What is Transfer Addiction & How Can You Avoid it?

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When I first started on my bariatric weight loss surgery journey, I told myself that I was not going to have a transfer addiction and that nothing out there could be my new addiction.

I never thought I had an addictive personality until I started researching more about different types of addictions and how a transfer addiction fits into post-op for bariatric surgery patients along with the risk factors that we face due to the lifestyle changes we all go through leading up to surgery and afterward.

Oowee, have I been kidding myself!

Here I am 125 lbs. down and my transfer addiction is collecting houseplants. While you may think “Well, Anna, that’s not a horrible addiction. There are worse things out there.” and you’re right, however, it’s still a transfer addiction.

Here I am 125 lbs. down and my transfer addiction is collecting houseplants.

Instead of me focusing on things that I need to, like my financial stability before I move halfway across the country, I’m purchasing plants. Which further stresses me out and gives me anxiety about if I’m actually going to be able to afford this move. Which then causes me to spiral into a crazy thought process of trying to figure out how I get out of this hole I dug myself into. Pun was not intended, but it works, lol.

It started with a tiny little aloe plant that my ex-husband bought for me during the 2020 pandemic, and it blossomed into having over 40 plants within two years. I’m not even mad about it though, because I love my plants, however, I do need to slow down and stop spending on new plants, tools, planters, etc.

Honestly, I had no clue how expensive growing plants could be before I started my journey to becoming a houseplant mom.

I didn't realize that my transfer addiction was purchasing houseplants. These are just a few of my houseplants, and just before I split the entire top row into at least 10 more pots.

I didn’t realize that my transfer addiction was purchasing houseplants.

These are just a few of my houseplants, and just before I split the entire top row into at least 10 more pots.

While some may view having houseplants as not a “true” addiction, it is a transfer addiction for me. Instead of spending money on eating out, or way too much on junk food, I now spend it on buying new plants.

I do find that working with plants is a great way to relieve stress, it has been instrumental in helping me stay on track with my bariatric journey. I love the idea of being able to watch something “grow” over time, as this symbolizes progress made in my own life.

In the spring through the fall seasons, gardening provides me with valuable daily physical activity which further helps to keep me on track. Plus, gardening can be a great form of therapy that keeps me motivated in my bariatric journey!

Watching the progress of something I planted and cared for gives me a sense of accomplishment, which is an important part of my journey. It also provides me with an opportunity to slow down, relax and appreciate nature.

What is Addiction?

“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.” – American Society of Addiction Medicine

“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.” – American Society of Addiction Medicine

Image by Tom from Pixabay

Addiction can become a serious problem that can end up ruining not just your life but also your loved ones’ lives also. It’s important to remember that while addiction can be an incredibly powerful force, there are also ways to get help and ways to avoid relapsing.

A lot of bariatric patients suffer from a food addiction of some sort. Finding healthy ways to cope with a food addiction can be difficult, but there are some strategies that may help. One approach is to identify and avoid triggers that can lead to overeating.

There are four C’s of addiction which is a helpful tool in distinguishing between addiction as a mental health disorder demanding treatment and other types of addictive behaviors.

The Four Cs of addiction identifies whether someone is suffering from an addiction.

The Four Cs of Addiction:

Compulsion

Craving

Consequence

Control

For example, when someone is addicted to drugs, they may have:

  • Compulsive drug-seeking behavior
  • Drug cravings
  • The inability to stop using the drug despite negative consequences.
  • A lack of control over drug use and its intensity

When all four Cs of addiction are present, a person has a substance use disorder and will need professional help to recover. Let’s take a closer look at the components that make up this important concept.

1.  Compulsion: Someone suffering from addiction will experience an intense, uncontrollable urge to find and use drugs. This is known as compulsive drug-seeking behavior and suggests that the person can no longer control their urges or desires where drug use is concerned.

2.  Cravings: People with addiction may feel compelled to seek out drugs like they would for food and water. These cravings can become so strong that they interfere with daily activities like sleeping or eating regularly.

3.  Consequences: Despite being aware of the harm caused by their substance abuse, addicts often will continue using regardless of its negative impact on their physical, mental, financial, social, and professional health.

4.  Control: One of the clearest signs of addiction is a lack of control over drug-using habits – meaning someone cannot stop using or cut back even if they try to do so voluntarily. If you’re unable to exercise any restraint when it comes to your drug-using habits, treatment is absolutely necessary in order to regain control and break free from your dependency.

What is transfer addiction?

Transfer addiction is a psychological phenomenon that describes the persistent feeling of discomfort or unease when we transfer from one addiction to another – whether it’s from one job to another, one city to another, an old phone to a new phone, from food to something that used to be a hobby that we have no become obsessed with, etc.”

Transfer addiction is a psychological phenomenon that describes the persistent feeling of discomfort or unease when we transfer from one addiction to another – whether it’s from one job to another, one city to another, an old phone to a new phone, from food to something that used to be a hobby that we have no become obsessed with, etc.”

Image by Thibaud DESJARDINS from Pixabay

Any type of transfer can be affected by transfer addiction, and it can lead to a cycle of indecisiveness and procrastination due to the discomfort created by transfer anxiety.

This can become extremely detrimental in your personal and professional lives if transfer addiction isn’t dealt with quickly and properly because it can prevent you from taking meaningful steps toward achieving your goals.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Transfer Addiction:

We all have our vices, but it’s important to be aware of different types of addictions that can potentially worsen when transferring to a new school or environment.

