The limbic system processes a stimulus from outside (e.g., sight of food) or inside (e.g., falling glucose levels), which creates an urge that registers consciously as desire. The cortex then instructs the body to do whatever is needed to achieve its desire. Circulating dopamine levels rise and create feelings of satisfaction. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. pp 63. CA: University of California Press, 1998.)

A craving can be triggered by exposure to drugs (that used to be used/abused), by a stressful event, and/or by an environmental cue associated with past drug taking. (Zickler, Patrick. Addictive Drugs and Stress. MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA NOTES, Vol 18, No 5, Dec 2003, pp 1, 6-7)

Study: There appears to be a male-female difference in selected key brain regions in relation to cocaine craving. Provides a helpful table listing 5 brain regions and differences between men and women. (Whitten, Lori. Men and Women may Process cocaine Cues Differently. MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA NOTES, Vol 19, No 4, Dec 2004, pp 4-5)

Whatever people link pain and/or pleasure with shapes their lives. People can override the brain’s pain and pleasure centers temporarily, but if they don’t deal with the root (eliminate the cause of the problem) it will likely resurface. (Robbins, Anthony. Awaken the Giant Within. pp 56-62. NY: Fireside, 1991.)

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