Side view portrait of a man thinking about cross addiction and cross dependence treatment.

What You Should Know about Cross Addiction

We’ve all heard the saying ‘having an addictive personality.’ For someone dealing with an actual substance use disorder, this can indicate that their behavioral inclinations tend to draw them toward repetitive and addictive impulses. Meaning, they go from one addiction to the next much easier than the average person. This can increase the likelihood that they will exchange an addiction to one substance to an addiction to another.

When an individual presents addictive patterns like this, they may not simply be struggling with a textbook substance use disorder; they may actually be facing a cross addiction and breaking free from its grip can prove to be a difficult task.

What is Cross Addiction?

The concept of cross addiction implies that a person who has struggled with a specific substance addiction is naturally inclined, or at a higher risk, of developing an addiction to another substance or behavior. This concept of moving from one addiction to another is fairly common for anyone who has struggled with addiction in the past.

Why? The transition to another substance enables them to more easily justify their relapse and perpetuate negative behaviors. This is because it is a new substance that they are dealing with, so their feelings of guilt tend to be less severe.

Regardless, the dangers of moving from one addiction to the next comes with its own dangers and can prove even harder to overcome in the long run.

Examples of Cross Addiction

A majority of people struggling with a substance use disorder develop physical and neurological attachments to their substance of choice due to the effects that their addictive behaviors have on their physical wellbeing.

That is why cross addiction tends to develop easier within a person who has already dealt with a specific addiction; it enables them to still get the same dopamine rush, which is what they are truly chasing.

Some common examples of cross addiction can include:

  • An individual who was previously addicted to alcohol but trades that substance in for prescription pills. The similar neurological effects of painkillers provide that person with a similar high and allows them to continue chasing the same feelings without having to admit they are experiencing a significant relapse.
  • A person who has struggled with cocaine addiction may find themselves drawn toward alternative substances that can provide the same energetic spike and mood boost. Choosing to take prescription meds that provide a similar feeling, or, worse yet, harder drugs like methamphetamine, gives a person the high they are searching for while driving them deeper and deeper into their addiction.
  • A person may trade a substance addiction for something that provides a similar dopamine rush from a specific behavior, including gambling or even sex. This type of cross addiction can prove even harder to break because the person sees their addictive exchange as potentially beneficial, since they are no longer putting toxic substances into their body. However, the psychological and social damage that can occur with this type of cross addiction can lead to even more severe consequences if the behaviors are not addressed appropriately.

Cross Addiction and Cross Dependence

While cross addiction involves a person exchanging one substance of choice for another, cross dependence is an entirely different beast. It involves the physical dependence to multiple drugs at the same time and can be brought on by a person trying to alleviate the symptoms of one substance by taking another.

For example, this type of addiction can occur when a person who is addicted to a substance like crack cocaine switches to heroin to counteract the effects of the crack they’ve ingested to meet social obligations or daily responsibilities.

It is definitely a dangerous balancing act, but one that someone who experiences cross dependence has learned to routinely navigate.

Would You Benefit from Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Every person who struggles with a substance use disorder is an individual with specific needs that must be addressed to overcome their addictive impulses and achieve long-term sobriety. Making the decision to choose a treatment facility that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment is beneficial on multiple levels for anyone dealing with the impact of cross addiction or cross dependence.

Dual diagnosis treatment provides a person with the necessary clinical insight and guidance to safely detox off of whatever substances they are dependent on. This form of treatment also addresses the physical and mental health issues associated with their substance use disorder.

While every individual will experience addiction in their own way, it’s beneficial to start your rehab in a treatment facility that specializes in both chemical dependency and mental illness. This is an excellent way to ensure you achieve the greatest amount of support and knowledge from the very beginning of your recovery journey.

Renowned, Holistic Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Your new life starts the moment you declare you have complete control over your actions, health and future. At Ranch Creek Recovery, we provide holistic detox and alcohol recovery treatment that offers personalized and long-lasting care.

Learn more about our life-changing, holistic treatment programs or contact us today to start your
journey toward detox and recovery.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

A woman and a therapist in a non-12 step dual diagnosis treatment session.

Why Non-12 Step Treatment for Dual Diagnosis Disorders

Finding your way through a substance addiction can feel like being lost in a maze. Every time you think you are beginning to make progress, you find yourself frustrated and overwhelmed, wandering through life until you hit another dead end.

Add to that frustration the weight of managing a dual diagnosis, or a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder, and the pressure of it all can sometimes seem more than you can bear.

