Addiction is a serious disease that many people struggle with on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ve heard the term cross addiction, but you’ve always wondered what it really meant. This post will discuss some of the facts surrounding cross addiction so that you can understand it a little more clearly. If you struggle with an addiction, you’ll learn whether or not you might be at risk of developing a cross addiction yourself.
First of all, however, it’s important to know exactly what cross-addiction is. Cross addiction is defined as moving from one addiction to another addiction. It’s very common for people who have struggled with addiction in the past to relapse, but they will often choose a new drug of choice; something they feel is “safer” or that they can control. For example, someone who is addicted to alcohol may use prescription painkillers and become addicted to them. That person has developed a cross addiction.
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Fact #1: Cross addiction is most common among those who are new to recovery
The longer you abstain from using drugs and alcohol, the better your chances are of having a complete recovery. Those who are new to recovery have a greater chance of relapsing, which is why cross-addiction is often something that is quite common for that particular group of people.
Fact #2: Cross addiction can still strike, regardless of the timeframe
Although cross addiction might be more common for those who are newly sober, anyone who is a recovered addict can be at risk. It’s not unheard of for someone to be sober from alcohol for twenty years or more and then have surgery and become addicted to their painkillers almost immediately. It’s actually more common than you might think.
Fact #3: Cross addiction can seem relatively harmless at first
Some people, even professionals, will minimize the serious nature of cross addiction. That’s because it can seem to be relatively harmless at first. Not all cross addictions refer to substances, either. Gambling addictions, Internet addictions and other types of addictive behaviors can all be classified as cross addictions if they occurred after a person began on the road to recovery from a substance problem.
Fact #4: Cross addiction brings an appeal to the original addiction
The addictive mind is very crafty, which is something most people don’t realize until they’ve entered into some type of professional treatment. People who trade one addiction for another one are, in a sense, awakening that addictive pattern all over again. Because the addiction is now in control, they will often start looking at their former addiction of choice as something pleasurable again, instead of something to be avoided at all costs.
Fact #5: Cross addiction can be avoided
For someone who becomes cross-addicted, denial can be a powerful force. This is especially true for those whose addictions are prescribed ones, such as painkillers or sleeping medications. The belief is generally that prescription medications can’t be that bad, or doctors wouldn’t give them to you. However, research has shown that most addictions are to prescription medications. Cross addiction can be avoided, but it takes some effort. An individual who has struggled with addiction in the past should be sure to mention that to any doctor who treats them. There are many different alternatives to potentially addictive medications, and those should always be tried first.
Fact #6: Those who are cross-addicted will ultimately revert back to their prior addictive behavior
Most addicts recognize their addictive behavior once they’ve started getting treatment. As their healing progresses, they begin to realize the selfish nature they displayed, and even how focused they were on getting their next fix. In cross addiction, those same behaviors will resurface, although they aren’t often acknowledged right away. That’s because the addictive mind is very powerful and very skilled at denying that there is a problem. The human brain craves the increased dopamine it once experienced, and that craving never really goes away.
Fact #7: Cross addiction or not, recovery is a life-long process
For the addict, and even for the addict who has broken free from the chains of addiction, recovery will always be a life-long process. It’s something that must continually be worked toward, and cross addiction can happen at any time at the most unsuspecting moments.
Perhaps you or someone you know is struggling with cross-addiction. Regardless of the circumstances, addiction help is available to you. There is no need to continue with that struggle. Please contact us for more information about addiction treatment.