If a person suffers from cross-addiction, it means they display at least two or more addictive behaviors. These addictions are often alcohol and drugs, but can also include addictions to food, sex, gambling, and other compulsions.
Cross addiction happens when someone stops using or decreases the use of an addictive substance or behavior and starts using a new substance or begins taking part in different behavior which they believe will not cause the same addiction issues.
If you or your loved ones are suffering from cross addictions, here are some ways to overcome them, and how you can learn how to avoid new or multiple addictions.
How Do People Get Addicted to Multiple Substances?
Multiple addictions often happen accidentally. For example, you might be prescribed a painkiller after surgery and then keep on using it, because you’ve become used to the good feeling you get from the drug.
People with a history of more than one mental health issue are at higher risk of developing cross addictions. For example, someone who suffers from depression and anxiety may start using drugs and alcohol or become addicted to gambling.
If you’re in the early stages of recovery from alcoholism or drug abuse, you stand a higher chance of developing a cross-addiction, as your brain still wants the dopamine rush from when you were using.
Unfortunately, many people do not seek treatment for their addictions as they think they can stop on their own. Some addicts also can’t admit to themselves that they have a problem.
How Can You Avoid Cross Addiction?
You can try to avoid cross-addiction by educating yourself, but it can be difficult in certain situations. If you know you have an addiction or substance problem:
- Be careful when you use prescription drugs. If you need to take painkillers after surgery or an accident, ask your doctor if they can prescribe ones that are less addictive. Your doctor may recommend that you use measures such as physical therapy to manage your pain instead.
- If you have to take medicine that can be addictive, don’t take a large supply home with you. Ask a family member to keep the medication and dispense it to you, as needed. They also need to make sure that you’re taking the medicine as prescribed.
- Ask your doctor if alternative ways of pain relief can be considered if you have chronic pain. Pain medication such as OxyContin, and Percocet can be especially addictive.
- Avoid alcohol and mind-altering drugs.
- Don’t attend social functions where people take drugs. Also avoid bars, nightclubs, and pharmacies if you can.
- Write a checklist to focus on if you have to go to a pharmacy for medication.
If you or any of your loved ones suffer from cross-addiction, it’s vital to seek help as soon as possible. Help groups are also available online. Try to find a group that is specifically for people who struggle with the same addiction as you or your loved one.
If you check into an inpatient facility, medical personnel can monitor you on an ongoing basis. It’s then possible to take part in psychotherapy sessions that can help you get to the root cause of your addiction. This can also help you overcome the false thoughts that have led to your substance abuse and help you focus on new, positive ideas.
People who struggle with withdrawal from heroin or opioid addiction may need medication-assisted treatment.
It’s essential that people realize addiction is a disease, and there is no need to be ashamed and isolate themselves if they believe they have a problem. It will speed up your recovery if you can find new, positive ways of spending your time. Take part in healthy activities such as exercise and seek out fulfilling relationships with your family and friends who don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.