Can One Addiction Be Replaced With Another?

Cultural influence has transformed many myths and false assumptions into the common perception of how others experience addiction. Because of this, understanding addiction from an outsider’s point of view can be difficult or even inaccurate. For example, many believe that addiction is simply a one-time experience with alcohol, drug, or even gambling problems.

The fact of the matter, however, is that addiction is a long, arduous process capable of relapse and changes. In relapse, addicts can receive treatment but still fall into addiction multiple times. For some addicts, their addiction towards one aspect—such as alcohol—can shift to another, like eating or sex addictions.

An addiction replacement can be described as substituting one addiction for another, usually during or after recovery or treatment. Most addicts are completely unaware of their addiction replacement, while many people simply do not know about it. But by raising awareness and developing an understanding of addictions, addiction replacement can be prevented.

Identifying an Addiction Replacement

One of the most common fallacies of addiction is the idea that people only become dependent on consumable substances. As it turns out, addiction can apply itself to not just substances, but hobbies and activities. Furthermore, people typically believe the focus of an addiction always connects to an unhealthy activity—a complete falsehood. Addictions can develop for even the healthiest habits, such as exercise, work, eating, or even good-natured hobbies.

Addictions are not defined by the substance or activity in question, but their frequency and role in a person’s life. How a person handles their activity can make the difference between a casual hobby and a diehard addiction. Once a person begins to overdo or neglect certain activities, this can clarify the distinction. Such behaviors include:

  • Losing sleep to a craving.
  • Feeling stress or anxiety when neglecting substance or activity.
  • Developing depression or even suicidal thoughts.
  • Constantly thinking about activity or substance.
  • Struggling at work or school.
  • Relationship issues.
  • Ignoring or forgetting hygiene.

Perhaps you as an addict have already experienced these problems in the past but repeating them can be a signal of addiction replacement. After recovery, watching out for these behaviors is crucial not only to avoid relapse but addiction replacement.

Understanding Addiction Replacement

“If an addict knows their addiction is wrong, why do they find another one?” Many onlookers of an addict’s behavior ask this question, from family to friends. Unfortunately, recovering and treating addiction does not boil down to simply knowing right from wrong.

In addiction replacement, the issue does not center around simple negligence or weak willpower, but emotional and physical needs. Like relapse, addiction replacement acts as an attempt to recreate the same pleasures or “highs” from past addictions. Alcohol and drug abuse chemically alter the brain to crave them, despite knowing their negative repercussions. If an addict finds their life does not fulfill their needs, they can turn to relapse or seek addiction replacement.

Addiction relapse, however, can be more complex than giving into relapse, by instead unknowingly moving unhealthy habits onto new activities. In many cases, these new activities are meant to cope with sobriety but eventually develop into a new addiction.

Preventing and Treating Addiction Replacement

Handling addiction replacement operates similarly to relapse, often seeking long term or continuous treatment and therapy. Though every individual experiences addiction differently, there exist many options to seek recovery and treatment. Some addicts benefit better through one-on-one therapy or counseling, while others find solace in group therapy or even alongside others.

Treating and recovering from addiction also requires addicts to learn a great deal about themselves: their underlying problems, physical and emotional triggers, and addictive patterns. By understanding these patterns, addicts can not only learn about their past behaviors but understand how to handle future endeavors.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact Discovery Place’s Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.

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