addiction transference - Nuview Treatment Center

Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

Understanding Addiction Transference

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Did you know it is possible to experience more than one addiction? There are many different types of addictions that exist such as drug addiction, alcohol addiction, sex addiction, and more. Considering the various types of addictions, it is easy for someone to be addicted to more than one substance or behavior. For instance, you may be an alcoholic with an addiction to video games. This is known as cross-addiction or addiction transference. Moreover, it is possible to recover from one addiction and develop a new one. Addiction transference involves substituting a new addiction for another in order to cope. This blog will discuss what addiction transference is and how to treat it.

What is Addiction Transference?

Addiction transference, or cross-addiction, is when someone is addicted to two or more addictive substances or behaviors. These addictions can include alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, video games, food, and more. Addiction is understood as the continued use or behavior despite the potential for negative consequences. 

It is important to also acknowledge that cross-addiction does not necessarily occur all at once. For example, you may be in recovery from substance abuse and begin to develop an addiction to gambling. Developing another addiction is a coping mechanism and a way to trigger the brain’s dopamine reward system. People who have a history of addiction have a higher risk of developing cross-addiction. Simply put it means substituting one addiction for another.

So, how common is addiction transference? Millions of people deal with this problem each year. Around 21 million people 12 years old and older struggle with cross-addiction every year. There are also many people who do not realize they are suffering from addiction transference. Since most individuals understand addiction as alcohol and substance abuse, many do not recognize their compulsive behaviors may be an addiction. 

Preventing Addiction Transference

Although it is impossible to completely prevent yourself from cross-addiction, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. It is important to be aware of your susceptibility to addiction transference and actively avoid putting yourself in situations where addiction can be triggered. Here are some ways you can be proactive and minimize your chances of developing addiction transference:

  • Avoid situations or events where alcohol is involved
  • Tell your doctors about your history of addiction before they prescribe any medication
  • Avoid taking any mood-altering substances
  • Avoid engaging in any activities that have a history of addiction associated with them, such as gambling and video games

Treating Addiction Transference

Similarly to drug and alcohol addiction, the best course of treatment is to enter a treatment program. This means going through detox (if necessary) and entering a treatment program after. One of the biggest keys to success in recovering from addiction is engaging in a 12-step program and support groups. 

12-step programs are not only for substance and alcohol abuse, but also for many other forms of addiction such as binge-eating, gambling, and more. There are also many support groups that focus on specific addictions and offer a sense of community in recovery. Moreover, any effective treatment should also address the underlying health issues that have caused your addiction transference. This means exploring any possible co-occurring mental illnesses motivating your addiction.

The best way to avoid addiction transference is simply by educating yourself. When you are in early recovery, you are most at risk of developing a cross-addiction due to your brain seeking dopamine. This means it is essential that you are well-informed on how you can develop addiction transference and seek out support to avoid it. Make sure to be aware of possible triggers and take inventory of your own behaviors to prevent developing addiction transference.

Treating Addiction Transference at NuView Treatment Center

If you currently struggling with addiction transference and require professional support, NuView Treatment Center can help you. At NuView Treatment Center, located in West Los Angeles, you can receive the support you need to address and understand your addiction transference. Nuview’s Los Angeles outpatient drug rehab, offers outpatient addiction treatment that is designed to give you the tools you need to recover from both dependence and addiction of all kinds.

The staff is trained to develop individualized treatment plans for each client and assist with addressing underlying conditions (including mental health disorders) that may be motivating your drug or alcohol use. Through this, you will develop new, healthy coping mechanisms and plans for dealing with possible triggers. The compassion evidence-based therapeutic modalities used at NuView Treatment Center helps you achieve physical sobriety and offers you the tools to stay sober long-term.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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