Although it’s known in clinical circles, cross-addiction or addiction interaction disorder isn’t as well-known by the public. While you may have heard of a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, you may not be as familiar with cross-addiction. This is when someone switches their addiction or replaces one compulsive behavior with another. Today, our Northeast recovery center is sharing some tips on how to overcome cross addiction and prevent it in the future.
Cross Addiction Definition
People in addiction recovery are often in danger of developing another addiction. So if you’re currently going through this process, it’s important to be aware of switching addictions.
Cross addiction implies that a person who has developed a substance use disorder (addiction) is at higher risk of developing another one. Although research on this concept is scarce, there is anecdotal evidence that supports this claim.
The potential risk of cross-addiction is why medical professionals may not be more cautious about prescribing someone in recovery from alcoholism with narcotics for pain treatment. Because the individual has the predisposition to become dependent on a substance that produces a particular high, their risk of becoming addicted to a narcotic may be higher than patients who have no history of addiction.
However, it’s not just about drugs and alcohol, but the concept of cross-dependence can also be applied to other things, like food, using the internet, and sexual activity. This concept is founded on the idea that most addictive substances or activities impact the reward system and dopamine levels in the brain similarly, therefore supporting the idea that a person with a preexisting addiction is at a higher risk of becoming addicted to things that are equally pleasurable.
Tips on How to Overcome Cross Addiction
If you’re someone in addiction recovery who’s developed another addiction, the key to overcoming a cross-addiction is to change your habits. For instance, if you’re becoming reliant on food to feel happy, then you may need to change your eating habits.
For most people in recovery from addiction, a cross-addiction is usually a method that’s been developed to cope with other challenging feelings. Fortunately, there are ways to combat this problem and avoid relapse. Below are some tips on how to overcome cross-addiction that can help.
Keep a Journal
Oh yes, journaling. If you’re in addiction recovery, you may have heard of this technique before. Journaling is often encouraged by addiction specialists and counselors to help patients organize their thoughts and identify negative thoughts and behavioral patterns.
Journaling doesn’t mean you have to write a whole essay about your feelings. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a quick record of your feelings and things that happened that day. Then, at the end of every week, go back and read through your entries. This will allow you to identify certain patterns in your behavior.
For instance, you may notice that on days where you don’t get enough sleep, you drink more caffeine, which contributes to anxiety. Another familiar pattern people in recovery notice is the correlation between a lack of self-care and feeling sad or anxious.
You’re more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol or seek out similarly pleasurable activities when you don’t address these issues. So, understanding what contributes to your good and bad moods can help you break this cycle.
Speak to a Loved One
Everyone in addiction recovery should have an accountability buddy they can talk to during tough times. It’s normal to have moments where you feel so overwhelmed you begin to rationalize why you should have the one glass of wine or take those pills.
When you notice shame, fear, or cravings getting in the way, be honest with yourself and with someone you’re close to so they can keep you accountable. If you’ve had a stressful day and are craving a beer, instead call up a loved one and tell them how you feel, chances are they’ll remind you of why you’re sober.
The more open and honest you are to yourself about your feelings, the less likely you are to relapse or turn to compensatory behaviors that can become addictions, too.
There are so many benefits of exercising in addiction recovery. You don’t have to run 5 miles every day or take up gymnastics. This can simply mean going for a 30-minute walk every day or doing some yoga.
Keep your body active and your endorphins up to help boost your mood on stressful or sad days and to keep yourself healthy. Exercise also helps you manage stress, which is a common contributing factor to relapse.
Change Your Diet
What you eat has a lot to do with how you feel. For instance, drinking a lot of caffeine can worsen anxiety symptoms. Eating a lot of sugar can make you feel sluggish. The food we eat also affects our hormones and blood sugar, which can have a direct impact on our thoughts, emotions, and physical health.
Therefore, eating a low-nutrient diet that’s high in calories, carbs, and sugars can make recovery harder on the brain and the body. Instead, be sure to incorporate proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and vegetables into your diet.
However, it’s okay to indulge in a yummy treat every once in a while, but the point is to not overdo it. Your diet is another area of your life where you can practice self-control, which can benefit your health and your progress in your recovery.
Meet New People
If your old friend group mainly consists of people you used to drink or do drugs with, change it up. There’s no need to feel guilty about this either. It’s important to surround yourself with people who won’t encourage a relapse.
So we encourage you to get out there and meet new people and make new friends, possibly some who are also in recovery and understand your situation. You can use meet-up groups or even participate in 12 step groups to meet others in the recovery community.
You can also sign up for classes or lessons to learn new hobbies and meet people that way. Remember, the people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our lives, so choose your friends wisely.
Create a Good Sleep Routine
We tend to be a little more moody, irritable, and sluggish when we don’t get enough sleep. For some reason, we emphasize the importance of a full eight hours to children and teens yet fail to follow our own advice as adults.
Lack of sleep is one of the main reasons why people struggle in recovery. The body is more sensitive to lack of sleep than we realize, so create a sleep routine that’ll help you wind down and get to sleep at a good time every night. This may include taking a warm bath, reading, or watching TV to help you relax.
Ask for Help
There’s nothing wrong with getting therapy. If anything, we encourage you to do so. As a drug and alcohol rehab in Pennsylvania, we’ve seen patients thrive under the care of our therapists.
Everyone needs someone to talk to, and therapy, like our addiction counseling, can help you work through any trauma, difficult emotions, and triggers that would be nearly impossible to manage on your own. Our therapists are trained professionals who have undergone years of training to learn how to identify harmful traits and help patients progress in their recovery from addiction.
Get Help Today
If you find yourself slowly reverting to old habits or developing new harmful ones, we can help. Not only does Clearbrook offer medically monitored detox and drug treatment to help kick start our patients’ journeys, but we also offer therapy methods and aftercare services to provide continuous support after rehab.
To learn more about our drug and alcohol treatment in PA, call Clearbrook Pennsylvania today at 570-536-9621. Our specialists are here and ready to help.