We know that the causes of drug addiction and the causes of alcoholism addiction are closely related; however, not everyone develops addiction from consumption, similar to other mental health disorders, there are multiple determining factors that come into play.
What Causes Addiction?
While the prolonged abuse of substances increases the risk of addiction, the sole consumption of substances is not one of the determining causes of drug addiction. Different people react to substances in different ways which begs the questions – Why do some people become addicted? And what really causes addiction?
Addiction is a complex disease, and its complexity makes it difficult to determine exactly which factors, or combinations of them, causes it. Addiction may develop over prolonged periods of abuse in some cases, while in other cases it might be nearly instantaneous.
Generally, the more risk factors that are present for the consumer, the higher their chances will be to end up becoming an addict.
Determining Causes of Addiction
There are two main determining risk categories of drug addiction and alcohol addiction:
- Environmental factors: A person’s environment greatly influences their behavior. Their culture, family history, and social influences may become reasons for that person to use and abuse drugs to the point where they may become addicted. Their environment may also influence their feelings or cause traumatic experiences which could ultimately lead to abuse and dependency.
- Biological factors: There is no specific gene that causes drug addiction or alcoholism; however, addiction is known to run in families which may point to genetic traits as one of the controlling causes of drug addiction and alcoholism. When consumed in excess, drugs and alcohol may cause imbalances in the body that can also lead to physical and mental dependence, leading to addiction.
Breaking Down Risk Factors
Biological and environmental risk categories can be broken down into different factors that may influence a person into becoming an addict. These factors include:
- Consumption: Trying drugs or alcohol for the first time is a choice, no one is born addicted to these substances; however, after continued use, tolerance and dependency may develop. Not everyone will become an addict by simply trying an addictive substance like alcohol; in fact, many people consume alcohol without any issues, but it’s a different case for those who may be at risk of addiction.
For example, drinking alcohol on a regular basis is one of the causes of alcoholism, because the body eventually will build tolerance and dependency on the substance. The same goes for addictive drugs, prolonged use causes drug addiction, particularly in those who have a higher risk of dependency.
Consuming drugs or alcohol at an earlier age can also cause changes in the way the brain develops which may greatly influence addiction. The methods by which drugs are consumed also make a difference. For example, consuming drugs intravenously may accelerate dependency as opposed to smoking them.
- Family History: While there is not a specific gene that has been identified as the cause for addiction, family history still remains an important addiction influencing factor.
Household education can also be a factor of influence, seeing a parent abusing alcohol may lead the child to assume it’s OK to do so as well. For example, considering that alcohol is the way to resolve conflicts or deal with pain based on what someone has seen their parents or another family member do. Children abused by alcoholic parents may also be at risk for addiction because of developed traumas.
- Mental Health Disorders: If you have a mental health disorder such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or post-traumatic stress disorder, you’re more likely to become addicted to drugs. Using drugs can become a way of coping with painful feelings, such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness, and can make these problems even worse.
If you or a loved one is at risk of addiction, then it’s important to seek a professional diagnosis when signs of abuse are present.
Addiction is a progressive disease, this makes it more difficult for the patient to get better as the disease advances, for this reason, it’s important to seek immediate help.
Contact 90210 Recovery to learn more about what you can do to help your loved one get sober.