Transfer addiction may be hard to conquer, but recognizing its symptoms is the first step toward solving it.

Some of the most common transfer addictions:

  • Overworking
  • Binge eating
  • Compulsive Behaviors
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Pornography
  • Sex Addiction & Sexual Promiscuity
  • Video Games
  • Drug Abuse or Alcohol Abuse
  • Gambling

Substance and behavior addictions are a growing issue in society today. Alcohol addiction, drug addiction, behavioral addiction, sex addiction, and food addiction are all forms of compulsive substance abuse that can have serious repercussions.

The effects of these addictions range from physical symptoms such as weight fluctuations and organ damage to psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and a distorted self-image. Recognizing warning signs earlier can help you stay in control and make the transition easier.

Some Symptoms of Transfer Addiction for Bariatric Patients:

  1. Increased food consumption: Transfer addiction after bariatric surgery can cause intense food intake for unhealthy foods, which can lead to overeating or binging.
  2. Loss of control over eating behaviors: Those suffering from transfer addiction may have difficulty controlling their eating habits, including excessive snacking or eating large amounts of food quickly.
  3. Weight gain: Despite the initial weight loss achieved through bariatric surgery, many people experience weight gain as a result of their transfer addiction.
  4. Excessive weight loss: Some patients have gone to the extreme far end and obsess over the body mass index (BMI) scale and become obsessed with losing to the scale which can cause malnutrition.
  5. Mental health condition: Transfer addiction can result in emotional distress and compulsiveness, as well as feelings of guilt and shame due to an inability to control one’s eating behavior. 
  6. Poor nutrition: Transfer addiction often results in poor nutrition, as those affected may be avoiding healthy foods or not getting enough calories throughout the day. 
  7. Social isolation: People with transfer addictions may avoid social situations due to embarrassment about their condition or fear of judgment from others about their physical appearance or eating habits.

Individuals who suffer from these types of addictions often experience social repercussions such as job loss or family issues.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Preventing Addiction Transfer

Preventing addiction transfer is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially when transitioning into a new environment. Making sure you have the proper mental and emotional resources available to you can be key to avoiding the occurrence of addictive behaviors in your life. This includes having a support system composed of family and friends who can provide understanding and guidance during times of difficulty, as well as setting boundaries and limits with yourself to avoid allowing unhealthy behaviors to take root in your life.

In addition, it’s important to recognize that addiction replacement is indeed preventable; developing healthy coping mechanisms such as journaling, yoga, or spending time outdoors are proactive ways to keep yourself grounded while surrounded by new influences.

Engaging in cognitive therapies such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can help provide the skills needed to navigate difficult emotions and challenges without resorting to addictive behaviors. Having an understanding of the underlying causes of addictive behavior, such as stress or trauma, will also help prevent transferring these habits from one environment to another. 

How Can You Avoid Transfer Addiction?

It’s important to remember that a career transition is not a one-time event. It’s something you should look at as an ongoing process. For instance, instead of looking for one big leap in your career, consider small steps and how they can help you reach larger goals over time.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Can the new behavior affect your life in a negative way? 
  • What is the level of compulsion with the new behavior or substance?

Once you have answered these questions and taken the necessary steps to launch yourself into the new path of addiction free and make sure you stay committed and practice self-care to ensure success.

How Do You Treat Transfer Addiction?

Transfer addiction can be difficult to overcome, but it’s not impossible. The two most important things for those struggling with transfer addiction are to develop and maintain healthy coping skills and create and use your support network.

Treatment options available for those struggling with substance and behavioral addictions are to first have a mental health evaluation then they will be possibly introduced to treatments ranging from medication-assisted to cognitive-behavioral therapy.

It is important for those suffering from addiction to seek help from an addiction specialist as soon as possible to reduce the risk of long-term health complications or relapse back to their substitute addiction or falling into a cross addiction.

It is essential to take time for self-care during this process, such as exercise and meditation or talking with trusted friends, family members, or mental health specialists. While it is okay to indulge occasionally, it is best to avoid overly sugary foods and alcohol consumption as both of these could trigger a relapse of your addiction recovery.

The challenge is not to be perfect — it is to be whole.” — Jane Fonda

Start by making a list of things you want to accomplish in your new setting and make sure you have a plan for achieving them. This will help keep you focused, instead of feeling overwhelmed with all the uncertainty.

Also, try to create an environment that facilitates productivity by finding activities or hobbies that can help reduce stress and bring some balance into your life. And finally, make sure you take care of yourself both physically and mentally during times of transition.

At the end of the day, transfer addiction is something we must be mindful of when transitioning between different stages in our lives. Knowing how to recognize the signs and act can help us stay on track, reach our goals, and make a successful transition.

With proper planning and self-care, it is possible to overcome transfer addiction and lead a more productive lifestyle.

Additionally, spending time with people who understand or have been through similar experiences can help you cope when positive thought processes are not enough. By building up these areas in your life, you will be able to come out stronger on the other side of this difficult experience.

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<h4 style="text-align:left"><a href="https://www.abariatricjourney.com/author/annac/" target="_self">AnnaC</a></h4>

AnnaC

AnnaC is a content creator with over 10 years of experience. She has successfully built over 6 websites but recently has turned her focus to healthy living and living life to the fullest by traveling & camping throughout the world.
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