Substance Use

What is Transfer Addiction?

beer, cards, dice, cigarette in ash tray

Can You Transfer Addictions?

Yes. Transfer addiction, also known as addiction substitution, is a phenomenon in which a person in recovery from one addiction replaces it with another. This new addiction may be a different substance or behavior, but it serves the same purpose as the previous addiction.

What Is the Definition of Addiction?

According to Healthdirect, addiction can be defined as “a physical or psychological need to do, take or use something, to the point where it could be harmful to you.” Some of the things you can be addicted to include:

  • Gambling
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Solvents
  • Work
  • Computers 
  • Shopping
  • Sex
  • Exercising

Many people think addiction is a character flaw. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that addiction is a disease. If you have an addiction, it can be extremely difficult to stop by mere willpower.

In particular, people with substance abuse are often tempted to continue taking drugs or drinking alcohol even when they know it’s dangerous. That’s because they’ve become dependent and made the substance a part of their daily lives. When they quit, they can go through withdrawal symptoms, leading to cravings or the desire to alleviate the unpleasant feelings.

Do you or a loved one exhibit addictive behaviors or signs of drug abuse? Have you switched from one addiction to another? We can help. Zinnia Healing has rehab centers throughout the United States, so search our website for facilities near you or give us a call at (855) 430-9439.

What Is Addiction Transfer?

The concept of addiction substitution (or cross-addiction) has been studied for decades. One of the earliest references to it occurred in the 1960s when researchers found that people who quit smoking often substituted it with overeating or food addiction. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicates that an increase in appetite is one of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience when you stop smoking

Since early research findings, the term “transfer addiction” has been used to describe this phenomenon in the context of substance abuse and addiction. For example, a person who has quit drinking alcohol may start exercising excessively to lose weight or get rid of their “beer belly.” Or they may work out all the time to cope with the emotional and psychological stressors that led them to drink in the first place.

Recent research published by the National Center for Biodiversity Information showed that bariatric surgery patients treated for obesity and food addiction are at a high risk of alcoholism. In all of these cases, cross-addiction is brought on as a result of compulsive behaviors.

What Is the Name of the Disorder?

When you transfer your addiction to drugs or alcohol, you could be diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD). The CDC defines SUDs as “treatable, chronic diseases characterized by a problematic pattern of use of a substance or substances leading to impairments in health, social function, and control over substance use.”

Substance use disorder is a broad term for drug abuse and alcohol addiction. There are many subcategories of SUD, such as:

No matter the type of addictive substance you use, it can put you at risk of both physical and mental health conditions.

Related reading: Understanding the Connections Between Mental Health Conditions and Substance Use Disorders

Whether you have alcohol use disorder, heroin use disorder, or some other substance abuse disorder, help is just a phone call away. To find out about the treatment options available, reach out to us at (855) 430-9439. At Zinnia Healing, we can walk you through the treatment process and get you started on the road to recovery.

What Are the Three Types of Addicts?

Addiction is a multifaceted and complex disease that affects each person differently. It can affect anyone, regardless of their background, social status, or other characteristics.

In general, addicts fit into one of three types:

1. Experimental/Addictive User

This type of addict usually starts using drugs or alcohol out of curiosity or experimentation. They may not necessarily intend to become addicted, but they quickly develop a pattern of regular substance use that leads to addiction.

2. Social/Recreational User

This type of addict may primarily use drugs or alcohol in social situations, such as parties or hanging out with friends. Although they might not use drugs or alcohol alone or on a regular basis, they may struggle with controlling their substance use while in social settings.

3. Hardcore/Dependent User

This type of addict is usually recognized by their heavy and regular substance use. They likely have developed a physical and psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol. As a result, they may experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using. Hardcore users often require professional treatment and support to overcome their addiction.

What Are the Three Types of Addiction?

There are many different types of addictions you can have based on the addictive substance you habitually use or misuse. These typically fall under the following three categories of addictions:

1. Alcohol Addiction

Involves alcohol dependency or binge drinking. You may start out as a social drinker, progress to a regular heavy drinker, and then find yourself stuck in the hard-to-break cycle of addiction.

2. Prescription Drug Addiction

Involves abusing or misusing approved medications in ways other than those prescribed by a doctor. 

3. Illicit Drug Addiction

Involves the abuse of illegal substances. Many illicit drugs are prescription medications or synthetic drugs that cause short-term and long-term side effects.

