Just as there is no single motivating factor behind drug use, so too is there no one reason why drug usage habits can become addiction. As every individual is motivated and drawn to interests for different reasons, it follows that those who become addicted to drugs all have different stories initially leading them into addiction.
However, it’s important to understand the general causes or the common motivating factors that lead to drug addiction. Not only does this knowledge help an individual avoid these temptations, but by understanding the root of the problem (i.e. the initial cause), it will allow the individual to move one step closer to overcoming addiction.
What is a drug addiction?
If a person uses drugs for the first time, they’re not likely to become addicted in that moment. Addiction typically happens over a period of time, when someone uses drugs repeatedly – so often, in fact, that the dosage amount needs to be increased repeatedly to achieve the same euphoric effect/high. This is because the effects of drugs on the brain are so drastic, the brain’s physical composition is literally changed.
Another indicator of addiction is the inability to continue with normal life. Everything begins to revolve around the drug, and one’s mind becomes fixated on how and where they’ll be able to get more of the substance in addition to when they’ll be able to use it. Personal relationships – romantic, familial, professional – fall to the wayside, as do important responsibilities like school and work.
The common causes of drug addiction
As stated, there’s no one cause of drug addiction, but there are many potential factors. These can include:
No one is born with a drug addiction. However, the body and brain react and respond to different drugs in different ways, reactions unique to one’s own genetic makeup. This is why some people struggle more with opioid prescription medication than others; alternatively, some individuals might have a predisposition for developing an alcohol addiction if alcoholism was known to run in their family.
This category is generally expansive, but it references two things. First, it refers to the age at which someone uses drugs for the first time.
Second, the overall age of a person can influence not only whether a drug addiction will occur, but what kind of drug is most likely to be abused.
Someone who grows up in a household where the dangers of drug use are discussed – and opportunities to use drugs are slim to none – will find themselves less likely to engage in drug use overall.
On the other hand, an individual raised in a home with parents who abused substances and/or had peers who did the same is much more likely to struggle with drug use. Young people in particular are affected in this regard, as the actions of the adults around them have a strong influence on their own actions and what they perceive as right and wrong.
For some people, drug addiction would never be a problem if it weren’t for peers. Attending a party with no intention other than to simply have a good time could turn into a lifelong problem if one’s peers encourage bad choices. This trend is frequently prevalent in young people, as they are more easily influenced by others.
A co-occurring mental health disorder
Certain mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, chronic stress, ADHD and PTSD, may predispose a person to developing a drug addiction. Known as dual diagnosis, drug addictions do often occur in tandem with these mental illnesses, but are not guaranteed to arise. There is no one cause of dual diagnosis, but the tendency to use drugs as self-medication, while wholly unhealthy and unhelpful, is often the case.
Situations of intense loss, grief, stress and trauma can also be a factor in drug addiction. Sometimes the repercussions of a traumatic experience, chronic stress or paralyzing grief can lead a person into believing there is no other relief than that false, temporary respite brought about by drugs. While the initial feeling might indeed be one of relief, it’s neither long lasting nor helpful in the long run.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
Drug addictions can be frightening, but this fear shouldn’t keep you or someone you know from seeking help which offers freedom. At Rehab After Work, our counselors know that drug addictions don’t just show up overnight like a common cold.
Every drug addiction is the result of some form of unrest, dissatisfaction or disorder in the life of the individual, and it is this root of the problem that our counselors seek to treat and heal. This method allows for both freedom from the addiction, as well as healthy coping mechanisms and a newfound purpose and zeal for life.
To talk with an addiction counselor today, reach out at 610-644-6464.