Urges, in the context of addiction treatment, are fleeting sensations that create a need for drugs or other substances. Different from cravings due to their lesser intensity and manageability through willpower, they are often linked to stress and anxiety. In rehab, urges are seen as intense cravings or desires for addictive behaviors or substance use, arising unexpectedly and potentially overwhelming.

They are a normal part of recovery, often triggered by environmental cues or emotional states. The addiction recovery community recognises these urges as a major challenge with unmanaged urges potentially leading to relapses.

To address this, addiction therapists and counsellors employ various techniques like recognising triggers, developing healthy coping mechanisms, practicing mindfulness and relaxation methods. However, effective coping strategies can vary from person to person, requiring time and experimentation to find what works best.

Urges, a common experience in both substance and process addictions, stem from prolonged engagement in addictive behaviors, including the use of alcohol or drugs or activities like gambling, shopping or internet use. These urges can persist even after ceasing the addictive behavior. They may be triggered by a range of factors such as people, places, emotions and situations associated with past substance use or addictive activities. Identifying and understanding these triggers is vital in preventing a relapse in both substance and process addictions.

Urges can be compared to an ocean wave: they start small, gain momentum, peak and then break. The peak usually lasts only a few minutes. The key is to withstand this peak until it passes. Avoiding drug use helps diminish the power of these urges. Each time you respond to an urge with an alternative action rather than using drugs, the intensity of the urge decreases and the intervals between urges lengthen, leading to their ‘extinction’.

To manage urges, preparation is essential. Removing triggers from your environment and having a response plan are effective strategies. Techniques include:

  1. Urge Surfing: Visualize riding the crest of an urge, acknowledging its buildup, peak and subsidence.
  2. The 4Ds:
    • Delay: Postpone acting on the urge, reminding yourself that it’s temporary and recalling your reasons for managing addiction.
    • Deep Breathing: Take long, slow breaths to create space and time to think and recall other strategies.
    • Distract: Engage in activities like walking, showering or listening to music to get through the peak of the urge.
    • Decide: Reaffirm your commitment to recovery post-urge, boosting confidence for future challenges.

For additional support in understanding and managing urges, consider consulting a counsellor. Our service is confidential and available 24/7 and you can also connect with others through our forum for shared experiences.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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