Replacing One Addiction With Another

Replacing One Addiction With Another

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Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioAs the new year approaches, many people will be trying to kick whatever addictions they might have. But some people may just be replacing one dangerous addiction with another.

There have been lots of reports about young starlets, and how they all seem to be battling demons.

Therapist Dr. Deborah King said, "Any addict who gives up the thing or the crutch that's holding their life together needs something else."

Recently, an ABC News article focused on Lindsay Lohan, speculating if she has replaced her chemical addiction with a shopping addiction. Some therapists like Dr. King say, really, what's the harm? She has the money.

"I totally applaud Lindsay's choice. Shopping is about as harmless as you can get relative to what she was engaged in," King said.

King says she doesn't believe Lohan's shopping habits have risen to the level of an addiction. However, she says she's seen this a lot; people replacing one bad addiction with another.

"They (her patients) will say, ‘I'm clean.' Then I'll say, "Tell me about that.' [They will say], ‘Well, I don't use coke anymore.' Then I will say, ‘It feels to me you're drinking quite a bit.' Then they will say, ‘Yeah, I'm hitting that pretty hard,'" King said.

She says the human psyche can't really fight more than one addiction at a time. Other specialists say they don't even try to break you of your addiction. They merely try to get you addicted to something productive.

Changes Counseling mental health counselor Sandy Brooke said, "If you have a grandfather, or a parent, or a sibling, or aunts and uncles that have addictions, then you have a four times greater risk of becoming addicted yourself."

Brooke says many people try to shake off their demons by themselves.

"There's always that case that can do it, but we're always surprised when someone does because it is difficult," Brooke said.

Brooke says their center recommends substitute medications to wean someone off alcohol or drugs. She says Vivitrol works well.

"It's a 30-day shot and it helps people with their craving for alcohol. It also helps people who are getting off things like heroin and pain pills, which is a big problem in Utah, by the way," she said.

She also says Syboxone helps people shake their addiction to pain pills, but they don't go through withdrawals.

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