Cross addiction is the term used to describe when a person substitutes one addiction for another. This most often occurs when a person tries to stop using a substance on their own or finds recovery difficult when they first leave rehab. Cross addiction is just as serious as the original addiction.
Common Forms Of Cross Addiction
A person suffering from an addiction to opiates or certain types of anxiety medications may find that they get the same kind of “calm” feeling when they drink alcohol instead. The situation can also be just the opposite, with a person suffering from alcoholism putting down the alcohol instead of medications or drugs that provide the same dulling effect that alcohol offers.
Addiction, regardless of what the substance is, should not be replaced with another substance. To be in recovery, you need to be free of reliance on substances to help you get through the day.
Cross Addiction Can Be Tricky With Dual Diagnosis
When a person receives a dual diagnosis of addiction and a mental health disorder such as anxiety, the chances for cross-addiction can be higher. Many medications prescribed for anxiety, for instance, have addictive qualities. For someone entering into recovery, the use of certain medications should be avoided.
This does not mean that you cannot get treatment for your medical conditions; it just means that your doctor must be more selective with the treatments used for your condition.
Learning To Spot Cross Addiction Behavior
Part of your drug rehab will be working directly with a substance abuse counselor. Your counselor is going to work with you closely through the entire substance recovery process. One of the things your counselor will address is how to spot cross-addiction behavior.
When you are in a drug rehabilitation program, you are going to address many things. You will detox physically from the substance, and then you will begin the healing process. First, you will address issues that have led to the addiction. Next, you will learn what it is like to live substance-free. The final step is learning how to stay substance-free.
You are going to learn the skills necessary to detect things like cross-addiction behavior. This is something essential to your success in recovery. Of course, you will learn other needed skills to live a substance-free life when you leave rehab.
Some signs that you may have a cross-addiction starting include:
- Need for a new substance or medication to feel like you can cope with life
- Panic attacks if you cannot have access to this new medication or substance
- Feeling ashamed every time you use the substance to self-medicate
- Hiding the use of this substance or medication from family and friends
- Using the medication more than it is prescribed
- Going out of your way to find the medication or substance outside of your prescription
- Finding reasons to use the medication or substance or to use more than prescribed
- Start having anxiety or withdrawal symptoms if you do not have access to the substance or medication
As you can see, the signs of a cross-addiction are very similar to the signs of a regular addiction. If you believe that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be necessary to speak with your doctor or substance abuse counselor to determine the best actions to help you overcome the cross-addiction.
Is Rehab Necessary For A Cross Addiction?
If you have found that you have transferred one addiction for another, or if you are in recovery and found that you are now using a new substance to help you through each day, then it may be time to consider re-entering rehab.
Don’t panic! You have not failed. Sometimes it can be very easy to become cross-addicted, and the main point to focus on is entering into a complete recovery.
Since you already possess many of the tools necessary to overcome addiction, you will be able to overcome this addiction as well. It just takes an active desire to overcome the problem for you to begin the process.
Addictions, whether they are an original addiction, a cross-addiction, or an addiction from a dual condition, have one thing in common – they all can be broken. If you are suffering from addiction, there is hope for a substance-free future. You can enter into a substance recovery program and learn the skills you need to live a life in recovery.