Understanding Cross-Addiction

Just because you may have kicked your drug or alcohol addiction doesn’t mean you are off the hook for your newly-found shopping addiction. This practice of simply replacing one addiction for another is known as cross-addiction and is a type of relapse in the disease of addiction. When overcoming addiction, both your original addiction and a cross-addiction require positive lifestyle changes. This is so negative habits do not form into new dependencies or addictions to replace a previous one. Someone struggling with one addiction is more susceptible to developing a cross-addiction. Remaining mindful of your behaviors in recovery is an essential preventive measure to take to avoid slipping into another form of addiction.


Potential Causes of Cross-Addiction


Some people struggling with a cross-addiction may rationalize that their new addiction isn’t as harmful as their original addiction and may not acknowledge their compulsive behaviors are a problem. At the root, cross addictions occur for either the same or a different reason than your original addiction. Since you’ve entered recovery, there may be a new stressor in your life that you don’t know how to cope with effectively. Perhaps you’ve never dealt with the root, underlying cause in your original addiction, such as a co-occurring mental health disorder or previous trauma. Getting to the underlying cause and addressing it, and incorporating positive coping habits into your everyday life can help you overcome your cross-addiction.


Common Cross-Addictions


Often with cross-addiction, people will transition away from a drug or alcohol use, only to switch to a new addiction to fill the same place emotionally as the original one down the road. Common cross addictions include:


  • Shopping
  • Eating
  • Pornography
  • Gambling
  • Gaming
  • Sex
  • Exercise


Getting Help

Developing a cross-addiction is a sign that some underlying emotional issues need attention. Finding help through support groups, therapy, or with a sponsor can help you talk about and better understand what is driving your actions. Proper support can help you get through the difficult early stages of recovery until you gain confidence and momentum in your journey.


Cross-addictions can take the place of an original addiction. Acknowledging that these behaviors do not serve you, finding the correct help, a positive outlet, and coping skills will help you regain a sense of balance in your life again. If you or a loved one is struggling to get or remain sober, call Avalon Malibu. At Avalon, we specialize in treating substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our supportive staff of professionals will create a treatment program tailored to all of your individual needs through our effective combination of clinical and holistic therapies. Call us at (844) 857-5992 for more information.

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