How Can I Avoid a Substitute Addiction? 

Addiction is incredibly complex, and we still have so much to learn about how addiction develops and persists in the brain.  One thing that is clear is that addiction is a chronic disease that requires treatment. Addiction may occur as a result of substance abuse, but once the brain has been altered and the reward system triggered, addiction can change the way we think and behave, even long after we become sober.  One common negative behavioral consequence of substance use disorder is the occurrence of a substitute or replacement addiction after becoming sober. Although these addictions may differ from substance abuse, they can be detrimental to your life and damaging to your recovery. A quality treatment program will address this risk and help you put a plan in place to prevent substitute addictions from developing. 

It is true that substances like drugs and alcohol contain ingredients that chemically alter your body’s response and induce dependency.  If this was the only factor influencing addiction, however, we could guarantee full recovery after a relatively short detox treatment. Unfortunately, addictive behavior usually stems from underlying emotional and mental health issues.  Therefore, even if an individual feels strong in their sobriety after quitting drugs or alcohol, they may be vulnerable to substitute addictions if they don’t properly address the root cause of their behavior. Common substitute addictions include food, sex, shopping, and working.  All these behaviors are normal in moderation, but can become compulsive and dangerous when an addiction occurs. 

If addiction is seen as a chronic illness rather than a temporary dependence, addiction and mental health professionals can provide well-rounded care that addresses all aspects of addictive behavior.  Therapy can go a long way in working through repressed emotions and past trauma that may be contributing to the development of addiction, while mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression may require medication to manage symptoms that lead to addictive behavior.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and mental illness, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.