Alcohol addiction is the most common type of substance abuse. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Abuse and Mental Health, more than 130 million people age 12 years and older reported drinking alcohol in 2021, with 29.5 million diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.

What Are the Four Phases of Addiction?

Addiction is complex and often misunderstood, and it affects millions of people worldwide. While the experience of addiction can differ from person to person, there are generally four phases of addiction that are commonly recognized.

1. Experimentation

The first phase of addiction is often referred to as experimentation. During this phase, individuals may begin to experiment with drugs or alcohol, either out of curiosity or to fit in with their peers. They may find they enjoy the effects of these addictive substances and continue to use them every now and then.

At this point, substance abuse may not yet be a problem. However, it’s important to note that even the occasional use of drugs or alcohol can lead to more frequent and problematic use.

2. Regular Use

The second phase of addiction is regular use. At this stage, individuals start using drugs or alcohol on a more regular basis, perhaps as a way to cope with stress or simply to feel good. They may have cravings for the substance and begin to prioritize its use over other activities or responsibilities.

It’s at this phase that addiction begins to have negative impacts on an individual’s life. They may have relationship problems, difficulty at work or school, and the beginnings of drug- or alcohol-related health problems.

3. Risky Use

The third phase of addiction is characterized by risky use. At this point, the individual’s substance use has escalated to a point where it’s causing significant harm.

They may be engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence or using needles to inject drugs. They may also be experiencing significant physical or psychological symptoms. In this phase, it is essential to seek professional help.

4. Dependence

The fourth and final phase of addiction is dependence. At this stage, the individual’s brain and body have become dependent on the substance, and they experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using. They may feel as though they are unable to function without the substance, and their substance use has taken over their life.

Understanding these phases can be helpful in recognizing the signs of addiction. Drug use or alcohol addiction therapy can help you or someone you know overcome addiction and prevent further harm to themselves and others.

Treatment Process for Transfer Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction affects you physically and mentally, so recovering requires your mind and body to adjust to being without drugs or alcohol. For this reason, you shouldn’t try to overcome your addiction alone. It can be dangerous, especially for certain drugs that can have severe and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

The treatment process has five steps, from intervention to recovery. The duration of each depends on the individual.

  1. Intervention: An intervention is a carefully planned and organized meeting between an individual struggling with addiction and their loved ones. The goal of the intervention is to confront the individual about their substance abuse and encourage them to seek treatment. Interventionists or addiction specialists can facilitate the intervention and help guide the conversation.
  2. Admissions: The admissions process involves meeting with an intake coordinator or counselor to discuss the individual’s history of substance use, their current needs and goals, and available insurance coverage and payment options. This part of the process can take place over the phone or in person and helps determine the best course of treatment for the individual.
  3. Detox: Detoxification, or detox, is the process of removing drugs or alcohol from the body. This is typically the first step in addiction treatment, as it allows the body to rid itself of the toxic substances and begin to heal. Detox can take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting and may involve medication-assisted treatment to ease withdrawal symptoms.
  4. Rehab: Rehab is the core of addiction treatment, where individuals receive comprehensive treatment and support for their addiction. Rehab can take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting and typically involves individual and group therapy, as well as other forms of holistic treatment such as meditation, yoga, or art therapy. The length of rehab can vary depending on the individual’s needs and progress.
  5. Recovery: Recovery is an ongoing process that continues after rehab. It involves developing healthy habits and coping strategies to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. Recovery can include ongoing therapy, participation in support groups, and engagement in healthy activities such as exercise, hobbies, or socializing with sober friends.

No matter your drug of choice, you have a wide range of treatment program options available to you. Your treatment provider can work with you on ways to improve your physical and mental wellness and long-term self-care. Some people benefit from 12-step programs, whereas others might have more success with hospitalization. It all depends on the underlying issues related to your original addiction, such as mental illness.

How To Get Treatment for Your Transfer Addiction

Cross-addiction is a treatable disease, but overcoming drug or alcohol dependence requires professional help and support. Addiction treatment may involve a combination of medical detox, therapy, support groups, and other levels of care. With the right treatment and support, it’s possible to overcome addiction and regain control of one’s life.

At Zinnia Healing, we understand the challenge of stopping drug use to live a sober life. That’s why we offer a range of customized therapy programs suited to the needs of each individual. Contact our team of substance abuse treatment professionals by calling (855) 430-9439.