Cross-addiction or substituting addictions occurs when a person in recovery replaces one addiction for another. It refers to any negative behavior that a person turns to replace drugs or alcohol. Substituting addictions is dangerous and puts the individual at risk for relapsing and returning to their original addiction.
Avoiding Substituting Addictions
How does an individual in recovery avoid replacing one addiction with another? First, a person in recovery should be aware of the symptoms of addiction and continue to educate themselves on it. They should also have a good variety of interests in physical, mental, and spiritual activities to get the most out of sobriety. Staying sober should be their number one priority in life. They should avoid any drugs recreationally even if they have never had a problem with that particular drug. Also, being proactive in their care and making sure all doctors know their addiction so that nothing is prescribed could potentially affect their sobriety. And lastly, maintaining a good positive support system at all times in recovery is vital.
Why Do People Commonly Replace Addictions in Recovery?
Most any addiction like drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, eating, etc., stimulates the brain to release dopamine, the body’s feel-good chemical. So a person in recovery from drug abuse often looks for anything that makes them feel good or stimulates pleasure. Our addictions help us to relieve stress, anxiety, depression, or pain. They help us to cope with life. Some of the most common addiction replacements are:
- Over exercising or working out
- Overeating or binge eating
People in recovery can have issues with low levels of dopamine in the brain. Once a person has detoxed off of drugs and alcohol, they are depressed and just want something to make them feel good. This is why cross-addiction is so common.
More About Treating an Addiction
The key to treating any addiction is to treat the underlying cause with therapy. According to the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus “Drug Use and Addiction”:
Treatments for drug addiction include counseling, medicines, or both. Research shows that combining medicines with counseling gives most people the best chance of success. The counseling may be individual, family, and group therapy. It can help you:`understand why you got addicted, see how drugs changed your behavior, learn how to deal with your problems so you won’t go back to using drugs, and learn to avoid places, people, and situations where you might be tempted to use drugs. Medicines can help with the symptoms of withdrawal. For addiction to certain drugs, there are also medicines that can help you re-establish normal brain function and decrease your cravings. If you have a mental disorder along with an addiction, it is known as a dual diagnosis. It is important to treat both problems. This will increase your chance of success. If you have a severe addiction, you may need hospital-based or residential treatment. Residential treatment programs combine housing and treatment services. (MEDLINEPLUS.GOV)
Treating Addiction is a lifelong process and never stops. Once a person is in recovery, they have to work every day to maintain and stay sober. Recovery never takes a day off!
Start Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction at Evoke Coconut Creek
Our top priority is your safety and comfort, and life in sobriety is our primary mission. Our team of professionals is some of the most experienced, compassionate, non-judgmental, and understanding people in the addiction field. We will treat you with the kindness and respect you deserve and help you start healing and moving forward on your path to long-term recovery. Help is only one phone call away. So give us a call today.