In fact, a recovering alcoholic's ability to refrain from drinking despite urges to drink is of paramount interest to clinicians, and the strengthening of that ability is a key treatment focus.
* Alcoholics can experience urges to drink without any intention to drink
In this situation, the ability of urges to predict future drinking independent of recent drinking is unclear.
As a result, exposure to those stimuli will induce a mild withdrawal syndrome, which, in turn, will result in urges to drink to relieve withdrawal.
Subsequent reexposure to the drinking-related stimuli is assumed to induce those appetitive motivational states as well as positive mood and increases in alcohol-related thoughts or urges to drink.
The social learning model also posits that either conditioned stimuli or stressful situations can result in increased urges to drink, especially when combined with positive expectancies about alcohol's effects.
According to that model, urges to drink account for only some of the variance in drinking after treatment, whereas additional variance may be associated with other unconscious and conscious processes.