Urges and cravings may feel more intolerable than many people even imagine

You have promised yourself that you are not going to engage in any dysregulated behavior this evening.

You’ve told yourself that you absolutely, positively will NOT (pick one or more: have that drink, binge on that food, take those pills, engage in self-harm, place that bet, etcetera). And you are determined to keep that promise.

Peggilee WuppermanPeggilee Wupperman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, an associate professor at John Jay College/City University of New York, an assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, and a therapist at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy. She is invested in improving the understanding and treatment of dysregulated emotions and behaviors. She has developed and conducted clinical trials of Mindfulness and Modification Therapy.

Editor: Hameeda Batool

Then you get home.

Your situation is not uncommon.

You have not had a particularly bad day. You cannot pinpoint any specific reason why you are experiencing cravings and/or urges that feel intolerable. And yet, suddenly all you can think about is that drink/food/pills/harm/bet/etc.

 1. Did you do anything today that sets you up for a big payoff in the future?
Ask yourself if you did anything that you could see as an investment—in that you expect your effort to pay you back over and over again in the future?



  • Developing or implementing strategies or approaches that will make you more productive on an ongoing basis going forward.
  • Learning a new tool that will make you exponentially more productive.

It can be easy to judge yourself in such circumstances. It can also be easy for other people to judge someone who says she/he is going to stop a dysregulated behavior – but then does not do so.

The following is a paraphrased analogy told by a woman who was working to stop drinking; however, it is also relevant to the cravings and urges often experienced when stopping any dysregulated behavior.

Here is a video by Dr. Sadaqat Ali in which he talks about addiction
Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about addiction