What Are Secondary Addictions?

What Are Secondary Addictions?Addiction is not just a problem of physical dependence on a chemical; it is a complex disorder that users develop to meet emotional or psychological needs. Therefore, since addiction is not rooted in a substance, treatment should address more issues than one substance or habit. These other problematic habits, or secondary addictions, also need treatment for California residents to succeed through recovery and stay sober for their whole lives.

How Secondary Addictions Form

When they become addicted, California residents use drugs or behaviors to soothe some psychological pain. For instance, they could be self-medicating a disorder like anxiety or depression, or they could use drugs to cope with everyday stresses and challenges. However, once users develop this type of pattern for dealing with pain, using another substance does not require a whole new way of thinking or acting. Instead, it only requires familiarity and access to another substance that can create the same psychological effect.

Sometimes a secondary addiction involves a substance that enhances the effects of the first drug. For example, alcohol lengthens and intensifies the high felt from using benzodiazepines, so users may combine these substances to feel more intense highs.

Are Secondary Addictions as Important as Primary Addictions?

Whether an addiction is the primary or secondary one, users must evaluate the costs and benefits of it to understand how crippling it is. They must also create a plan for treatment that will address both problems. This often means they must find a treatment program that is flexible enough to help people with multiple addictions. In other words, a program that treats alcoholism may not help people who are also addicted to prescription medications. However, California users must address both of these issues at the same time if they are to recover.

Recovering From Both Addictions

California users may abuse drugs to feel calm, relieve despair or to avoid withdrawal symptoms. The problem is that drug abuse creates other problems even as it solves others. Additionally, the effects of drug abuse—such as the strains on health, career and family—become worse over time. Meanwhile, the drug becomes less able to relieve pain the way users need. No matter how many substances someone is addicted to, treatment must replace all of those substances with new ways to cope with problems. With this help, users can relieve agitation and emotional challenges from daily life that does not carry the same destructive problems as drugs.

Help for California Residents with Multiple Addictions

If you or a California loved one abuses more than one drug, call our toll-free helpline to learn more about treatment options. Our addiction professionals have experience helping addicts just like you, so call our 24 hour line right now for instant support.

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