How to Avoid Replacing One Addiction for Another While in Recovery

At 12 South Recovery, we believe in supporting you with individualized care. Addiction is complex and unique to your experiences, so your treatment should be, too. In the past and still today, there has been a stigma around addiction, treatment, and recovery. As noted in a 2020 article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there has been this longstanding stigma that individuals dealing with addiction only have themselves to blame. The general public and institutions like the healthcare and justice systems have often perceived people with addiction as weak. 

However, through research, we have seen that these negative belief systems are biased and flawed. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, addiction can happen to anyone, as one in seven Americans lives with substance use disorder (SUD). There is not one single driving factor that leads to this condition. Moreover, people have historically thought of addiction as substance-based (i.e., drugs and alcohol). However, with the progression of time and knowledge, researchers recognize that people can become addicted to behaviors like gambling and shopping too.

Whether you were seeking ways to cope with stress, trauma, an injury, or a medical condition, addiction can happen. 

What Is Addiction?

According to the blog “What is Addiction,” published by Harvard Health Publishing on September 12, 2021, the idea that addiction is purely a pleasure-seeking behavior has been tossed out. Addiction is usually rooted in sensation-seeking and self-medication. People participate in addictive activities to escape discomforts caused by physical, mental, and emotional distress. Whether this is through drugs and alcohol or addictive behaviors, it can cause harm and interfere with people’s daily lives.

Similarities and Differences Between Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

According to an article from the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, professionals who study behavioral sciences believe that any source that can cause stimulation can become addictive. As behaviors like gambling, shopping, internet browsing, and gaming move from habit to compulsive behavior, they can be considered addictive. Individuals feel like they must engage in them to feel normal or achieve a sense of pleasure otherwise missing from their lives.

Substance-based and behavioral addictions share many features like the compulsion to engage in the stimulant despite negative consequences. For example, a compulsion to gamble can impair one’s ability to function at work and school or maintain relationships. 

The thing that separates substance and behavioral addiction is the substance. Behavioral addiction is marked not by a substance or the source itself. Instead, it comes from the feeling one experiences when the behavior is performed.

Drug Substituting and Cross-Addiction

As noted in an article from JAMA Psychiatry, the risk factors for addiction substitution are higher in those who have co-occurring mental health disorders or use other substances. However, the article’s study has shown that seeking treatment, going through recovery, and abstaining from other potentially addictive substances significantly lower the chances of developing a cross-addiction.

An article on cross-addiction from the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction from 2022 notes that the development of other addictive behaviors can be prevented with psychoeducational and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. One of the fundamental tools that drive recovery and prevent addiction replacement is therapeutic support.

Integrated Treatment

Therapeutic support is a foundational piece of the recovery process, whether it is substance- or behavioral-based. Furthermore, research has shown the value of therapy as a means of support for long-term recovery. This is especially true for high-risk individuals, like those with co-occurring mental health disorders. Social support and the integration of evidence-based therapies positively impact the treatment and recovery process. Taking the most effective elements of evidence-based therapies for improved outcomes shows how adaptable therapy can be to individual needs.

Finding Support With 12 South Recovery

The work individuals do in treatment should not be diminished or nullified by a co-occurring mental health disorder. As co-occurring mental health disorders are a risk factor for addiction, replacement, treatment, and relapse prevention must account for this factor. By being prepared for higher risk factors in treatment, individuals can receive the best possible care and support. 

At 12 South Recovery, we are committed to working with each client. Together we can build a plan of care that fits their specific situation and needs. No one will not slip through the cracks or be penalized on their recovery journey for co-occurring mental health disorders. Our client-centered approach fully integrates the support needed for a dual diagnosis in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

When an individual caught in active addiction seeks recovery support, there should be no doubt that their treatment plan has been built with lifelong recovery in mind. We help clients plan to avoid replacement addictions, whether behavioral or otherwise. Our services are available for assistance long after individuals complete their treatment with us. This way, they can feel secure in the longevity of their recovery.

Behavioral addiction can be as harmful as substance-based addiction to your well-being. Moreover, whether it is behavior- or substance-based, co-occurring mental health disorders can raise your risk for replacement addiction. However, with the support of integrated dual diagnosis treatment, you can avoid addiction substituting and cross-addiction for your long-term recovery. At 12 South Recovery, we are committed to providing dual diagnosis care along with a wide variety of therapeutic techniques to support your specific needs. We know the opportunity for recovery is hindered when the whole person is not considered. 12 South Recovery is committed to making sure you feel heard, understood, and supported on your recovery journey. To learn more, call us today at 866-839-6876.

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