December 10, 2018 Felicia Durling

What to Know about Primary and Secondary Addictions

When a person is working to overcome an addiction, it is common to fall back on secondary addictions that come up during or after participation in an addiction recovery program in California. Even though the main addiction has been treated, the secondary addictions often take the place of the initial addiction.

Two Types of Secondary Addictions

There are two common ways that secondary addictions manifest:

  • Cross Addiction: When the primary addiction is removed, it is replaced with the secondary addiction. For example, a person might stop using marijuana and turn to tobacco use as an alternative.
  • Co-Morbid Addiction: In this situation, both the primary and secondary addictions occur simultaneously. One example is when a drug or alcohol addiction leads to other addictive behavior, such as a sex or gambling addiction.

Even though the secondary addiction might be more accepted socially, these issues can still have an impact on physical and mental health. When one addiction is replaced with another, then the patient is still choosing to give in to addictive tendencies. Eventually, it is possible that the secondary addictive patterns will lead back to the primary addiction in the future.

Common Secondary Addictions

Every person is unique, which means that the secondary addictions can occur in a variety of ways depending on the person. Here is a list of some of the most common secondary addictions that occur:

  • Food addiction
  • Eating disorders (including bulimia, binge eating, and anorexia)
  • Cigarette addiction
  • Caffeine addiction
  • Shopping addiction
  • Exercise addiction
  • Video gaming addiction
  • Pornography addiction
  • Sex addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Work addiction

These habits or activities can create the endorphins or chemical changes that trigger the same parts of the brain that are affected by drug or alcohol use. For example, researchers have found that sugar consumption impacts the same brain pleasure centers affected by drug use.

Whether you are working to overcome a primary addiction, or you are on the road to recovery and are now battling a secondary addiction, the same principles apply. A good addiction recovery program in Temecula will help you identify the root problems so that these addictive habits can be overcome for good. You can learn more about treatment options by talking to our team at The Center for Life Change: (951) 775-4000

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