What Factors Contribute to Drug Addiction?
Have you ever wondered why you became addicted and your siblings didn’t? Substance abuse is very individualistic, there are several factors that combine, and all of them have important roles to play. The key contributors to developing an addiction include the following:
While some believe the roots of addiction may lie deep within you at the cellular level, there are as many variables as our individual DNA. This is why siblings often follow very different paths, some leading to addiction and some not. That being said, genetics do play a role by predisposing you to developing an addiction.
According to the American Psychological Association genes are important in addiction – genetic factors contribute to about half of a person’s tendency to become addicted. Our genes have been linked to:
- a quicker reaction to drugs
- a decreased ability to feel any negative effects
- an increased euphoria
- a quick involvement with repetitive behaviors, i.e., an addictive personality
These genetic factors can cause experimental drug use to quickly spin out of control and make it difficult to stop.
Studies have shown that genetics alone does not an addict make. Like so many others, the home that you and your siblings grew up in also plays a significant role in your addiction. There are several factors that play into this:
- frequent arguments
- mental illness
- drug or alcohol abuse
Perhaps, your parents stayed together but fought frequently and intensely. Experts believe the stress level that this type of behavior generates in us can predispose us to becoming addicted to kill the pain. They also feel that some children grow up to mimic their parents’ drug and alcohol abuse.
The environment right outside an addict’s front door also plays a part. If one lives in a neighborhood where drug use is normalized, he begins to see it as normal, and the everyone-is-doing-it rationale comes into play. It can also be stressful to live in that type of environment, which can lead to addiction by way of numbing the fear and worries one might experience.
Traumatic events can leave a scar on the mind, and over time, victims choose to dull their pain with their drug of choice. These events include:
- verbal abuse
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- physical altercations
- natural disasters
The link behind this kind of childhood trauma and adult substance abuse is striking. Studies show that one in four of American children experience at least one of these traumas during childhood. Other exposure to trauma, even after becoming an adult, has been shown to be correlated with an increased chance for addiction as well.
4) Mental Illness
A strong relationship exists between mental illness and addiction. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than one half of substance abusers are also dealing with a mental illness. For some addicts, it is a matter of doing something to relieve the stress and pain associated with that illness. For others, the drug abuse sets off a series of events that cause a mental illness diagnosis.
5) Peer Pressure
While many people associate peer pressure strictly with kids and teenagers, it does manifest itself in adults as well. In that case, the influence is usually surrounding who they live with. Hoping to re-experience that first high, a sober partner may join in and begin to abuse drugs with their spouse. Others see it as a way to achieve peace in their relationship. While replacing fighting with using drugs may seem like a solution at the time, a relapse is simply not worth it.
It is important to keep in mind that just the way a person reacts to or thinks about things can predispose him or her to becoming addicted. For example, someone who is impulsive by nature makes snap decisions without thinking about the consequences or long term effects. This impulsivity throws caution to the wind, and experimentation with all sorts of things, including drugs or alcohol, are the result.
The Health Psychology Journal reported that personality factors such as poor self control can be linked to having difficulty interacting with others, and drug use can help numb that particular pain.
These factors have influenced your family dynamic and make sense out of what has led up to your addiction. It is important to remember, however, that none of them are a guaranteed ride to substance abuse, which is why addiction is like a tornado, seemingly hitting one person but not another. Conversely, there are people who fall under this umbrella of factors, but never tried any controlled substances or could stop after their first negative experience. Some, however, spin out of control.
It is critical to remember that there is help and hope for anyone who has developed an addiction. With the proper intervention, you can make the changes that will put you on the path to sobriety.
The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California. To talk to us about treatment options at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs, contact us today.