Effective Treatment for Addiction Transfer Issues

If you are like most people, you may believe that addiction involves a single vice.

Assumptions about the success of treatment for addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, or addictive behaviors, are often optimistic. Many people assume that a person battling addiction who has admitted they have a problem, sought treatment, received it, and maintained sobriety for a while, is safe from relapse. The reality of transfer addiction renders this belief a myth.

While people in recovery or rehab may experience minor relapses, they should be able to go without further difficulty after they’ve made it through that initial hurdle. Every passing day strengthens the person’s resolve to remain clean from that substance or habit, and everything will be okay. But the widespread prevalence of addiction replacement reveals addiction for what it actually is: a chronic disease.

Transfer Addiction

People in addiction recovery who switch from one type of addiction to another are suffering from addiction replacement. When this happens, it’s usually in the middle of or following treatment for the first addiction.

Conquering a single addiction may not be enough for a person with an addictive personality. Individuals in recovery need to be exceedingly careful to prevent developing transfer addictions, often known as addiction replacement.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, our comprehensive addiction treatment plans can help you recover fully from addiction and prevent the possibility of addiction replacement.

Keep reading to find out more about the risks of transfer addiction, and how our effective and evidence-based approaches to treatment work at Pathfinders Recovery!

What is Transfer Addiction?

Transfer addiction is the act of trading an addiction for another. It often occurs when a person in recovery begins to substitute one addiction for another, usually during or after treatment of the original addiction. This can be a problem faced by people recovering from a wide range of issues, such as substance use disorder (SUD), alcohol use disorder, or bariatric surgery.

Transfer addictions are extremely risky since they include the continuation of the addict’s personality through another substance or habit. For example, someone battling heroin addiction may develop a gambling or shopping addiction, and someone with a history of compulsive eating disorders may become addicted to sex. Cocaine addicts sometimes may progress to alcoholism as well.

Understanding Transfer Addictions

What is Transfer Addictions

Addiction specialists report that if one is not careful, one might quickly get into a transfer addiction or a replacement addiction. Because of this, participants in almost all rehabilitation programs are strongly encouraged to abstain entirely from all intoxicating substances.

Many persons who struggle with addiction are not dependent on the substance or activity itself but on the high, the feeling, or, more specifically, the fulfillment of an emotional need. Addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, and other activities can cause chemical imbalances in the brain. When compulsive substance or behavior use has reached the point of addiction, our brains will continue to crave the substance or action, despite the harm it may cause.

Why Is Transfer Addiction So Common?

Your vulnerability to developing other addictions increases after struggling with another. If you get addicted to a substance or behavior, you will always have that addiction. Luckily, many people can make a full recovery after holistic treatment.

Addiction is a chronic sickness, and the fact that it lasts for years is a constant reminder. Treatment does not guarantee that you will never again suffer the unpleasant symptoms of your condition, just as it does not guarantee a cure for any other sickness. Even if you successfully overcome an addiction to one thing, that doesn’t imply you can’t develop another dependency in the future.

Relapse Following Substance Abuse Treatment Due to Addictive Behaviors

People who experience transfer addictions are victims of their disease. When you suffer from a transfer addiction, a new addiction replaces the previously addictive behavior to induce the same feeling or high. In this case, you don’t crave the substance or drug, but instead try to fulfill an emotional need.

Transfer addiction can start in various ways. Living a clean and sober life after overcoming an addiction is often challenging. So some people turn to another activity or drug as a coping mechanism for relieving stress, anxiety, or pain.

Newly sober people also find themselves with a lot of free time and money on their hands because they are no longer using it.

What are the Signs You May Have a Transfer Addiction?

Signs of Transfer Addiction

The signs of transfer addiction may even appear healthy and positive at first glance. It makes sense for a person to focus their renewed vitality and attention on activities like working out or school once they have kicked their drug and alcohol misuse habits. However, even positive and helpful activities might become an addiction if one isn’t attentive.

Transfer addiction signs are similar to those you may have experienced when you first discovered your substance abuse was becoming a problem. If any of the following describes how you’ve been feeling or behaving, you might want to give it some thought:

  • Even when you’re not actively taking part, your mind keeps going back to the activity
  • Problems in your personal life arise as a direct result of your involvement in the new pursuit
  • You invest more of your resources into the novel pursuit than is reasonable
  • You stop caring about things like job, personal cleanliness and sleep
  • If something prevents you from taking part in the activity, you may feel pressured or uneasy
  • Having self-harm thoughts related to the addiction

If you are sobering up from a substance abuse problem and are also dealing with any of these feelings, you may be vulnerable to or already engaging in a transfer addiction. It may be necessary to get outside assistance to remove yourself from whatever it is and to whatever extent you are involved.

Contact Pathfinders today for help battling transfer addiction.

Transfer Addiction Treatment Options

Transfer Addiction Treatment Options

The underlying causes of transfer addiction must be addressed to deal comprehensively with your addiction. This means that you should seek the help of a trained professional to determine the root causes of your desire to self-medicate or engage in destructive behaviors. Therapy and counseling can help you figure out why you fell into an addiction, to begin with.

People living with addiction and compulsive behaviors often suffer a great deal of guilt, which manifests in a lack of self-worth and a belief that they are defective or doomed to fail. Sometimes this has its roots in one’s upbringing or formative years.

Perhaps they never got the message that their parents liked them. Or maybe there was an excessive amount of pressure to excel. Some people lacked parental care while they were children, while others experienced traumatic events early in life.

If you lack self-esteem, you may experience some very unpleasant feelings. When people’s emotions are harrowing, they may turn to drugs to dull the pain. The use of alcohol, drugs, or any other addictive substance can provide temporary relief from emotional distress and mask the signs of mental illness.

It is crucial to remember that relapse into transfer addiction is not inevitable for those who enter treatment. A significant percentage of people who complete drug rehab may experience some form of transfer addiction.

What are the Types of Treatments for Addiction?

There are many different types of addiction treatment programs for people who struggle with addiction transfer, cross addiction, and SUDs. Below are the most common treatment programs for addiction recovery:

While there are many treatment options, the best treatment approach depends on the severity of the addiction, medical history, and other personal circumstances.

Behavioral Therapies for Addiction and Drug Abuse

Behavioral Therapies for Addiction

Behavioral therapies help clients in the recovery journey change their attitudes and behaviors regarding addiction and healthy coping mechanisms to help them deal with challenging scenarios and triggers.

Some of the commonly used behavioral therapies include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management (CM)
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)
  • The Matrix Model
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Family therapy
  • 12-step facilitation therapy

Get Help for Transfer Addiction at Pathfinders Now

Addiction is a chronic illness that requires professional treatment and aftercare services to ensure complete recovery. It has various harmful consequences on your health and overall wellbeing

If you are reading this and suspect you have a problem with transfer addiction, you should seek professional assistance immediately. You don’t have to battle addiction alone.

Complete recovery from addiction is possible with the support of our therapists, who can assist in identifying and treating the source of the problem. You can also learn better methods of dealing with your feelings and stress through therapy and counseling at our alcohol and drug rehab facility.

Get in touch with our compassionate and dedicated team for help reclaiming your life from addiction today!


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  • (877) 224-0761
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