Cross Addiction, or Addiction Interaction Disorder as it is otherwise known, sees an individual become addicted to several substances.
If you are hoping to find out more about cross addictions, or believe that you may be developing an addiction to an additional substance, you have come to the right place.
At Action Rehab, we have discussed what cross addictions are, and the support that is available to those suffering from a cross addiction below.
What is Cross Addiction?
Prior to discussing how a cross addiction arises and the treatment available, it is essential to gain an understanding of what cross addictions are.
As touched on above, cross addictions see an individual develop addictions to several substances. Rather than being present at the same time, individuals suffering from a cross addiction will replace one substance with another, often unintentionally.
Although the substances abused will differ, the thoughts, feelings and associations fueled will be somewhat indistinguishable. In many cases, they will arise from similar influencing factors such as stress, mental health disorders and unanticipated situations.
While much of the information surrounding cross addictions leads many to believe that an individual will purely become addicted to several substances, it is important to understand that cross addictions can also cause an individual to adopt an addictive behaviour such as gambling.
How Does Cross Addiction Occur?
With an understanding of what cross addictions are, you may now be wondering how cross addictions occur. Put simply, just as an initial addiction arises from various influencing factors, a cross addiction does too.
Cross addictions can occur before seeking treatment for one addiction or during recovery. In some instances, an individual that has recovered from an alcohol addiction, for example, will sadly turn to a different substance, such as opioid drugs, to help them cope.
As they will have obtained treatment for their alcohol addiction, they will no longer feel compelled to turn to alcohol. This is because they will have developed coping strategies to mitigate their chances of relapsing.
It should be noted that a cross addiction can occur at any stage in recovery. For example, an individual could have remained sober for ten years before a cross addiction arises. However, research determines that cross addiction is most common amongst those who have been in recovery for a shorter period of time.
For individuals that are yet to seek treatment for an addiction, cross addictions may occur when one substance does not provide the desired results or effects.
Although cross addictions are a real issue, not every individual that has successfully completed treatment for an addiction will develop a cross addiction.
Is Cross Addiction a Form of Relapse?
Contrary to believe, cross addiction is not a form of relapse. As previously discussed, a cross addiction will see an individual develop a different addiction.
A relapse on the other hand, sees an individual once again turn to the substance that they were previously addicted to.
Are Cross Addictions and Dual Diagnosis the Same?
With little research and information available surrounding cross addictions, many assume that cross addictions and dual diagnosis are the same. However, this is not true.
A dual diagnosis is the medical term used when an individual has become addicted to a substance and is also battling a mental health disorder.
How Common Are Cross Addictions?
Little research highlights just how common cross addictions are. However, a study conducted in America found that 13% of individuals in recovery from one addiction were likely to develop a cross addiction.
The study further determined that 27% of individuals that had not sought treatment for an addiction had developed a cross addiction. This suggests that individuals that are yet to seek treatment for an addiction are at greater risk of developing a cross addiction.
Can Cross Addictions Be Prevented?
Cross addictions can be prevented. However, it is essential to remember that an individual will not realise that they have become addicted to a substance until the addiction has taken control of their every waking moment.
If an individual is in recovery for an addiction, cross addictions can be prevented through the employment of therapy. Attending recovery groups can also provide an outlet to discuss any thoughts or feelings that could eventually cause a cross addiction to arise.
How Is Cross Addiction Treated?
If a cross addiction is identified, the individual suffering will be encouraged to attend rehab for treatment.
The treatment administered will initially focus on ensuring that the individual withdraws from the substance that they have become addicted to through the employment of detoxification. Upon completing detoxification, the individual will be encouraged to take part in various forms of therapy.
This therapy will not only ensure that the individual suffering from a cross addiction can address the factors that have influenced their addiction, but it will additionally work to guarantee that a cross addiction can be prevented in the future.
One of the most successful forms of therapy when considering cross addictions is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy encourages individuals to address any issues that have arisen in their life.
With the support of a therapist, the individual will then have the ability to reflect on their thoughts, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes to gauge how they behave when emotional problems arise. From here, coping mechanisms can be developed to prevent a cross addiction or relapse stemming in the future.
Upon completing a rehabilitation programme, aftercare support will be provided to mitigate the risk of a cross addiction arising again.
Contact Us Today
If you have previously completed rehabilitation for a substance addiction, but are becoming increasingly concerned that you may be developing an addiction to a different substance, we would encourage you to reach out to us. At Action Rehab, we are on hand to offer a safe space for you to voice your concerns. We can also refer you for additional addiction treatment.
Likewise, if you have been trying to understand what cross addiction is to support a loved one, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for support, guidance and advice.