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What Is Cross-Addiction?

What Is Cross-Addiction?If someone has a cross-addiction, then she is addicted to more than one substance or action at the same time. Common examples of cross addiction are when an alcoholic is also addicted to cocaine, or when an alcoholic becomes addicted to a prescribed medication. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 27 million Americans use illegal drugs or drink heavily. SAMHSA also notes that alcohol and drug addiction associated mental illnesses are the most severe health problems in the United States. Get help for these devastating problems.

How Cross-Addiction Affects the Brain

When people become addicted to a drug or behavior, two primary culprits are tolerance and dependence. When people become tolerant to a specific dosage of a drug, the brain and body require higher doses to achieve intended results. In response to tolerance, people may take more of the drug or take drugs more frequently to find relief. Unfortunately, no amount is ever enough, so people will continue abusing drugs. Secondly, dependency occurs once the drug affects the brain less. For example, any drug that increases the production of dopamine also increases your brain’s desire to activate your reward/pleasure circuitry. When your brain accepts the high levels of dopamine, it requires those levels to feel normal. Tolerance and dependence drive addiction, and they can spell disaster when coupled with denial or justification.

Why Cross-Medication Occurs

People often cross-medicate the symptoms of a primary addiction. For example, an alcoholic may smoke cigarettes to withdraw from alcohol, but this response does not deal with the cause of addiction, and it often results in a cross-addiction. Additionally, other people who become cross-addicted to a prescription medication probably do not want to admit their addictions to their physicians, or they may think alcoholism is irrelevant to prescription painkiller use. Unfortunately, this also ignores the underlying issues, and an infirmed addict may not have the tools to combat the need for the medication.

Treatment for Cross-Addiction

An integrated addiction treatment program is the right choice for people with cross-addictions. In a secure and structured environment, you can receive all of the services that you need to start recovery. With medically supervised detox, professionals will monitor your withdrawal symptoms. Individual counseling enables you to look at more problems than the addiction, which will help you understand how you reached this point and how you can recover. Education and classes help you learn about addiction and how to create a healthy lifestyle.

Help for Cross-Addiction

People who struggle with cross-addiction often feel completely out of control and do not know where to start the recovery process. The right choice for treatment is an integrated treatment program that can provide services that meet all your needs. Let us help you make a calm and rational decision by providing the information you need. Please call our toll-free helpline now, because we are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about integrated treatment.