Substance-abuse disorders are complex, which makes the answer to the question of “what causes addiction” also complex. Those at risk for developing an addiction are thought to possess a combination of poor coping skills and genetic predisposition. Addictive substances also rewire the brain, which exacerbates the desire to continue using.
Understanding What Causes Addiction
Part of why addiction is so complicated is due to the fact that the initial drug use is almost always voluntary. This causes people on the outside to blame the user and suggest that if they just had self-control, then they could quit. However, this ignores that many cases of addiction start through relatively innocent means. For example, alcohol use is quite common in the United States, but not everyone using suffers from addiction. Opioid pain pills prescriptions are for legitimate reasons, but then the user ends up addicted and possibly pursuing other similar sources such as heroin.
One common situation is that people with other mental issues such as depression or anxiety end up using substances to self-medicate these conditions. Even though the substances ultimately make these conditions worse, they temporarily dull the unpleasant feelings. This causes the user to feel good and normal while using the substance. Unfortunately, they then feel much worse when they stop.
This typically results in the person using as often as possible to avoid the crash of bad feelings. It’s easy to see how this destructive cycle sends people deep into addiction. Although any case of addiction can be difficult to escape, there are definitely some substances that are worse than others. For example, opioid painkillers directly target brain reward receptors, which makes them highly addictive. On the other hand, it’s generally said that marijuana is less addictive chemically, but that doesn’t mean an addiction to smoking marijuana can’t be developed.
What Causes Addiction Risk?
The term addictive personality is often used to describe someone who might be at risk for developing a substance abuse disorder. Even though there are some specific traits in people who have these disorders, those traits are not present in absolutely all cases. Some characteristics of those who have a high risk of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol include:
- Being genetically related to someone with an addiction
- Possessing another mental health disorder
- A keen interest in adventure and taking risks
- A disconnected and cautious personality
- An apathetic attitude
- The inability to regulate behavior
- Obsessive and compulsive behavior
People with any of the above traits, or a combination of these traits, tend to have a higher risk of trying addictive substances. For example, those who are adventurous and enjoy taking risks have been found to have elevated dopamine levels in their brains. This makes them less sensitive to it, and they will often pursue more intense experiences in order to feel it. In this case, drugs and alcohol can give them the high dopamine levels that they desire.
What Causes Addiction Recovery?
Recovery from addiction involves both getting rid of the physical dependence through detox and then resolving problematic behaviors with therapy. Crestview Recovery in Asheville, North Carolina, employs a range of therapies, including the distinctive reality therapy, which helps clients adjust to real-life situations in controlling their behavior. Other services offered at our facility include:
- A comprehensive wellness program
- Partnership with an off-site detox facility
- On-site psychiatrist
- Intimate setting in the Western NC mountains
- Separate houses for men and women
To find out more about what causes addiction and how to keep it from controlling your life, reach out to Crestview Recovery today at 866.327.2505. Attending a quality drug rehab can put you on the path to sobriety.