What are Replacement Addictions?

What are Replacement Addictions?

When leaving a treatment center, most clients are often surprised to learn that they can substitute one addiction for another. Addiction is a sneaky disease, which is why recovery requires your full attention.

As you grow stronger and more secure in your sobriety, you won’t have to be on guard as much. But for now, it’s important to be aware of replacement addictions, how to recognize them, and ways to prevent them from forming.

What are Replacement Addictions? 

In the case of addiction replacement, a new addiction takes the place of the old one. This addiction does not have to be drugs or alcohol. Instead, it can be things like exercise or shopping. The reason why this happens is that people in recovery are trying to produce the same highs they used to get with drugs and alcohol. 

As you leave addiction treatment in Agoura and transition into your everyday life, you might find that you are tired and unmotivated. This is likely from lower levels of dopamine, as well as your brain healing. As a result, you may gravitate towards things that make you feel better, and these can become replacement addictions. 

Common substitute addictions include: 

  • Binge eating
  • Overworking
  • Exercising 
  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Pornography
  • Nicotine 
  • Gaming 

How Do I Know if I Have a Transfer Addiction? 

Replacement addictions are tricky because they don’t require you to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many people transfer their addiction to activities that appear harmless, such as exercising or working. These activities look like healthier alternatives to abusing drugs, but they have similar consequences. For example, you might steal your parents’ credit card to go shopping or obsess over gaming. 

Here are some signs that you transferred your addiction to drugs and alcohol onto something else: 

  • Constantly thinking about your vice 
  • Losing sleep so that you can participate in your activity 
  • Experiencing trouble at school, work or home 
  • Having relationship issues with friends and family 
  • Neglecting self-care and personal hygiene 
  • Feeling stress and anxiety if you can’t do your activity 
  • Emerging feelings of depression and/or suicide 

Ways to Address a Substitute Addiction 

The key to treating addiction replacement is by understanding the root cause for the compulsive behavior. Chances are, the same thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that triggered your first addiction are still there and projecting onto different activities. 

It’s also possible that you need additional drug rehab in Agoura Hills. This does not mean that you have to repeat treatment but rather that you can benefit from additional psychotherapy and group counseling. Also, make sure that you are still following your aftercare plan because this provides structure in early recovery.  

When working with a therapist, your goal will be to address unconscious emotions, identify triggers, and develop a balanced schedule that includes eating well, relaxing, working, getting enough rest and not overscheduling yourself. By recognizing unhealthy behaviors early on, you can get the additional support you need and prevent transferring your unconscious emotions onto something else. 

To discuss a potential replacement addiction and the need for additional addiction treatment in Agoura, contact Awakenings Treatment Center today