Addiction may be tied to many things, but it is rarely ever one thing that drives it. The prevalence of addiction replacement lets people know that it is not unusual. Addiction replacement, or substituting and transferring addiction, happens after treatment for the original addiction. Find out what it is, why it happens, and how to identify the signs to offer support.
What is Addiction Replacement
People who battle addiction may jump from one thing to another like drinking, then smoking, drinking, then shopping, perhaps workaholism. There can be any transfer of addiction as long as someone is trying to fill that gap left by the addiction they were in treatment for and it gives them something in return emotionally or physiologically. A new addiction takes the place of the old one but why it happens varies.
Why it Happens
Common reasons people replace addictions relate to behavioral challenges they face, including stress, pain, or anxiety. Common replacements for addiction are:
- Eating disorders
Drug or alcohol abuse impacts the brain. Once it hits the level of dependence and addiction, the brain is rewired and it becomes difficult to deal with the negative consequences.
Signs of Transfer
An addiction transfer does not require the consumption of drugs or alcohol, it can be behavioral in nature. It may seem harmless but can be equally damaging to a person’s life and health. Some of the more common signs an addiction transfer has occurred:
- Thinking about the new activity
- Losing sleep over it
- Not able to concentrate at work or school
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Experiencing stress, anxiety, or shame over it
- Giving up on sober activities in recovery to take part in the new activity
Treatment of transfer addictions requires addressing the underlying cause of compulsive behavior, thoughts, and actions. This means getting into therapy and finding help. If addiction is seen as a permanent condition (not temporary), this could reduce the risk of relapse. Rather than identify people by the drug of choice, the research looks at how complex addiction is and how it hijacks the brain to desire anything that gives it that ‘fix.’ By addressing emotions in rehab, a person can proactively educate themselves about the risk of transfer addiction and how to identify triggers and thought patterns to stop it in its tracks, once and for all.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. Transfer addictions are a real challenge but they require additional support and help from loved ones and therapists to deal with addiction. It may require more time in rehab for some people, but it is important to address all addictions upfront and continue working towards a holistic approach of healing root causes. For more information, sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.