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7 Major Causes of Addictions

Substance use disorder or addiction is a chronic condition accompanied by compulsively consuming alcohol or other illicit drugs. Though it has some dire mental, social, and physical consequences, it is difficult to overcome addiction on your own. There is no one reason why people fall into addiction, which is why experts have boiled down to a few options of addiction. 

Major Causes of Addiction

While exposure to substances is one reason why people may be tempted to try them out, it is certainly not the only reason. In fact, according to a study, the personal situation of a person is more of a determining factor than the availability of drugs or alcohol. 

1. Genetics

According to APA, genes increase addiction tendency by 60%, which means that they are one of the top causes why certain patients become more prone to addiction while others do not. This means that if a person has had parents or other blood relatives addicted to substances, the likelihood of them conceiving the same habit is at least 50%. Moreover, a genetic mental health disorder can also increase the chances of addiction development. This is due to the fact that people with mental disorders running in their genes are more susceptible to substance abuse. 

2. Peer Pressure and False Idea of Masculinity

While genetics may load the gun for putting a person at risk, it's the peer pressure or other environmental factors that pull the trigger. Many people are coerced into “trying out” these substances that eventually lead to addiction. Peer pressure or the pressure of looking “cool” is one of the reasons why young adults get addicted to substances. Youth is tricked into thinking that they are not “man enough” if they do not try smoking tobacco or marijuana, which can further urge them to try even more dangerous drugs like cocaine or opioids.

3. Early Exposure to Drugs

When a child is exposed to drugs or other substances at a young age, they become more at risk of developing a substance use disorder. Studies have shown that the earlier a person starts using drugs, the more likely they are to develop a substance use disorder later in life. Additionally, the developing brain is more vulnerable to the harmful effects of drugs, which can increase the risk of addiction. It is important for individuals to be aware of these risks and to avoid using drugs at a young age. More importantly, parents should also be mindful of the fact that they may pass their addictions to their kids. 

It is important to address and treat the underlying trauma and instability to help prevent the development of addiction. Addiction counseling and therapies can be helpful.

4. Trauma

Addiction may also seem tempting to those who struggle with any trauma, especially childhood. These traumatic events may be physical, mental, or sexual in nature. It is important to remember that unresolved traumas are very harmful in terms of growth because a person can grow into a troubled adult. Research has shown that individuals who have experienced trauma and instability are more likely to engage in substance use and to develop a substance use disorder compared to those who have not experienced these events.

Some of the common traumatic events are:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Neglect in early childhood

5. Unstability

Instability refers to a lack of security, predictability, and structure in a person's life. It can encompass various aspects, such as a lack of stable housing, employment, financial security, or relationships. When individuals face frequent changes or disruptions in their daily lives, they may feel overwhelmed and stressed, which can lead to the use of drugs as a means of coping. Substance abuse can then lead to further instability and difficulties in a person's life, creating a vicious cycle. Overall, instability can be a significant risk factor for the development of addiction and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive approach to treating substance use disorders.

6. Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders can be a reason for the development of addiction. Mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can lead to feelings of distress and discomfort. In an attempt to cope with these emotions, some individuals may turn to substance abuse as a means of self-medication. This can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, which can in turn worsen the underlying mental health disorder. 

7. Stress

Stress can also be a reason for the development of addiction. Chronic stress can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness, which can increase the likelihood of substance abuse as a means of coping. Substance abuse can then lead to further stress, creating a vicious cycle. Stress can come from various sources, such as work, family, or financial problems, and can have a significant impact on a person's mental and physical health. In some cases, individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to temporarily relieve stress and escape from the pressures of daily life. However, substance abuse can create additional stress and difficulties, leading to a worsening of the initial problem.

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