Trading One for the Other: The Nuts and Bolts of Cross-Addiction

Cross-AddictionYou are on your way to recovery from alcohol addiction. You’re seeing a therapist regularly, reading self-help books, and starting to gain back the life you once had — but then things gradually began to get crazy again.

And instead of reaching for a bottle of alcohol, you now reach for painkillers in hopes of keeping yourself together. Then you took another. And another. Suddenly you found yourself taking prescription drugs on a regular basis.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? If you answered yes, you’re probably struggling from cross-addiction, and you need to do something immediately such as seeking rehabilitation or Ibogaine treatment.

What is Cross-Addiction?

To put it simply, cross-addiction occurs when a person swaps one addiction for another, an erroneous belief that it will help them maintain their sobriety. It happens in many ways. For instance, an alcohol addict might start abusing painkillers as mentioned above, or someone recovering from a heroin addiction might start abusing alcohol.

Those suffering from cross-addiction often use a substance that gives the same effects as their previous addiction. For instance, someone recovering from cocaine addiction may become addicted to prescription drugs used to treat ADHD.

In general, cross-addiction occurs because all types of addiction stimulate the reward center of the brain, so if you are vulnerable to one, you are vulnerable to all.

Preventing Cross-Addiction

Fortunately, there are many ways to ensure you continue with the path to recovery and avoid cross-addiction.

First, examine yourself. If you exhibit the same symptoms, such as lying to your family and friends, becoming moody, and secluding yourself, ask help from your loved ones and speak with professionals.

Get professional treatment as well; this is the best way to overcome cross-addiction, because you will likely be taught how to handle temptation and cravings, and you will be given tools reinforced regularly to avoid relapse.

Getting sober is hard, but staying sober is even harder. But by being aware of cross-addiction and having an open communication with your loved ones, you can still up your chances of a successful recovery. There is hope.