So, where do you turn when life and all of its stressors overtake your being? Do you self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to drown out your tension and emotions?

If so, a treatment program tailored to your specific situation may be exactly what you need to finally rise above the confusion and set yourself firmly along the path to recovery.

While a traditional 12-step treatment program may not appeal to you, an alternative (holistic) non-12 step program may be the perfect remedy to address your dual diagnosis disorder.

What is Non-12 Step Addiction Treatment?

Understanding how a non-12step treatment program is unique and how it can benefit you along your recovery journey is essential to choosing the right treatment facility before beginning your path back to sobriety.

Where a traditional 12-step program focuses on the religious aspect of recovery, identifying the existence of a higher power and how that presence impacts addiction, a non-12 step program takes a more psychological and scientific approach.

Non-12 step treatment individualizes the therapeutic experience by emphasizing the importance of evidence-based addiction therapy that is tailored to each participant.

As opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach with 12-step programs, non-12 step programs incorporate your personal life experiences and feedback to create an individualized treatment plan to address your specific areas of need.

What are the Benefits of Non-12 Step Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Being able to address your addiction from a personal perspective can be key to long-term sobriety and success.

Like most diseases, the symptoms associated with the illness can vary, as well as, the precipitating factors and familial influences. Being able to individualize the therapeutic approach and treatment sessions can prove instrumental in achieving sustained symptom relief.

Some of the primary benefits of non-12 step dual diagnosis treatment include:

  • Enhanced focus on psychological addiction compulsions
  • Less focus on spiritual factors and more on personal responsibility
  • Getting to the root of the disease instead of simply treating the symptoms
  • Better understanding of the way mental health issues interact with substance addiction

Integrating a proven mental health treatment approach into your recovery program enhances the potential for personal success.

This is not to minimize the importance of traditional 12-step programs. It simply highlights the necessity to offer alternative options to those looking for a deeper, personal connection throughout their recovery journey.

What to Expect from Non-12 Step Programs for Addiction and Mental Health

Non-12 step programs use an evidence-based approach throughout treatment, enabling you to experience therapy with a clinical professional who is licensed to properly treat both your mental health issues and co-existing substance addiction.

By focusing on increased self-empowerment and self-reliance, you can grow as an individual, addressing your negative behavioral patterns and addictive impulses with the help and guidance of a trained professional.

They can help you heal from the inside out with a proven therapeutic approach and holistic treatment interventions. These can include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – A form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems – including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders and severe mental illness.
  • Mindfulness Training – Some experts believe that mindfulness works by helping people to accept their experiences – including painful emotions – rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. Mindfulness training helps you achieve a state of focused relaxation by paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judging yourself.
  • Amino Acid Therapy – Amino acid therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, substance addiction and more. Amino acids are basic building blocks used in the body to build proteins, such as muscle and other tissue, and they also serve as precursors to neurotransmitters. Humans utilize 20 amino acids, with 9 of those labeled as “essential” because we can’t synthesize them, and they must be obtained from our diet.

The key to non-12 step treatment is the way in which it is tailored to fit your individual needs. By focusing on your distinct experiences and symptoms, this treatment approach empowers you to not only confront the underlying issues impacting your dual diagnosis, but it also enables you to achieve sustained sobriety and personal happiness.

Life-Changing Alternative to 12-Step Recovery: Holistic, Non-12 Step Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Offering an alternative to the traditional 12-step program, Ranch Creek Recovery offers a variety of all-encompassing, holistic in-patient treatment services. Your situation is unique, so your treatment should be customized to fit your individual recovery needs. Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery and our holistic and experiential non-12 step rehab approach.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

A woman sitting alone thinking about her alcohol addiction and depression symptoms.

How Alcohol Addiction & Depression are Connected

Everyone experiences bad days, anxious moments and stressful rough patches. And when these situations hit, it’s common for people to turn to alcohol in an attempt to relax and temporarily take their mind off an undesirable reality.

While most people can find their way back from difficult experiences, those who struggle with depression experience those low periods longer than others. And when a substance use disorder – like alcohol addiction – is added to the mix, a troubling and unstable cycle ensues. This cycle of managing depression by excessively using alcohol is examined extensively in the field of mental health, and studies yield a strong correlation.

But how are the two truly connected? Does depression lead to alcohol addiction, or does alcohol addiction lead to depression?

To understand the link between the two, let’s start by discussing what a co-occurring disorder is.

