What Does Cross Addiction and Cross Dependence Mean?

The people who find help in addiction recovery encounter many challenges on their way to a sober and fulfilling life. These challenges include cravings, mood changes, loneliness, and possible financial hardship. In addition, becoming addicted to another substance is an obstacle that some have heard is an inevitable phase of recovery. Read below to learn more about this condition, known as cross-addiction.

If you or a loved one need a safe space to talk about and recover from substance abuse or addiction to drugs, alcohol, or other compulsive behaviors, Contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn more about our recovery programs.

What is Cross Addiction?

Cross addiction refers to a new addiction that a recovering person develops to replace the original one. When this occurs, it usually involves an addiction with similar effects to the original addiction.

An example of a cross-addiction is the person addicted to opioids. During recovery, this person can turn to another central nervous system depressant, such as alcohol, Valium, Ativan, or Xanax. Alternatively, a person recovering from opioid addiction may develop a cross addiction to a particular behavior, such as gambling or shopping. 

For years, the anecdotal evidence confirmed the existence and substantial risk of developing a cross-addiction. Perhaps this was due to its occurrence among more than twenty million people who battle addictions in the United States. However, some research shows reason to doubt if cross-addiction was a legitimate risk to those in recovery. Nevertheless, the professionals who help people in recovery are aware of cross-addiction and work hard to prevent it.

How Does Cross Addiction Occur?

A cross-addiction usually develops accidentally and is often triggered by a stressful event. For example, someone recovering and striving to live a sober life might lose their job, experience divorce, lose a family member or friend to death, or have financial difficulties. Although this person may be aware of their tendency to relapse, they can convince themselves they need a new behavior or substance to help them feel better. A friend or family member can be most helpful in addressing any behavior that reveals a possible relapse.

Cross Addiction and Dual Diagnosis

Although often confused, these two terms reflect separate situations. Cross addiction suggests that a person recovering from addiction usually experiences an increased risk of developing a new addiction.

Dual diagnosis refers to the simultaneous presence of two disorders, such as drug addiction and mental illnesses such as depression or psychosis. It is important to know also that many people with dual diagnoses have more than two problems. This can include physical problems related to substance abuse and other psychological disorders, such as ASPD or agoraphobia. 

Is Cross Addiction a Part of Recovery?

It is a mistake to think that everyone in recovery is in hopeless danger of cross-addiction. Recent research indicates otherwise. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that, contrary to the anecdotal evidence, those who achieve remission from addiction are at a lower risk of developing a substance use disorder. 

The findings of this study highlight the importance of getting professional help for a successful recovery and return to a sober and rewarding life.

Consider Myrtle Beach Recovery

Our 12-step immersion program helps residents through the recovery process in a safe environment. The experienced staff at Myrtle Beach Recovery can help you or a loved one work on each step of recovery to regain control and live a fulfilling life.

Contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn more about our recovery programs.