If you or a loved one is battling addiction, you might be curious as to what caused all the problems in the first place. The truth is, addiction stems from a variety of factors and no one can give an exact prognosis regarding addiction in each person. While many studies have been performed, the results are still inconclusive.
While we can’t know for sure what causes someone to be an addict, we can attempt to prevent it. Take time to notice the early signs of danger and get help as soon as possible.
Causes of Addiction
Many people underestimate the power of addiction and brush it off as a matter of willpower. As we continue to learn more about the ways the brain works, the more we come to understand about addiction. Even with all this new information, addiction’s causes can still be perplexing.
Anytime a chemical or substance enters into the body, it is capable of altering the brain and nervous system. This is exceptionally true with alcohol or drugs. The chemical functions and circuits of the brain are dramatically altered every time chemicals are introduced.
Studies have shown that areas of the brain vital to decision-making, memory, learning, judgment and control over behavior are all altered by drugs and alcohol. As these changes occur, the abuser continues to seek out more substances in an effort to feel better. Long-term abuse causes severe changes that potentially become irreversible.
While these changes have significant influence over behavior, the person doesn’t lose the ability to exercise good judgment. They still face the choice to get sober at any time.
Some common thoughts about the causes of addiction include:
About half of addictions are currently attributed to the genes and biology of a person. Some people tend to be predisposed to addiction based on ethnicity, gender and other uncontrollable factors. Just because they have this predisposition doesn’t mean they will be an addict.
The influences in a person’s life are also great factors. Socioeconomic status, friendship, family relationships, quality of life and stress all influence the path of addiction in a person. When the biology and environment both line up for a person to be an addict, it is even more of a dangerous combination.
There are critical stages occurring within each person’s life that affect the vulnerability of addiction. For example, adolescents are more likely to experience serious addiction abuse when they begin to try alcohol or drugs at a young age.
The earlier the usage begins, the more likely it seems to progress into serious abuse. This is due in part to the fact that adolescents have brains that are still developing. When a substance is introduced during this time, the decision making, self-control or judgment aspects of the brain are altered.
Prevention Is Key
Whatever the cause of addiction, the key is prevention. Studies continue to confirm that prevention plays a big role in reducing alcohol and drug abuse. Here are some steps that are vital to preventing addiction in yourself and those you love.
Deal with Hurts
Facing your hurts and traumas is an essential way to prevent addiction. Join up with self-help groups or a therapist that can teach you the proper techniques to dealing with the stress of life.
The CDC also reports that people of the LGBTQ community seem to be more susceptible to addiction. This is likely caused by self-esteem, discrimination or bullying issues. Thankfully, there is plenty of support to help you deal with these feelings appropriately.
Learn Life Skills
If you are someone that struggles with a lack of self-control or dangerous impulsivity, it is wise to seek out a counselor to help you with these traits. The National Institute on Drug Abuse classifies those who are risk-takers with a likelihood of addiction.
It doesn’t matter what age you are, choosing friends carefully is an important aspect of remaining healthy. Peer pressure plays a role in everyone’s life, but you have a choice who to hang around.
Top risk factors for becoming addicted include easy access to alcohol or drugs. This is true with any addiction whether it be sex, gambling or tobacco. By choosing healthy and appropriate friends, you reduce your risk of engaging in these dangerous behaviors.
Because we know how important it is to avoid using drugs or alcohol at an early age, prevention in the adolescent years is essential. Here are a few steps that might encourage young ones to remain sober and on a healthy path:
- Teach the consequences of alcoholism and drug addiction. This includes job loss, engaging in risky behaviors, dropping out of school and mental disorders.
- Have your children develop a strong bond in the community. This can be through school activities, your religious organization or just simply by offering some volunteer work at a local charity. Healthy, strong relationships are vital to preventing addiction.
- Join with your adolescents in community programs that teach against drugs and alcohol.
- Monitor the relationships your child has with friends.
- Set appropriate boundaries and guidelines for your child to follow.
- Have a relationship where your child can talk to you and receive guidance.
- Seek professional help for an adolescent who is struggling in their personal lives.
Early Treatment is Necessary
If prevention is no longer an option, receiving early treatment is essential to a successful recovery. If you or someone you know suffers from these early symptoms of addiction, it is time to seek out professional help:
- Inability to stop using a substance on their own
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Changes in appetite
- Continuing the usage despite clear health concerns
- Giving up things they love to do
- Always ensuring a supply of the substance
- Risky behavior
- Trouble dealing with problems
- Consumption in excess
- Hiding substances
- Using a large initial dose to feel the effects sooner
- Trouble with the law
- Financial difficulties
- Trouble maintaining healthy relationships
- Loss of jobs
The sooner the addiction is discovered, the better. Treating an addiction early is the key to avoiding additional pain, guilt and shame in the future. It can also prevent a death that doesn’t need to happen.
If you are struggling with these symptoms, seek help immediately. If it is someone you love, talk to a professional about the steps you can take to help them.
Taking the time to understand the process of addiction and working toward preventing it is easier than trying to get sober once an addiction has begun. Work to create a healthy environment for yourself and those around you to flourish in.
Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help for yourself or those you care about. It might be the very thing that saves a life.
Contact Clearbrook For Addiction Treatment Today
If you or a loved one are suffering with an alcohol or drug addiction, getting help immediately is essential to a happy and healthy life.
Here at Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we are able to provide you those solutions. With 45 years of experience in treating substance use disorders, we can offer you a new way of life, free from the bondage of addiction.
If you are ready to take control of your life and make a change, please contact our Admissions Specialists today.