Alcohol Addiction and Depression are Co-Occurring Disorders

A co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis, is when a person contends with a mental health disorder (like depression) and a substance use disorder (like alcoholism) at the same time, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In 2014 alone, approximately 7.9 million adults in the U.S. had co-occurring disorders.

Co-occurring disorders are complex in nature and often challenging to diagnose. Because two disorders are present at the same time and often feed off one another, the signs and symptoms of one disorder can be hard to distinguish. SAMHSA reports that people with co-occurring disorders usually receive treatment for one disorder while the other disorder is left untreated.

The trouble with only addressing and treating one disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), is one disorder will usually make the other disorder worse. So, despite one’s dedication and effort to get better, the untreated disorder will undermine the progress.

Does Depression Lead to Alcohol Addiction?

While there’s no definite answer to this chicken and the egg conundrum, research has shown, that for most patients with a dual diagnosis, depression usually comes first.

According to the Comorbidity of Alcoholism and Psychiatric Disorders study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately one-third of study respondents with an alcohol dependence also had a mood disorder, such as depression.

Of the respondents, alcohol-dependent respondents were 3.9 times more likely to have a major depressive disorder.

Additionally, children and teens who suffer from depression are more likely to use and abuse alcohol as a coping mechanism and develop an alcohol-related problem as time passes.

Does Alcohol Addiction Lead to Depression?

Viewing this co-occurring disorder from a different angle, alcohol can cause depressive symptoms in people. As previously noted, it is common for people to abuse alcohol when contending with a depressive disorder.

By its nature, alcohol is a depressant, and the use of this substance can initiate depressive symptoms, such as drowsiness, apathy, sadness, irritability and hopelessness. Alcohol consumption tends to intensify an individual’s depressive state and can void the impact of antidepressants.

The Link Between Alcohol and Depression Affects Many

  • One-third of individuals with depression had a co-occurring substance use disorder, according to the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study conducted by the National Institute on Health.
  • People with alcohol dependence had rates of depression that were significantly elevated for both men (2.95) and women (4.05) with major depression, as reported by the National Comorbidity Study.

Regardless of what disorder came first in your life, if you feel you are living with one or both issues, your life depends on what you do next.

Treatment for Substance Abuse and Depression at Ranch Creek Recovery

Countless people live with addiction and depression every day, so it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in your fight to overcome your co-occurring disorder. At Ranch Creek Recovery, our unique, non-12 step treatment program is focused on treating your whole self, not just the mental health disorder or just the addiction.

Contact us today to learn more about our holistic dual diagnosis treatment program and our luxury rehab center in Murrieta, California. We are ready to help you start the journey toward recovery today!

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607



Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Co-occurring Disorders. Accessed March 18, 2018.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Accessed March 17, 2018.

National Center for Biotechnology Information. Estimating the prevalence of mental disorders in U.S. adults from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Survey. Accessed March 17, 2018.

QJM: An International Journal of Medicine. Depression and alcoholism. Accessed March 18, 2018.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Substance Use Disorders. Accessed March 17, 2018.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Comorbidity of Alcoholism and Psychiatric Disorders. Accessed March 17, 2018.

Addiction treatment

What Treatments Are Available for Dual Diagnosis Patients?

According to research published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 50% of individuals suffering from addiction disease also suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder. These are termed dual diagnosis conditions and they require professional treatment in a dual diagnosis treatment center. This is because it is not only important to identify and diagnose each condition but also to determine the most appropriate course of dual diagnosis treatment that deals with the both separately, while at the same time.

It is important to understand the similarities between dual diagnosis conditions and the varying treatments available to patients with concurrent mental illness and addiction. There are numerous variables in each case of dual diagnosis depending on which condition preceded the other and how they both interact, which can be most accurately assessed at a specialist dual diagnosis treatment center.

There are various theories regarding the correlation between mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction. One school of thought is that mental illness is a consequence of prolonged substance abuse. This can be said in the case of some drugs such as cocaine, which can create detrimental changes to the brain’s function, making it impossible for a user to naturally produce pleasure sensations.  

