Causes Of Drug Addiction
Like many other mental and physical health problems, multiple factors can and usually do contribute to drug addiction. The most frequently observed contributing causes of drug addiction include:
- Genetics. How your body and brain react to a particular drug is in part determined by your inherited traits, those encoded by your genes. Those traits can speed up or slow down the way the disease of addiction develops.
- Environment. Environmental factors, such as your access to healthcare, exposure to a peer group that tolerates or encourages drug abuse, your educational opportunities, the presence of drugs in your home, your beliefs and attitudes, and your familys use of drugs are factors in the first use of drugs for most people, and whether that use escalates into addiction.
How Does Nida Use The Terms Drug Use Misuse And Addiction
Drug use refers to any scope of use of illegal drugs: heroin use, cocaine use, tobacco use. Drug misuse is used to distinguish improper or unhealthy use from use of a medication as prescribed or alcohol in moderation. These include the repeated use of drugs to produce pleasure, alleviate stress, and/or alter or avoid reality. It also includes using prescription drugs in ways other than prescribed or using someone elses prescription. Addiction refers to substance use disorders at the severe end of the spectrum and is characterized by a persons inability to control the impulse to use drugs even when there are negative consequences. These behavioral changes are also accompanied by changes in brain function, especially in the brains natural inhibition and reward centers. NIDAs use of the term addiction corresponds roughly to the DSM definition of substance use disorder. The DSM does not use the term addiction.
The Best Time To Overcome Addiction Is Before It Even Gets Started
There is definitely a need for further research and discussion in the addiction treatment community. We also must take care in allowing drugs that may serve as gateways to be overly available. For example, psuedoephedrine, which has no abuse potential by itself, unless chemically altered in a clandestine lab, is kept safely behind the pharmacy counter. However, dextromethorphan, and other abusable OTC drugs and products, are available on the shelves of many stores and accessible to anyone.
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How To Resist Peer Pressure
A person may be able to help resist peer pressure by:
- Choosing peers who share their values and opinions: People will experience less negative peer pressure and more positive peer pressure when their friends do not use drugs or alcohol.
- Practicing saying no to peers: A person can use whatever explanation they feel comfortable with, whether that involves being honest or making up an excuse.
- Using a buddy system: Having at least one peer who does not engage in the behavior can make it easier to resist pressure in a group setting.
- Harnessing the power of positive peer pressure: People with a history of substance use may find help and advice from support groups, including free 12-step programs.
- Seeking help for certain issues: People who commonly experience difficult family situations, feelings of rejection and alienation, or rejection sensitivity may find that learning to manage these issues makes it easier to resist peer pressure.
It can be helpful to remember that a person does not have to do everything that their peers do.
When To Talk To Your Healthcare Provider
If you think it might be time to talk to your healthcare provider about your substance use, ask yourself these questions:
- Have you recently been using alcohol or drugs more frequently or in higher amounts than you want to?
- Do you sometimes have a strong craving for alcohol or drugs?
- Do you find yourself losing time or blacking out after using substances?
- Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with stress, such as relationship problems?
- Do you ever find yourself involved in fights after using a substance?
- Have family, friends, or colleagues noticed you behaving differently?
- Do you feel irritable, depressed, or physically sick when you cant use drugs?
- Do you spend a lot of time or money while using or planning to use substances?
- Do you ever avoid activities or miss out on important events because of your drug use?
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When Drug Use Becomes Drug Abuse Or Addiction
Of course, drug useeither illegal or prescriptiondoesnt automatically lead to abuse. Some people are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without experiencing negative effects, while others find that substance use takes a serious toll on their health and well-being. Similarly, there is no specific point at which drug use moves from casual to problematic.
Drug abuse and addiction is less about the type or amount of the substance consumed or the frequency of your drug use, and more about the consequences of that drug use. If your drug use is causing problems in your lifeat work, school, home, or in your relationshipsyou likely have a drug abuse or addiction problem.
If youre worried about your own or a loved ones drug use, learning how drug abuse and addiction developsand why it can have such a powerful holdwill give you a better understanding of how to best deal with the problem and regain control of your life. Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, one that takes tremendous courage and strength. Facing your problem without minimizing the issue or making excuses can feel frightening and overwhelming, but recovery is within reach. If youre ready to seek help, you can overcome your addiction and build a satisfying, drug-free life for yourself.
Risk factors for drug addiction
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How Do People Start Using Drugs
The stimulus for each person is different to determine when and how they start abusing drugs. Similarly, the reason to continue using drugs can be other from person to person. Under usual circumstances, people abuse drugs to cope with inner pain or a mental illness.
Drugs tend to offer temporary relief from the problems a person might be suffering from. Some of the psychological causes could be:
- Loss of a loved one
- Low self-esteem
- Chronic pain
- Mental health issues
A person can be more susceptible to drug addiction if there is a higher risk to a persons living conditions. Thus, there must be enough care and support for people exposed to the perils of drug abuse.
