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Transfer Addiction: Switching Vices and How to Stay Grounded

People who have successfully overcome drug addiction have plenty to celebrate. They look good, feel good, and have a new lease on life. While many recovering addicts have started new and exciting chapters in their lives, some feel something is missing. To fill that void, they may pursue other activities to feel the same rush that was felt during their period of substance abuse. While these activities may seem harmless on the surface, they can create dependent and even addictive behaviors that can be worse than substance abuse.

In this article, you will learn about the phenomenon known as transfer addiction. You will learn what transfer addiction is and the steps you can take to combat transfer addiction. If you are in recovery but are feeling you are becoming addicted to other substances or activities, call the Berman Center today. We offer Atlanta intensive outpatient substance abuse and mental health services that give you the tools you need to address addiction in all forms. Call us today and learn how to break free from all addictive behaviors at our outpatient mental health treatment center in Atlanta.

What is Transfer Addiction?

Simply defined, transfer addiction is when a person substitutes one addiction for another. Transfer addiction is also commonly known as cross-addiction or addiction hopping, and it can occur in the following ways:

  • In cases of forced abstinence, people with drug and alcohol addiction seek an immediate alternative to feel the same rush experienced with their original addiction.
  • People stop their original addiction and find an alternate behavior that provides the same feelings but with reduced harmful consequences.
  • In relapse prevention programs, people adopt a new behavior to reduce the risk of relapse. While effective in the short term, long-term substitution can lead to the development of a new addiction.
  • Common “replacement behaviors” that can lead to transfer addiction include compulsive exercise, overeating, shopping, video gaming, sex, pornography, smoking, and overworking.

What Are the Signs of a Transfer Addiction?

If you are in recovery and suspect you may be developing a transfer addiction, it is important to fully understand in full the transfer addiction meaning as outlined in the previous section. One common sign of transfer addiction is constantly thinking about the new behavior or even becoming obsessed with this new behavior. Transfer addiction also can occur when you are having problems at work or school because you are thinking about a new activity and it interferes with your focus and concentration.

If you are experiencing transfer addiction behavior, you may feel increased levels of stress and anxiety if you are unable to engage in this new activity or don’t have the means or access to the new activity. Much like drug addiction or other process addictions, you may start neglecting your hygiene and don’t practice proper self-care to stay healthy. If you feel that a transfer addiction is taking over your life, you need to gauge the level of compulsiveness you are engaging in this new activity as well as how it is impacting your mental health.

Getting Help For Avoiding Transfer Addiction

How do you stay grounded and avoid transfer addiction?

First, you may want to seek the help of a therapist. If you are experiencing a transfer addiction, you may have not fully addressed the underlying roots of your original addiction. Often, addictions’ roots include unresolved trauma, mental health issues, or avoidant behavior. A therapist can help you address those issues and help you cultivate healthy coping skills to minimize the risk of transferring addictions.

Secondly, be vigilant and notice when small indulgences grow into intense cravings and desires. Much like other addictions, transfer addictions can slowly take over your life without notice. When those new behaviors become daily habits, you need to seek help as soon as possible. Thirdly, use the life and coping skills you have already learned in treatment and work those skills every day.

Stop Addiction In Its Tracks With Help From The Berman Center

If you sense that addiction has impacted your life, you must take action! The best and most effective way to halt addiction’s progress is through a comprehensive and evidence-based treatment program. As one of the Southeast’s premier outpatient drug addiction treatment in Atlanta, The Berman Center has helped countless addicts conquer addiction and find lasting health and happiness. We offer substance abuse and mental health treatment programs that address the root of your addiction. We give you the tools and support you need to change your life for the better.

Call the Berman Center today and experience total freedom from addiction.

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