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Cross Addiction and Drug Treatment | Part Two
Part 2 of 3
Yesterday’s post was about cross addiction, relapse, and how insidious the disease of addiction can be. Today I will continue on where I left off. You can click HERE to read that post, but in short, I was mentioning how someone in alcohol recovery, long or short-term can unwittingly begin down a path of relapse without realizing it. The example I used was a recovering alcoholic injuring their knee, needing surgery, and the medication their doctor prescribed. Some addicts feel if their addiction, their drug of choice, is alcohol they don’t really need to be concerned with prescription pills. But, again, addiction is an insidious disease.
Pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone are major culprits in the relapse and cross addiction arena where addicts find themselves in a drug treatment facility. Lesser, but just as dangerous are medications for stress and anxiety, such as; alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam, and lorazepam, while sleep medications like Ambien, which are becoming widely used are more frequently abused by cross-addicted individuals. These drugs share a common pathway to the brain with alcohol and that’s why care must be administered while using these medications.
From what I’ve read, experienced, and understand, the main reason for a cross addiction like this is that there is an area within the brain that is called the “pleasure zone.” No, that’s not a technical term, but one I like to use. This part of the brain is stimulated whenever pleasurable activities like sex and eating. When we participate in activities like the, dopamine, which is a neurochemical, is triggered within the ‘pleasure zone,’ and dopamine is released. It reinforces allowing us to believe these behaviors are good, or at least pleasurable.
So, if the pathway with some drugs is the same pathway to the ‘pleasure zone,’ then it’s logical to believe how one could use these drugs repeatedly. They stimulate the ‘pleasure zone.’ Here’s another interesting part, the area around the ‘pleasure zone’ is the same area we find our will to survive. We need food to survive. Makes sense, right? Remember this, a release of dopamine in the ‘pleasure zone’ and survival zone triggers the brain to create a desire, or at least a reinforcement to repeat the particular activity. In some people drugs will trigger a far greater response, which MIGHT be there reason why some people are genetically predisposed to addiction.
Check back tomorrow from Part 3 of 3 in this “Cross Addiction and Drug Treatment” blog series.
Recovery Rob BIO
Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Having just recently launched his own website, Ask Recovery Rob, he hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.