Addiction Transference

Addiction Transference: Understanding the Phenomenon

Addiction is a complex and multifaceted condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While the causes and triggers of addiction vary from person to person, there is one phenomenon that is common among those in recovery: addiction transference.

What is Addiction Transference?

Addiction transference occurs when an individual in recovery from substance abuse or addiction shifts their addictive behavior from one substance or behavior to another. This can happen unintentionally, as the individual may not even be aware that they are engaging in addictive behavior again.

Addiction transference can also occur when an individual tries to substitute one addiction for another in an attempt to quit their original addiction. For example, someone who has quit smoking may start eating excessively or compulsively shopping to cope with the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Also Read: How To Manage Unsupportive People In Your Recovery Process

Why Does Addiction Transference Occur?

Addiction transference is thought to occur because addiction is not just about the substance or behavior itself, but also about the underlying psychological and emotional issues that drive the addictive behavior. These issues may include anxiety, depression, trauma, or low self-esteem.

When an individual tries to quit their addictive behavior, they may find that the underlying issues are still present, and without addressing them, they may turn to a new addiction as a way to cope. Additionally, the brain’s reward system may be altered by addiction, making it more susceptible to addictive behavior in the future.

How to Prevent Addiction Transference

Preventing addiction transference requires addressing the underlying psychological and emotional issues that drive addictive behavior. This can be done through therapy, support groups, and other forms of treatment that focus on identifying and addressing these issues.

It is also important for individuals in recovery to be aware of the risk of addiction transference and to recognize when they are engaging in addictive behavior. By developing healthy coping mechanisms and seeking support when needed, individuals can reduce the risk of addiction transference and maintain their sobriety.

Also Read: Creative Addiction Treatment: Using Creativity To Heal


Addiction transference is a common phenomenon among individuals in recovery from addiction. By understanding why it occurs and how to prevent it, individuals can reduce the risk of relapse and maintain their sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, reach out for help today.