Menu Close

Live Out Your Best Future

Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today.

What Is Addiction Replacement?

woman sits in the dark on her bed and looks out near her window wondering what is addiction replacement

For those who are working to overcome addiction on their own, there is a risk of unintentionally replacing one addiction with another. Addiction replacement is the term for when someone in recovery from substance abuse begins to obsessively engage in new behaviors that offer some of the same rewards as the original addiction but are less harmful. This may happen because the person is trying to fill the void left by the addictive behavior or because they are seeking out the same positive feelings associated with the original addiction.

At our treatment center, our addiction treatment programs in Mississippi are designed to address not just the addiction itself but also any underlying issues that may contribute to addictive behaviors. Our programs can help address addiction replacement by teaching people new coping mechanisms and helping them find healthy outlets for their feelings. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it’s time to reach out for help—call us today at 662.222.2989.

What Is Addiction Replacement?

Addiction replacement refers to the idea that someone will substitute one addiction for another. This new addiction is meant to fill the void left behind by the previous addiction but could be just as destructive as the past one. Even new addictions that stem out of healthier habits can be harmful as they may reach a level of excess. Switching addictions is a widespread practice for people in recovery from drug or alcohol use.

Common substitute addictions for substance use include:

  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • Porn
  • Exercising
  • Binge eating (especially sugary foods)
  • Religion
  • Working
  • Shopping
  • Adrenaline rushes (skydiving, extreme sports)

At our treatment center, we understand the complexities of addiction and the potential for replacement. We use evidence-based approaches to address not only the addiction but also any underlying issues that may contribute to addictive behaviors.

Why Do People Begin Replacing Addictions?

While someone may complete residential treatment and overcome their substance addiction, it’s essential to recognize that their journey is far from over. People in recovery from substance use may find themselves trading one addiction for another for several different reasons. Addiction is a condition that changes the brain, and these changes do not go away overnight. Instead, the brain has come to crave and expect the high that comes from substance use.

The brain’s reward system, in particular, becomes overstimulated from substance use. Now that these substances are out of the picture, the person is looking for other ways of getting this same high and feeling these same rewards. Exercising, eating sugar, sex, gambling, and adrenaline rush activities all activate the brain’s reward system and can help satisfy some of the high that the brain is craving. Unfortunately, because the high from substances is so great, it can lead people in recovery to rely on these other activities too much to get what they no longer can from drugs and lead to addiction replacement.

Another reason someone in recovery might substitute one addiction for another is to continue to fulfill their emotional or psychological needs. Many people’s substance use is tied to their mental health. Without treating co-occurring conditions during rehab, individuals will still have the same mental health needs but lack substances to meet them. As a result, they may seek other means of emotional fulfillment, like sex or food.

The Dangers of Switching Addictions

Substituting one addiction for another can be incredibly harmful. While drug and alcohol use is harmful, these other new replacement addictions may be just as destructive. Like drug addiction, these new vices can impact various areas of someone’s life and lead to several secondary concerns, including those with finances, personal relationships, work, physical health, and mental health. Even healthier addictions such as exercise or religion can lead to some of these issues when done in excess.

Why Is It Important to Identify Trading Addictions for Other Addictions?

Identifying the trading of addictions is crucial in the recovery journey because it allows for more comprehensive and effective treatment. This awareness enables us to address the root cause of addictive behaviors rather than simply shifting from one harmful habit to another.

Recognizing addiction replacements is particularly important due to several key reasons:

  • Prevents progression of new addictive behaviors
  • Ensures comprehensive treatment
  • Supports long-term recovery
  • Promotes healthier lifestyle
  • Facilitates mental health support

Achieving freedom from addiction involves more than just abstaining from substances—it requires a deep understanding of one’s behaviors, triggers, and coping mechanisms. Recognizing and addressing addiction replacement is a key part of this process.

Contact Us for Help with Addiction Replacement

To avoid switching addictions after rehab, it is important to address the underlying cause of the initial addiction. Continuing treatment, like with an intensive outpatient program, can promote more self-discovery that helps further reveal the root causes of these compulsions and how to address them.

It may also be best to avoid some of these potential new vices in early recovery, such as gambling, sugary food, or sex. This approach gives your brain time to adjust and your mental health time to heal so you can avoid relying on other outside sources to fill your needs.

Addiction recovery is a long and challenging road, but at our treatment center, we can be here for you. If you need more care or support in your journey, call us today at 662.222.2989 or contact us online to find out how we can help you or someone you care about.