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DEALING WITH ADDICTIONS: Understanding and overcoming cross-addiction

Defining cross-addiction 

When someone has two or more addictive habits, this is referred to as cross-addiction. Furthermore, it implies that a person is more likely to acquire more and severe addictive tendencies. 

This is essentially not the same as having several addictions at the same time. Instead, it is the result of one addiction taking the place of the first and then followed by another. Furthermore, cross-addiction might not happen right away once the initial addiction has ended. In fact, it could take years.

How and why does cross-addiction happen? 

Cross addiction can happen for a variety of reasons, but these causes are most frequently described as accidental or even unintentional. For one, the pleasurable sensation experienced from a drug can encourage you to keep using it, eventually leading to increasing usage and addiction. Another factor for cross-addiction is a lack of knowledge. In fact, some of the most common addictions are not recognized as so. 

Environmental stressors, such as the loss of a job, the death of a family member, or another traumatic event, might induce a cross-addiction. This is why, rather than focusing on the consequences of cross-addiction on the drug being misused, treatment for cross-addiction should focus on personal and deeper underlying issues. 

What are the most commonly observed cross-addictions? 

Cross-addictions are not necessarily associated with the use of drugs or alcohol. In fact, some of them do not seem alarming at first. With that, here are some of the most common cross-addictions observed among the population:

Man in depression

Social media or the internet

It is no surprise that the internet and social media are designed to lure you in and keep you clicking. Whether it is on dating apps, online markets, or news feeds, the internet provides a never-ending supply of ways to escape our everyday routines. 

Social media addiction is a type of behavioural addiction characterized by excessive concern about social media, an uncontrolled need to log on to or use social media, and dedicating so much time and effort to social media that it interferes with other essential aspects of one’s life. A significant change in mood and other interpersonal issues will be present in addictive social media usage, just as they are in any other drug use disease.

Working out 

Exercise can cause your brain to release chemicals that provide a feeling of reward or pleasure. In return, exercise addiction is ultimately a result of reliance on this pleasurable reaction.

However, being addicted to exercise is not as beneficial as you may think, as this need for constant physical movement can stem from various mental health issues. This may include intense insecurity, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders. Thus, excessive weight loss and weight-related health problems might be the outcome of exercise addiction.

Food consumption 

Experiments in animals and humans have shown that food activates the same reward and pleasure regions of the brain that are engaged by addictive substances like cocaine and heroin. Highly palatable meals, like addictive medications, cause the release of feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine. These foods include those that contain a lot of sugar, salt, and fat. 


Nicotine is a substance found in cigarettes that makes quitting difficult. It causes a brief but pleasurable impact on the brain, which causes people to consume them continuously. Moreover, nicotine is said to enhance elements of cognition, such as the capacity to maintain attention and store information in memory. However, in the long run, smoking nicotine will bring you severe and irreversible effects. Long-term smoking is linked to cognitive deterioration and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other possible cross addictions 

Cross-addictions can develop with a wide range of activities, even some that are generally considered to be normal. Furthermore, other cross-addictions include sex, excessive money spending, and gambling.

Dealing with Addiction

How can I deal with and overcome cross-addiction? 

Accepting that you will feel tempted to consume drugs, alcohol, nicotine, food, etc., is a sensible strategy to cope with cross-addiction. What counts is what you do with those moments. With that, here are other ways you can deal with cross-addiction: 

Seek professional help

There are several issues and concerns that we cannot deal with alone. Thus, in cases like this, you will need to seek help from reliable professionals. Therapists are trained for years to recognize specific characteristics that contribute to cross-addiction and mental disease. For someone trapped in a cross-addiction cycle, seeking medical help for a year or more is typically the best course of action. 

Acquire the ability to tolerate your cravings

Yes, this is easier said than done. However, one of the most effective ways to deal with this concern is by controlling your cravings. These cravings are both physical and emotional, and addicts frequently do not know how to cope with them even after they have completed detox. One approach to tolerate these emotions is to discover new skills to deal with immense feelings like anger, annoyance, and sadness that does not involve taking drugs or alcohol.  

Do not be too hard on yourself

Like what was mentioned a few times in this article, addiction usually stems from more underlying concerns caused by traumatic events. Without even realizing it, we sometimes tell ourselves awful stories about ourselves. The more we believe these stories, the more likely we are to engage in substance misuse. Therefore, one of the first steps to take when dealing with cross-addiction is by validating yourself and giving yourself more credit for everything you have been through and accomplished this far.  

If you require any further advise or assistance then get in touch with Calm Rehab, the leading rehab center in Bali, Indonesia.

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