With the ongoing Opioid Epidemic plaguing the country, more and more people are entering recovery for drug addiction.
The powerful drugs fueling the epidemic (such as heroin, fentanyl, etc) are causing people to enter treatment centers at very young ages compared to the past.
Most of the time, it is quite clear to these individuals that they have a serious problem with drugs. Many of these individuals, however, are often left with the nagging question in their mind: does their problem with drug addiction mean they can no longer drink alcohol?
Here we take a look at the notion of cross addiction.
Is alcohol a “drug”?
Many individuals claim that drugs were their favorite addiction, and what ultimately brought them to their bottom- and not alcohol.
Therefore, they only need to stay away from drugs, and can still drink successfully.
The reality is that alcohol is absolutely a “drug”. And while alcohol may not be the drug of choice for an individual, it still acts on the same reward pathway in which all drugs do.
Therefore, consuming alcohol carries a tremendously high risk for developing alcoholism for any individual who has struggled with any kind of substance abuse.
This is why most people in recovery simply distinguish themselves as addicts, rather than anything specific (such as a “heroin addict” or “cocaine addict”).
So what is Cross Addiction?
Cross addiction refers to the idea that once a person has developed an addiction to one substance, they are highly susceptible to develop an addiction to another substance in its place. (1)
The reality is, addiction to a substance causes several drastic changes to the reward system in the brain. (2) This leaves the individual at high risk of developing a new addiction to an addictive substance- even if the substance is not the individual’s first preference. While alcohol is the example used in this article, the reality is this is true for any drug of abuse.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.