobriety. Patients earn rewards for drug-free urine tests, which can help motivate them to resist cravings and continue their recovery journey.

4. Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a counseling method that enhances an individual’s motivation to change. It resolves ambivalence by encouraging individuals to talk about their need for change and their own reasons for it, which can help them fight against cravings.

5. Support Groups and Peer Support

Engaging in support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provides a community of individuals who understand the challenges of addiction, including dealing with intense cravings. Peer support can be an invaluable resource for encouragement and advice.

6. Relapse Prevention Therapy

This is a behavioral program that teaches individuals how to anticipate and cope with the potential for relapse. Techniques include identifying specific high-risk situations and developing strategies to maintain sobriety.

7. Mindfulness and Stress Management

Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can help individuals manage stress and reduce the frequency and intensity of cravings.

8. Inpatient and Residential Treatment Programs

For severe cases, inpatient or residential treatment programs can provide a structured environment that helps individuals avoid triggers and receive intensive care. These programs often combine various therapies and offer comprehensive support.

9. Family Therapy

Including family members in the treatment process can help improve communication, resolve conflicts, and create a supportive home environment that is conducive to recovery.

Each individual’s journey to overcome fiending for drugs is unique, and treatment plans should be tailored to meet their specific needs. Consulting with addiction specialists and healthcare providers is crucial in designing an effective treatment strategy.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Options for Fiending for Drugs

For individuals dealing with intense cravings or “fiending” for drugs, both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings offer various programs tailored to help manage addiction and facilitate recovery. Each setting has unique features suited to different stages of recovery and individual needs. Here’s an overview of both options:

Inpatient Treatment Options

Inpatient or residential treatment provides intensive care and is suitable for those with severe addiction or who have struggled with sustained recovery. Features include:

  • Structured Environment: Inpatient facilities offer a controlled, drug-free environment which can greatly reduce the risk of relapse during the initial detox and treatment phases.
  • 24/7 Medical Support: Continuous medical supervision is available to manage withdrawal symptoms, medication needs, and any associated health issues.
  • Comprehensive Therapy: These programs often include a combination of individual counseling, group therapy, behavioral therapies (such as CBT), and other holistic therapies (like art therapy or equine therapy).
  • Duration: The stay can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the individual’s needs and progress.

Outpatient Treatment Options

Outpatient programs allow individuals to live at home and maintain a relatively normal daily routine, which can include work, school, or family life. This type of treatment is generally suitable for those with mild to moderate addiction or as a step down from inpatient treatment. Features include:

  • Flexibility: Outpatient treatment can vary in intensity and frequency, with programs ranging from a few hours per week to several hours per day.
  • Types of Therapy: Similar to inpatient, outpatient programs offer various forms of therapy including individual counseling, group sessions, and family therapy.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Outpatient settings can administer MAT to help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making daily functioning more manageable.
  • Support Groups: Many outpatient programs encourage participation in community support groups as part of ongoing care.

Choosing the Right Option

Deciding between inpatient and outpatient treatment often depends on several factors:

  • Severity of Addiction: Inpatient treatment may be necessary for severe cases or when previous outpatient treatment has not been successful.
  • Support at Home: If the home environment is stable and supportive, outpatient treatment may be a viable option. Conversely, a disruptive or unsafe home environment may necessitate inpatient care.
  • Work and Family Obligations: Outpatient treatment is less disruptive to daily responsibilities and may be more suitable for individuals who cannot take extended time away from work or family.
  • Financial Considerations: Inpatient treatment generally costs more due to housing and around-the-clock care; insurance coverage and personal finances can significantly influence this decision.

It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals to assess the most appropriate treatment setting based on the individual’s specific situation and needs. Both inpatient and outpatient treatments can be effective when properly matched to the patient’s conditions and accompanied by a strong support network.

Common Prescription Medications for Fiending

Here are some common prescription medications used for various types of substance dependencies:

1. For Opioid Dependence

  • Methadone: A long-acting opioid that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms without the euphoria associated with other opioids.
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex): Partially activates opioid receptors to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone includes naloxone to prevent misuse.
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol): Blocks opioid receptors, preventing opioids from producing pleasurable effects, thus reducing cravings.

2. For Alcohol Dependence

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse): Deters alcohol use by causing unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and flushing when alcohol is consumed.
  • Acamprosate (Campral): Helps restore the brain’s chemical balance post-alcohol use and reduces cravings.
  • Naltrexone: Also used for alcohol dependence, it reduces both the pleasure derived from drinking and the craving for alcohol.

