Substituting One Addiction For Another

The Dangers of Replacing Addictions

When an individual struggles with the disease of addiction, they require treatment in order to overcome and manage it. Without the proper coping mechanisms in place, they may turn to another addiction in order to replace the one that they received treatment for. Addiction is the cause of a chemical imbalance in the brain and if it is not under proper management, the individual will try to manage their symptoms by turning to something else. 

Many addicts may substitute one addiction for another and this typically happens once addiction.

Understanding Addiction Replacement

Oftentimes when an individual quits smoking, they will begin to eat more. The same general theory applies to drugs and alcohol as when an individual is overcoming an addiction to substances of abuse, they may turn to another compulsive habit in order to fulfill their urges and temptation. Within the replacement of the addiction, a new addiction can form which releases endorphins and ‘feel-good’ chemicals, just like the drugs or alcohol did.

Some of the common addictions that individuals may acquire in replacement of drugs or alcohol are:

  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Videogames
  • Food/eating 
  • Exercise 
  • Overworking 

Many people turn to another addiction because these activities relieve stress and can help them cope with anxiety or worry, just like their former addiction did. While they don’t cause harm to the body, they can still take a devastating toll on the wellbeing of the individual as well as their loved ones. 

Overcoming a Subsequent Addiction

Just as with drug and alcohol addiction, treatment for any other kind of addiction is necessary. Through therapy and counseling, individuals can learn how to properly manage their addiction so that they can carry on to live productive lives. While these alternatives to substance abuse may seem harmless, they can easily become out of control and take over an individual’s life. Some of the telltale signs that placement addiction has occurred are:

  • Consistent thoughts about the new addiction
  • Missing out on school or work 
  • Experiencing problems in your friendships and relationships
  • Neglecting your hygiene 
  • Feeling anxious and stressed if you can’t partake in the activity 

If you or someone you know is a recovering addict and has turned to replacement addiction, it’s important that you take note of the symptoms of replacement addiction. Treatment is available that can help these individuals overcome their compulsive and addictive habits, treatment for the first addiction has been completed. The truth is that one cannot truly be completely ‘cured’ of their compulsions and this is what may lead them to adopt succeeding addictions.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.