Trade up addictions are on the rise within the rehab community. This is the practice of a patient taking on new addictions over and over. Taking on healthy addictions is the most common step, however, the addict takes even the healthiest of addictions and turns them into something negative. This is where the problem comes in and “trade up” addictions become a larger problem than the original addiction itself. Understanding how the addictions are on the rise is fairly easy. However, understanding how a healthy addiction becomes a trade up addiction is a bit more difficult. Here are a few ways that an addict will take a healthy addiction and turn it into a trade up addiction.
An incomplete therapy program or rehab program will lead to a trade up addiction. An incomplete program does not mean the patient left the program early. It means the program itself was lacking an aspect that would teach the patient how to cope with various addictive issues. For example, the program may lead the patient to a healthier option and help them to move from their original unhealthy addiction. However, it may not teach them how to cope with urges that would turn the new option into an unhealthy addiction. The all-inclusive process is key when alternative replacements are given in place of the original addiction.
Lack of Coping Skills
Sometimes the therapy may be complete but the patient lacks the coping skills necessary to make the new treatment work. In this case they use the new replacement as a full replacement. This means that every time they have the urge to drink, for example, they would take part in the new activity. This ultimately may lead to the patient creating a negative addiction from a positive one. For example, replacing drinking with martial arts would be fine. If they patient does not have the proper coping skills, however, they may move to martial arts anytime they have an urge to drink or take drugs. Eventually the sport becomes more and more expensive. Eventually the patient throws all their money and time into the sport. Now they are addicted to the sport and have a created a new level of issues for themselves.
A lack of solid support systems can also lead to the trade up addiction issue. When there is no support system there is no out other than the new addiction. If the patient is having an urge to drink or participate in their unhealthy addiction, they could turn to a support system first. This system could be family, friends, or a counselor of some sort. If those people are not there, the patient will turn to the new addiction instead.
There is nothing bad in the thought process or therapy of giving an addict a better option. The problem comes in when there is no support system, no coping skills, and no all-inclusive therapy offered. Without these things the replacement is just that, a trade up replacement.