3. For Nicotine Addiction

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): Includes patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers, or nasal sprays that provide nicotine without the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
  • Bupropion (Zyban): An antidepressant that also reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine cessation.
  • Varenicline (Chantix): Reduces cravings by partially stimulating nicotine receptors and simultaneously blocking them from nicotine in cigarettes.

4. For Stimulant (Cocaine, Methamphetamine) Dependence

  • Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for the treatment of stimulant addiction. However, off-label use of medications like modafinil (for alertness) or antidepressants may help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings in some cases.

Special Considerations

  • Combination Therapy: Often, these medications are most effective when combined with behavioral therapies, counseling, and support groups.
  • Supervised Treatment: Medications used in MAT should always be prescribed and monitored by healthcare professionals to ensure safety and effectiveness, especially since some can have significant side effects or risks for dependency.
  • Individual Tailoring: Treatment plans, including choice of medication, should be individually tailored based on the substance of abuse, the severity of addiction, and the patient’s overall health profile.

By using these medications as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, individuals battling substance use disorders can gain better control over their cravings and move toward sustained recovery.

Dosage Guidelines for Prescription Medication

1. For Opioid Dependence

  • Methadone: Initial dosages typically start at 15-30 mg per day. Dosage adjustments are made based on patient response and the goal is to find the minimum effective dose that prevents opioid use and manages withdrawal symptoms without causing euphoria.
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex): Starting dose is usually 2-4 mg of buprenorphine, with a target maintenance dose generally between 16-24 mg per day, depending on individual needs.
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol): For opioid dependence, after detoxification, a monthly injection of 380 mg is administered intramuscularly.

2. For Alcohol Dependence

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse): The typical dosage is 250 mg daily, although it can range from 125 to 500 mg, and it is usually taken in the morning.
  • Acamprosate (Campral): Recommended dosage is two 333 mg tablets taken three times a day, totaling 1998 mg per day, beginning as soon as abstinence is achieved.
  • Naltrexone: Oral naltrexone is typically prescribed at 50 mg once daily. For the injectable form, Vivitrol, a 380 mg injection is given every 4 weeks.

3. For Nicotine Addiction

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): Dosages depend on the specific form (gum, patch, lozenge, inhaler, nasal spray) and the smoker’s nicotine dependence level. Generally, nicotine patches are started on higher doses such as 21 mg for heavy smokers, and tapered down over several weeks.
  • Bupropion (Zyban): Typically started at 150 mg once daily for three days, then increased to 150 mg twice daily.
  • Varenicline (Chantix): The dose is typically titrated starting with 0.5 mg once daily for the first three days, followed by 0.5 mg twice daily for the next four days, then increased to 1 mg twice daily thereafter.

Special Considerations

  • Medical Supervision: These medications require careful medical supervision to avoid potential side effects and ensure effectiveness. Regular follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor response to the medication and adjust dosages if necessary.
  • Patient Specificity: Dosages can vary based on other concurrent medications, underlying health conditions, and specific patient responses. Always follow the prescribing doctor’s guidelines.
  • Adjustments Over Time: Dosage adjustments may be necessary based on the patient’s progress in treatment, side effects, or potential interactions with other medications.

These guidelines provide a general framework, but the actual prescription must always be managed by a healthcare professional familiar with the individual’s medical history and specific circumstances.

Does Insurance Cover Treatment for Fiending for Drugs?

Yes, most insurance plans, including private health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare, generally cover treatment for drug cravings, or “fiending,” as part of the broader treatment for substance use disorders. This coverage typically includes a variety of services such as detoxification, outpatient and inpatient treatment, and medication-assisted treatment. Coverage details, such as deductibles, co-pays, and specific service coverage, can vary by plan. It’s important for individuals to review their insurance policy details or contact their insurance provider to understand the specifics of what is covered.

Common Insurance Plans Used for Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

Common types of insurance plans used for addiction and mental health treatment include:

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO):

  • PPO plans offer flexibility in choosing healthcare providers, allowing individuals to visit both in-network and out-of-network providers without a referral. PPO plans typically cover a portion of the cost for addiction and mental health rehab services, but out-of-pocket expenses may be higher when using out-of-network providers.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO):

  • HMO plans require individuals to choose a primary care physician (PCP) who coordinates their care and provides referrals to specialists, including addiction and mental health treatment providers. HMO plans often have lower out-of-pocket costs but may limit coverage to in-network providers, except in emergencies.

Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO):

  • EPO plans combine aspects of both PPO and HMO plans, offering a network of preferred providers for individuals to choose from. While EPO plans do not require a PCP or referrals for specialists, coverage is typically limited to in-network providers, except in emergencies.

Point of Service (POS):

  • POS plans offer individuals the option to receive care from both in-network and out-of-network providers. However, using out-of-network providers may result in higher out-of-pocket costs, and individuals may need a referral from their PCP to see specialists, including addiction and mental health treatment providers.

These insurance plans may vary in terms of coverage, network providers, cost-sharing requirements (e.g., copayments, coinsurance, deductibles), and authorization requirements for addiction and mental health rehab services. It’s essential for individuals to review their insurance plan documents, understand their coverage details, and verify network providers before seeking treatment. Additionally, individuals may need to obtain preauthorization or prior approval for certain rehab services to ensure coverage and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

Is Fiending Treatment Right for Me?

Deciding if treatment for fiending, or intense cravings for drugs, is right for you involves considering various personal factors and the impact of substance use on your life. Here’s a step-by-step approach to help determine if seeking treatment is a suitable decision:

1. Assess the Impact of Substance Use

  • Physical Health: Are there physical health issues related to substance use, such as withdrawal symptoms or negative health changes?
  • Mental Health: How does your substance use affect your mental and emotional state?
  • Daily Functioning: Consider how substance use impacts your ability to work, maintain relationships, and fulfill daily responsibilities.

2. Recognize the Cravings

  • Understanding the strength and frequency of your drug cravings is crucial. If you find these cravings difficult to manage on your own and they lead to repeated substance use, treatment might be necessary.

3. Consider Previous Attempts to Quit

  • Have you tried to quit on your own? What were the outcomes? Frequent relapses or unsuccessful attempts can indicate the need for a structured treatment program.

4. Evaluate Your Support System

  • Do you have support from family or friends? A strong support system is beneficial, but professional help might still be needed, especially if your environment contains triggers or lacks support.

5. Learn About Treatment Options

  • Educate yourself on the types of treatments available, including both inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy options, and medication-assisted treatments. Understanding these can help you make an informed decision about what might work best for you.

6. Consult Healthcare Professionals

  • Speaking with a healthcare provider or an addiction specialist can provide professional insight into your specific situation. They can assess your health needs, recommend appropriate treatment options, and discuss the benefits and risks associated with each.

7. Consider Your Commitment

  • Effective treatment requires a commitment to the process, including attending sessions, possibly taking medications, and engaging in therapy. Reflect on your readiness to commit to these steps.

8. Financial and Practical Considerations

  • Consider the practical aspects, such as the costs of treatment, insurance coverage, and the ability to take time off work or school if necessary.

If you find that substance cravings are significantly impacting your life and self-managed attempts to quit have failed, seeking professional treatment for fiending is likely a beneficial step. It’s important to approach this decision with careful thought and consultation with professionals to choose the best path forward for your health and well-being.


In conclusion, fiending for drugs refers to the intense and often overwhelming cravings experienced by individuals who are addicted to substances. These cravings are not only a central feature of addiction but also a major hurdle in the journey towards recovery. Recognizing fiending is crucial, as it can significantly impact one’s ability to function and maintain a healthy life. Whether you or someone you know is struggling with these powerful urges, it’s important to understand that effective treatments are available. From medication-assisted therapies to psychological support and lifestyle changes, the right combination of strategies can manage these cravings and guide individuals towards a successful recovery. If you’re dealing with fiending, remember, you’re not alone, and help is available. Engaging with professional treatment providers can offer the support and tools needed to overcome the grip of addiction and lead a healthier, substance-free life.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At California Prime Recovery, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:

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If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390


You can find more detailed information about fiending for drugs from various sources including:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, which offers comprehensive resources and treatment options.
  • Medical websites like Mayo Clinic or WebMD that provide health-related content reviewed by medical professionals.
  • Local and online support groups like Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Addiction treatment centers, which often provide educational materials and consultations.

If you suspect someone you know is experiencing intense cravings for drugs:

  • Approach them with concern and without judgment, encouraging an open and honest dialogue.
  • Suggest that they seek professional help from a healthcare provider or addiction specialist who can offer an appropriate diagnosis and treatment options.
  • Offer to support them in finding help, whether it’s researching treatment facilities, attending support group meetings with them, or just being there to listen.
  • If the situation is severe and they are at risk of harming themselves or others, consider contacting emergency services for immediate assistance.

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