Self-Medicating Symptoms of Mental Illness Creates Addiction Issues

Another theory on the correlation between addiction and mental health is that people with mental illness may be introduced to addictive substances as they seek ways to relieve their distressing symptoms. Getting into the habit of responding to mental discomfort by abusing substances can quickly lead to dependence and ultimately full-blown addiction. People who self-medicate for the symptoms of mental disorders there are several important risks they face of developing addiction disease, such as:

  • Many medications prescribed for mental illnesses are set to doses appropriate for someone’s weight and height. After using prescribed meds for a given period of time, they may feel they need to take more to get the therapeutic effect which can sometimes lead to buying dangerous illegal drugs and ingest them in excessive amounts.
  • Even with medical training, it is virtually impossible to correctly self-diagnose mental health conditions, even if the symptoms someone presents are similar to another member of the family’s. Conditions that have not been diagnosed can’t be treated and it is likely that any type of self-medicating substance someone may resort to using for relief will complicate matters further.
  • Illegal or illicit drugs either mask the symptoms of mental illness or create them, and the way they interact with each other in the brain can lead to more dangerous implications for overall mental health.

What Are the Types of Dual Diagnosis Treatments?

Once concurrent mental illness and addiction have been diagnosed in a patient, there are several treatment options available to them. Much depends on the needs of each individual attending a program at a dual diagnosis treatment facility as to what treatments will be the most effective. The types of treatments used to treat dual diagnosis include the following:

  • Behavioral Modification – Research has shown that treatments used to treat singular mental illnesses are also effective for dual diagnosis patients. Behavioral therapy helps someone to develop new responses to triggers and stressors which are particularly useful for relapse prevention in recovery.
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy – This is a specific type of behavioral modification that has particular benefits for dual diagnosis patients. CBT is based on the way we perceive the world around us and how we make our decisions and choices. CBT addresses unhealthy behavior by encouraging patients to relearn how they perceive their lives so that they have a more positive and healthy perception of reality.
  • Alternative Therapies – mindfulness techniques such as yoga are beneficial in dual diagnosis treatment as they provide patients with skills that promote relaxation and a quieter state of mind. Learning how to rid the mind of its inner dialogue is an effective way of preventing relapse when someone has completed dual diagnosis treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment programs offer patients with concurrent mental illness and addiction the chance to overcome both conditions at the same time. In many cases, people with addiction issues and mental illness have become isolated and withdrawn from society as they struggle to cope with distressing and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. Accepting there is a problem that can be helped considerably with the right kind of dual diagnosis treatment program is the first important step to a healthier future.

Addiction treatment

Learn More About Relapse Prevention And Dual Diagnoses

Ranch Creek Recovery offers more than specialized addiction treatment; we offer a second chance at a normal life. Contact us at (951) 795-4326 to learn how we’ve changed the lives of others. You can also learn more about the importance of effective addiction treatment by browsing these addiction-related resources:

  • This article from The Huffington Post describes how self-medication can lead to substance abuse.
  • Explore the truth behind dual diagnosis by visiting this page from Mental Health America.
  • Visit if you’d like to learn more about addiction triggers.
  • How can you avoid relapse during your addiction recovery? This page from has the answer.
  • This page from MedlinePlus has reliable information about dual diagnosis disorders.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis and the Self-Medication Theory

Complex mental health problems are difficult to detect and impossible to treat without professional help. That’s why it’s important to become more familiar with common mental health problems. Learning the basics of mental illness and drug abuse will help you guide your loved ones to treatment. This overview of dual diagnosis and the self-medication theory is a great place to start.

Dual Diagnosis
A patient suffering from dual diagnosis displays both the symptoms of a drug problem and a mental health issue. Medline Plus reports that the most common examples of dual diagnosis involve substance abuse combined with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, each of these two problems can make the other worse. According to National Mental Health Association, mental health issues can increase a patient’s risk of substance abuse by up to 15%. Dual diagnosis cases are a challenge for medical professionals because one problem is likely to cover up the other. However, a holistic approach to addiction treatment can help identify and treat both problems simultaneously.

Self-Medication Theory
The self-medication theory is one of the most prevalent hypotheses about addiction. It states that those who abuse substances or participate in addictive behaviors often have an underlying medical or psychological problem. Patients and professionals alike use the self-medication theory as a tool for better communication and understanding during the treatment process. The theory encourages patients to be honest with medical professionals and themselves about their addictions and triggers. This self-examination can be an important motivator for patients to overcome their addictions. The self-medication theory has some overlap with dual diagnosis—especially when a patient’s substance abuse begins as self-treatment for his mental health issue.

Contact Ranch Creek Recovery if you suspect that your loved one is using drugs to cope with his or her mental health issue. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment can get to the heart of the problem and help your loved one live a better life. We can be reached by phone at (951) 795-4326.