Understanding Addiction Transference

HHRC-A person shares with a psychologist about his problems, addiction to drugs

Millions of people fight addictions yearly in the United States, including drug addiction, alcohol addiction, sex addiction, and even food and game addictions. Addiction may affect not just substances but also everyday behaviors and activities. Humans may get hooked on almost anything, and no addiction benefits them.

However, did you realize you may combat more than one addiction? You may be an alcoholic with a sexual addiction or a marijuana addict with a video game addiction. This is known as cross-addiction, and it occurs when you combat numerous addictions at the same time.

Furthermore, it is conceivable to battle one addiction, conquer it, and acquire another addiction years later. For example, you may have coped with a gambling addiction in the past and utilized video games to cope, only to develop a gaming addiction years later. This is known as transference.

The Effects of Addiction on the Brain

Let us first examine the intense nature of addiction before discussing drug addiction transference. Did you know that over 4% of Americans met the criteria for an official drug use disorder in the previous year, and almost 10% had suffered with one at some time in their lives?

Addiction is a condition that has many physical, mental, and emotional consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, you may be unaware that it is more than a lack of willpower. The effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain are significant. So, how does addiction develop?

Addiction generates several chemical alterations in the brain. This is how addiction works, according to DrugAbuse.gov:

A healthy brain uses pleasure to identify and promote positive actions such as eating, socializing, and sex. Our brains are structured to improve the likelihood of repeating rewarding activities. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is essential in this. Drugs cause considerably greater dopamine surges, further cementing the relationship between drug usage, pleasure, and all the environmental signals associated with the event. The neurotransmitter ultimately teaches the brain to prefer drugs over healthier objectives and activities.

As seen, substance addiction may have a significant impact on a person’s life. As an addict, you rapidly get trapped in a vicious loop of seeking the same pleasure. Addiction can also contribute to the development of other illnesses, such as depression and increased anxiety.

Addicts experience an emotional rollercoaster, which is why a solid support system and persistent therapy are critical, particularly given the possibility of developing additional difficulties such as transference. With that being said, what is transfer addiction and what causes it?

Addiction Transference: What is Cross Addiction?

Addiction transference happens when a person is addicted to two or more addictive substances or activities, which can include addictions to drugs and alcohol as well as gambling, food, or other overwhelming behaviors. It is also known as cross addiction. Addiction is defined as the continuing use of a drug or activity in the face of the possibility of personal issues or dire repercussions. A person suffering from an addiction may wish to quit but find it challenging to do so independently.

Addiction transfer occurs when another replaces one addiction. Cross-addictions don’t have to be developed simultaneously. One example is that someone could be in recovery from a chemical addiction such as opioids and be clean for years. However, they may then become addicted to alcohol or develop compulsive behavior. This activates the brain’s dopamine reward center. It is more common in people who have or are battling addiction.

What Causes Addiction Transference?

Transference of addiction can occur for various reasons; however, it is frequently unintentional. A person may have Percocet or Vicodin prescribed to them for addiction. They may continue to use drugs, eventually becoming addicted. The euphoric feeling they get from the medicine can support their continued drug abuse. Another reason is the failure to recognize another addiction.

A person may be aware that they have an addiction to one drug but may be unaware that they have an addiction to another substance or compulsive behavior. Therefore, persons with a substance use disorder or a history of one should be aware of the danger of a transference of addiction.

Another cause of it is unresolved mental health difficulties, sometimes known as co-occurring illnesses or dual diagnoses. People suffering from trauma, sadness, or anxiety may use alcohol and other substances for consolation. Transference of addiction may also emerge as an attempt to compensate for unpleasant changes in behavior and habits; also as a result of feelings and thoughts that the individual is having difficulty coping with. A frequent example is when a person in recovery from alcoholism begins to gamble extensively. This might result in financial hardship and hopelessness. However, due to the addictive nature of gambling and the reward of dopamine in the brain, the practice persists as a coping mechanism.

Is Addiction Transference Common?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 21 million people aged 12 and above have a dual addiction. Many people do not seek treatment for addiction because they do not feel they can quit or are not ready to stop, and some do not realize they have a problem.

What Is the Treatment for Addiction Transference?

Transference of addiction is best handled at an addiction treatment facility using 12-step programs or other recovery support groups. Several support groups specialize in specific addictions, such as drugs or compulsive behaviors like gambling, sex, or eating. A good treatment program will use evidence-based therapy techniques to address co-occurring mental health disorders. Certain people can also benefit from medication-assisted therapy (MAT).

Because of the significant potential of developing a transference of addiction if someone has a history of addiction, it is recommended to consult with a specialist before using any prescription drugs considered addictive substances, such as opioids or benzodiazepines. If addiction drugs are required, having a family member distribute them may help lessen the likelihood of abuse.

The most effective approach to avoid a transference of addiction is to educate yourself and others. When a person is in early recovery from one addiction, they are more likely to acquire a transference of addiction because their brains are still looking for the dopamine high they had when actively using. Despite this, it can recur even after several years of recovery. It is essential to be aware of the hazards and conduct a thorough inventory of your actions to avoid a transference of addiction.

Key Takeaway

One of the lesser-known ideas in addiction is the transference of addiction. It is critical to recognize that addiction does not occur in a vacuum. Addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Transference of addiction demonstrates that the substance itself is not the primary issue; rather, the emphasis should be on breaking the psychological aspect of addiction. Treatment is both practical and vital for ending the cycle of addiction in whatever form it takes.

Haven House Recovery is Here to Help

If you or a loved one is ready to seek treatment, you should do so as soon as possible. Addiction is a powerful force that may swiftly escalate if left unchecked. You cannot battle it alone, but therapy can help you conquer it. As demonstrated, addiction is more about the psyche than the drug.

Haven House Recovery’s rehabilitation center can help with addiction recovery in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, with our 12-step Christian-based treatment program. Our friendly staff can answer all your concerns and help you get back on track to a life free from addiction.

As you are probably aware, addiction is a journey with many twists and turns. The support you receive from our treatment can assist you in navigating the highs and lows that come with the road to recovery.