Cross addiction is a term used to describe the condition of a person addicted to multiple substances or behaviors. It refers to an individual developing a new addiction while in recovery from another dependency disorder.
Our Washington drug rehab center provides clients with individualized, comprehensive care for lasting recovery. We want to help you or a loved one begin recovery today!
What Does Cross Addiction Mean?
Cross addiction means that a person is prone to addictive behaviors and can become dependent on multiple substances. This is often seen in individuals who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction but can also occur with other behaviors such as gambling or compulsive eating.
Some experts argue that cross addiction is not a separate disorder, but rather an extension of the same underlying issue of addiction.
What is the Difference Between Cross Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders?
Cross addiction and co-occurring disorders may seem like interchangeable terms. However, there are some key differences between the two.
Cross addiction refers to the development of addiction to multiple substances or behaviors. Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to having both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder simultaneously.
Cross addiction can involve any combination of substances or behaviors, while co-occurring disorders typically involve a specific mental health disorder and addiction. Additionally, cross addiction may occur due to an individual’s addictive personality or coping mechanisms.
It is also important to note that not all individuals with co-occurring disorders will develop cross addiction, and not all individuals with cross addiction will have co-occurring disorders. However, both issues require comprehensive treatment to address all underlying factors.
If you or a loved one is struggling with cross addiction or co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis treatment centers can help you break free from the cycle of addiction and achieve long-term wellness.
How Does Cross Addiction Occur?
Cross addiction occurs when an individual develops an addiction to multiple substances or behaviors. When someone becomes addicted to one substance, their brain and body become accustomed to the effects and may crave similar experiences from other substances or behaviors. As a result, they may begin relying on another substance or behavior to fulfill these cravings.
Chemical addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a chronic disease characterized by the compulsive use and abuse of substances despite negative consequences. It involves physical and psychological dependence on a substance, which can lead to cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and difficulty controlling usage.
Commonly abused substances include alcohol, opioids, stimulants, sedatives, and hallucinogens. Chemical addiction affects an individual’s health, relationships, career, and overall well-being. Our addiction treatment center in Tacoma, WA, can help you address the root causes and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Behavioral addiction is a type of addiction that does not involve the consumption of substances but rather behaviors that can become compulsive and harmful. It is characterized by an inability to control urges or impulses to engage in a particular behavior, despite negative consequences.
Common examples of behavioral addictions include gambling, sex, shopping, exercise, and the use of technology or social media. These behaviors may initially bring pleasure or relief but can quickly escalate into addictive patterns that negatively impact an individual’s life.
Cross addiction can happen in various ways, such as switching from one substance to another or developing new addictive behaviors while trying to recover from a primary addiction. For example, an individual in cocaine addiction treatment may start using painkillers as a substitute, or someone with a history of gambling addiction may turn to shopping as a way to cope.
Factors That Lead to Cross Addiction
Cross addiction occurs due to the brain’s reward system. When a person engages in a behavior that brings pleasure or relief, their brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. This reinforces the behavior and can lead to repeated engagement in it.
With addiction, this reward system becomes hijacked. The individual’s brain starts to crave the release of dopamine and needs more of it to feel the same level of satisfaction. Individuals then seek out new substances or behaviors to achieve this “high,” resulting in cross addiction.
People may use one substance or behavior as a form of withdrawal management. For example, someone recovering from a drug addiction may turn to alcohol for temporary relief from their cravings and discomfort. This can easily spiral into a new addiction if not addressed properly in treatment.
Cross addiction can also occur due to underlying psychological or emotional factors that drive addictive behaviors. Regardless of how it happens, cross addiction can greatly complicate the recovery process, making it essential to address all underlying issues in treatment.
Examples of Cross Addictions
Cross addiction is a complex issue that affects many individuals struggling with addiction. It refers to the development of addiction to multiple substances or behaviors, often stemming from an individual’s addictive personality or coping mechanisms.
Cross addiction includes any combination of addictions, such as
- Alcohol and Gambling Addiction: This is a common cross addiction where an individual addicted to alcohol may also develop a gambling addiction. Both of these behaviors can provide similar feelings of escape and excitement, making them appealing to individuals with addictive tendencies.
- Prescription Drug and Food Addiction: Prescription drug addiction, such as opioids, can often lead to an addiction to food. This is because these medications can cause changes in appetite and cravings, leading individuals to turn to food as a substitute for the high they may have previously experienced from the drugs.
- Cocaine and Sex Addiction: Individuals with a cocaine addiction may also develop a cross addiction to sex. Cocaine can increase feelings of pleasure and arousal, which may make sexual activities more appealing. As a result, individuals may engage in risky sexual behaviors as a way to chase the high from cocaine.
- Social Media and Video Game Addiction: In today’s society, technology addiction is becoming increasingly common. Individuals who develop an addiction to social media or video games may also struggle with cross addictions to other forms of technology, such as binge-watching television shows or constantly checking their phones for notifications. This type of cross addiction can have negative effects on an individual’s social and emotional well-being.
By understanding the risk factors and potential consequences of cross addiction, individuals can take proactive steps towards recovery and a healthier, fulfilling life.
How Common is Cross Addiction?
Cross addiction is a common occurrence among individuals struggling with addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately half of people who are addicted to one substance also meet the criteria for another substance use disorder.
Research has shown that individuals with co-occurring disorders, often involving cross addiction, have a higher risk of relapse and poorer treatment outcomes. This further emphasizes the importance of addressing both substance use and mental health disorders in comprehensive treatment.
How to Avoid Cross Addiction
To avoid cross addiction, individuals in recovery must address underlying psychological and emotional factors that drive addictive behaviors. Through addiction therapy and support groups, individuals can learn healthy coping mechanisms and develop a strong support system.
It is essential to stay vigilant and avoid exposure to triggers or situations that may lead to relapse. Building a comprehensive relapse prevention plan with the help of professionals can also greatly reduce the risk of cross addiction.
Avoiding cross addiction requires ongoing self-awareness and a commitment to maintaining sobriety. With the right support and strategies, individuals can successfully navigate recovery without falling into the trap of cross addiction.
Treatment for Cross Addiction
Treatment for cross addiction may vary depending on the individual’s specific needs and circumstances. Some common examples of treatment approaches used for cross addiction include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to addictive behaviors.
- 12-Step Programs: These programs provide a supportive community and structured approach to recovery, with a focus on abstinence and spiritual principles.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): This approach combines behavioral therapy with medications that can help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.
- Holistic Therapies: These include activities like yoga, meditation, art or music therapy, and equine-assisted therapy, which can promote overall wellness and healing.
No matter which approach is used, the key to successful treatment for cross addiction is treating each condition simultaneously. This involves understanding and addressing underlying emotional or psychological issues that may be driving addictive behaviors and developing healthy coping mechanisms to replace them.
It is crucial to seek professional help from a qualified treatment center with experience in treating cross addiction for the best chances of achieving sober living.
Receive Treatment for Cross Addiction at Bayview Recovery
At Bayview Recovery Center, we understand the complexity of addiction and the importance of addressing all addictive behaviors for successful recovery.
Our team of professionals provides individualized treatment plans to address cross addiction and any co-occurring disorders that may be present. We offer a range of evidence-based therapies, support groups, and holistic approaches to help individuals overcome their addictions and build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.
Do not let cross addiction control your life any longer. Contact us today to learn more about our specialized treatment programs and begin your journey toward a healthier, addiction-free future.