Understanding Cross Addiction


What is Cross Addiction?

Recovery from substance abuse is a journey, and does not happen overnight. Sometimes, in the process of overcoming an addiction, addicts may find themselves looking for alternative ways to experience the feelings and sensations they had during the first addiction.

Cross addiction occurs when someone replaces one addiction with another. For example, someone who initially struggled with addiction to alcohol may become addicted to prescription pain killers once they stop drinking. It is more common for someone to develop an addiction to a substance similar to the one they originally had a problem with, but this is not always the case. Sometimes cross addiction can carry over into non-substance related problems, such as excessive gambling, eating, or shopping. This is different from a dual-diagnosis, which is when an addict also suffers from some type of mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression. However, cross addiction and dual-diagnosis often go hand in hand.

Why Does Cross Addiction Happen?

Many alcohol or drug addicts don’t start out with the intention to become dependent on these substances. Once they do, however, part of the reason they continue searching out the drug is because of the way it makes them feel initially, or the “high” they get. When they begin the recovery process, they may subconsciously look to replace those feelings. Many studies show that some people are more genetically predisposed to falling victim to addiction. Although becoming addicted to alcohol, drugs, or other behaviors is depends on many factors, there is some thought that a possible disruption in the brain’s reward circuitry that may contribute to an addict replacing one addiction with another to satisfy their need for gratification. They may have a constant desire to replace that deficiency and attain that pleasure, and this makes them more likely to search for other ways to fill that void once the original problem substance is out of the picture.

How Can Addiction Recovery Programs Help?

Whether you are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, or are experiencing cross addiction after having started a rehab program, recovery is possible, and you can successfully regain control over your life. An individualized rehabilitation program can help you detox from one or more substances, provide you with the therapy you need, and get to the root of your addiction. Especially if you have struggled with more than one addiction, fighting the battle on your own isn’t enough. You need the support of a team of people on your side to help you overcome your addiction.

Get Help Today

White Sands Treatment Center is a private accredited rehabilitation facility that offers safe, customized, and cost-effective alcohol and drug rehab programs. Our professional staff includes highly qualified board-certified doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and counselors all in the same facility. After a personalized assessment we will work with you to create a plan for your care which may include detox, inpatient treatment, or therapy and counseling to address the core of your addiction. Get sober and take back control of your life. Call (877) 855-3470 or fill out our contact form to start healing now.