If you suffer addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may also suffer vulnerability to developing a substance use disorder for another drug. Many years of case studies backup this cross addiction even though many people discount it as a myth and believe that avoiding their original substance keeps them safe from addiction altogether. Instead, there is importance to avoiding all drugs and alcohol with addictive qualities.
Cross addiction differs from a dual diagnosis which is addiction with underlying or co-occurring mental illness. However, you still may experience depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other mental illnesses with cross addiction. In fact, if you don’t treat your co-occurring mental illness, your path sets you up for cross addiction.
Is Cross Addiction Real?
Most people in recovery leave rehab and avoid using prescription medications like painkillers, due to the risk of forming a new addiction. Moreover, this matches what most experts advise: to avoid using drugs or alcohol after starting recovery.
What plays a role in cross addiction or dual addiction? Risk factors for addiction exist when you suffer from the disease. Most disease models of addiction note changes in your brain that put you at even greater risk than before you tried your first substance. Therefore, staying away from addictive chemicals makes sense.
In addition, you see friends of yours who enter rehab time and again to fight their disease. These people continue to struggle, whether with one substance or multiple. Many of these experiences support the theories of addiction transfer from drug to drug and also show continued risk for relapse at any time.
Who is at Risk for a Second or Third Addiction?
During one study, 13 percent of people develop a new addiction to a different substance after rehab. However, experts say the 87 percent of those not developing this type of problem points to cross addiction being a myth. This makes the issue one of great debate. It is also your personal decision to make for yourself, whether you risk cross addiction during your recovery.
Researchers at Columbia University report unmarried males are at the greatest risk when it comes to new addictions after sobriety. In fact, young males age 18 to 25 remain the highest at risk for a substance use problem, too. They experience the most peer pressure and environmental cues pointing them to substance abuse. Most at risk in this group are those with co-occurring mental health problems.
Which Substances Lead to the New Addictions After Recovery?
Very few studies exist to help researchers understand which substances put you most at risk for a new addiction. However, these researchers believe your risk exists most when it comes to similar substances or the ones giving you the same feelings. For example, these substances of transferrable addiction include:
- Alcohol and benzos
- Prescription painkillers and heroin
- Benzos and barbiturates
- Sleep aids and sedatives
- Cannabis and ecstasy or LSD
- Cocaine, diet aids, ecstasy, caffeine, and meth
One of the biggest problems in substance abuse today is when the drug makers’ lace your chosen drug with unknown substances. A good example of this is fentanyl in heroin or cocaine. Drug dealers add fentanyl to increase their buyers’ potential for addiction and repeat buys. This causes great risk and entirely new drug addictions, even without your awareness of what is happening.
End Your Risk for Dual Addiction Altogether
The sure way to take away your risk for multiple addictions is to stop abusing drugs and alcohol now. No matter your age, gender, or which substance you now abuse, you can change your life with the right help. This help exists at Ashley Addiction Treatment in Havre de Grace, Maryland.
Programs at Ashley include:
- Primary and relapse rehab
- Residential and IOP programs
- Pain recovery program
- Young adult rehab
- Male young adult extended care
- Holistic care
- Co-occurring condition treatment
Call Ashley Addiction Treatment now at 866-313-6310 for information and guidance to the right treatment for your needs. You control your future with the right support, coping skills, insight, and education.