Suffering from an addiction is an incredibly painful situation that millions of Americans and their families deal with every year. The best way to combat an addiction is to gain knowledge on addiction. The more educated families are the better equipped they are to handle an addiction. Cross addiction is an especially dangerous situation. It describes a situation where addicts who are addicted to one substance can become susceptible to all other addictive substances. Cross addictions are dangerous because they can happen at any moment and are particularly possible during recovery. This type of addiction is dangerous because it can present itself after several years of sobriety after harmless events like receiving pain medication from a simple dental procedure.
Prescription Drugs can Cause Cross Addictions
After an addict has completed addiction treatment and is now living normally they must continue to grow as a recovering addict. Addiction does not have a cure and treatment is just the first step towards a drug-free life. Recovering addicts are encouraged to continue treatment and therapy in various forms. Every day is a struggle for recovering addicts, which means they must continue to grow as sober individuals. This means that recovering addicts must continue to vigilant about staying away from substances and situations that could lead to relapse. For example, going to the dentist for a simple procedure could lead to a prescription to pain pills. Those medical professionals could be unaware that their patient was a former addict and invite future addictive behaviors by prescribing medications. Prescription pain killers cough medicine, or other potentially addictive substance could push a recovering addict back into addiction. Preventing cross addiction requires recovering addicts and their families to be vigilant about what they are exposed to, how they conduct themselves, and specifically dangerous procedures like going to the doctor.
Over-the-Counter Cross Addictions
Similar to prescription medications there are several over-the-counter drugs that can cause cross addictions. Those individuals that are or had been struggling with addiction should not take any over-the-counter drugs that contain alcohol or dextromethorphan. These chemicals can push a recovering addict into relapse. Diet pills, sleep aides, motion sickness meds, or other types of easily attainable drugs can cause a recovering addict to revert back to their addictive behaviors.
Treating Cross Addiction
Getting treatment for addiction is the best way to overcome addiction. In treatment recovering addicts are taught how to handle temptation, cravings, and how to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. These techniques and strategies are learned and practiced regularly, so that a recovering addict can successfully stay substance-free. These tools should be reinforced regularly to reduce the chance of relapse. If or when a cross addiction is detected it should be handled immediately. If these individuals seek treatment quickly, before full-blown addiction, they can successfully avoid falling back into their addictive behavior. Treating cross addiction is similar to other drug addictions. Some individuals will require inpatient treatment, while other can benefit from outpatient or other therapy sessions.
Detecting Cross Addiction and Getting Help
Detecting cross addictions is similar to detecting other addictions. Families that have successfully detected an addiction previously will be looking for similar signs and symptoms. Cross addiction could be present if the individual in question begins secluding themselves, losing interest in normal activities, reverting to old habits, or has a significant change in mood. In this case, families should confront the individual about the potential for danger. They should also speak with professionals; if this is a case of relapse then they should speak with those to whom they originally spoke. Familiarity with the case and a sense of safety for the addict in question can be beneficial and expedite any issues.