Transfer addictions are a way of filling the void left by the original addiction. This is both behavioral and physical. From a behavioral perspective, a transfer addiction gives you something to do. Whether you’re bored or stressed, the transfer addiction is the new thing you reach for to help you feel better. From a physiological point of view, a transfer addiction might compensate for some of the dopamine deficiency you feel after quitting another drug. Sugary foods, gambling, video games, and porn all provide a strong dopamine boost that improves your mood temporarily. Transfer addictions are common in addiction recovery. For example, someone might quit drinking and then become addicted to sweets. Sweets are better for you than alcohol, but in the long run, a sugar addiction will lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Other addictions–like to gambling, for example–can disrupt your life as badly and as fast as your original addiction. Here are some ways you can prevent or stop a transfer addiction.
See a therapist.
A transfer addiction might indicate that you haven’t addressed the real causes of your addiction. It’s possible to abstain from a substance without treating the addiction, especially if you have only swapped addictions. The root of addiction is often trauma, intrusive thoughts, avoidant behavior, or mental health issue, none of which can be resolved by simply quitting you drug of choice. A therapist can help you figure out what’s really going on so you feel less need to engage in addictive behavior.
A transfer addiction can creep in without your noticing. If you replace alcohol with doughnuts, for example, you’re not likely to get too fussed. A doughnut every once in a while is not a big deal, but then, a drink every once in a while was not a big deal either. Watch out for those little indulgences that become a daily habit, especially if you feel the need to indulge in response to stress. That doughnut or video game may be your new avoidant behavior. The earlier you catch a transfer addiction, the easier it will be to break.
Use what you’ve learned.
If you’ve managed to quit one addiction, whether through treatment, therapy, 12-step meetings, or just on your own, you already know you can quit the transfer addiction. Most people just don’t think of a transfer addiction as an addiction. It’s just a new habit or a way to cope. If you call it what it is and use the tools you’ve already learned, you should be able to stop a transfer addiction from taking over your life.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.