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What Causes Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a specific type of addiction. There is no one single cause of drug addiction. Instead, there are multiple causes that can be grouped into four basic categories. These four categories are: biological causes, psychological causes, socio-cultural causes, and spiritual causes. Psychologists call this the Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Model of addiction. We generally understand these are all inter-related. Therefore, each of these four factors contributes in some manner to the formation of addiction.
Socio-cultural influences also contribute to the development of drug addiction. For our purposes, the term culture describes a group’s learned and shared pattern of values and beliefs. These values and beliefs guide group members’ behavior and their social interactions. When a culture accepts or tolerates drug use, the members of that culture are more vulnerable to addiction. The greatest social influence is the family. This is how culture is transmitted from one generation to the next. Children learn from their family members about drug use, or misuse.
These four primary causes of alcoholism and other addictions are discussed in much greater detail in our topic center on addictions.
What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locator.
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Drugs Crime And Violence: Exploring The Connections
No one is surprised by the complex interconnections among drugs, alcohol, violence, and criminal behavior. Statistics repeatedly bear out the strong association between substance abuse and crime, some of which is violent in nature. Of course, drug abuse and drinking can also lead to violent behavior that is not reported and never makes it into the criminal justice system.
Alcohol and drug abuse can both lead to criminal behavior and can be used as a coping mechanism by those who have a history of crime. In other words, they are interwoven, but that does not mean there are no solutions to drug-related crime and violence.
The Doctor Says I Am Addicted And Have A Substance Use Disorder Is Addiction A Disease
Imagine going to a doctor to get help with a drug addiction. You started using drugs for a specific purpose. Maybe it was to feel better about yourself in social situations. Or maybe it was because of physical or emotional pain. It could have even been because of intense boredom.
At some point, your drug use got out of control. You discovered that you were obsessed and could not stop, even if you wanted to. Then, people around you got involved in pressuring you to stop using drugs.
During your doctor visit, the doctor asks you questions and takes notes. Depending on your particular addiction, you may or may not get a prescription for medication. The doctor may recommend therapy and group meetings.
When you leave the exam room, you may be concerned when you see a diagnosis code circled on the paperwork that goes to the front desk. Is addiction a disease? Why do they have disease codes for addiction?
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When A Loved One Has A Drug Problem
If you suspect that a friend or family member has a drug problem, here are a few things you can do:
Speak up. Talk to the person about your concerns, and offer your help and support without being judgmental. The earlier addiction is treated, the better. Dont wait for your loved one to hit rock bottom! List specific examples of your loved ones behavior that have you worried and urge them to seek help.
Take care of yourself. Stay safe. Dont put yourself in dangerous situations. Dont get so caught up in someone elses drug problem that you neglect your own needs. Make sure you have people you can talk to and lean on for support.
Many People Caught In Active Addiction Are Functional And In Denial
Do you know anyone who you think might be addicted to drugs or alcohol, but they get by in life, going to work and taking care of their home life? You might be surprised how many people are out there, living their lives with an active addiction, but without any intention of doing anything about it.
When a person with a drug addiction is exposed to a highly addictive drug, the progression of their addiction can be greatly accelerated. The alcoholic might move from wine or beer to hard liquor. The person who takes pain pills tries heroin or street fentanyl. Or, the cocaine addict tries smoking crack cocaine.
While the drug itself does not turn a person into an addict, the interaction of certain drugs with people who are predisposed to addiction and already with a habit of using drugs or alcohol are at high risk when exposed to certain drugs that stimulate the reward centers in the brain more intensely than other drugs.
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The Effects Of Drug Addiction
The sad truth is that more deaths, illnesses, and disabilities are caused by substance abuse than by any other preventable health condition. Prolonged drug dependence interferes with just about every organ in the human body, and while different drugs have different damaging effects, these are some of the common conditions substance abuse can cause:
- Damaged immune system, which increases susceptibility to infection
- Cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks and collapsed veins
- Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
- Liver overexertion or liver failure
- Seizures and strokes
- Widespread brain damage that can interfere with memory, attention, and decision-making, as well as permanent brain damage
Some of the worst effects of substance abuse arent even health related. Drug abuse can have a number of damaging consequences on an addicts social and emotional well-being, including:
- Loss of employment
- Risky sexual behavior
Many problems can be reversed or minimized by getting sober, but there may be some health and emotional issues that simply wont heal with time. The best way to prevent permanent damage is to seek professional drug addiction treatment ASAP to overcome the addiction.
Psychological Causes Of Drug Addiction
While biological causes of drug addiction have been suggested, many people still believe psychological factors comprise the bulk of what causes drug addiction. Some of the psychological causes of drug addiction appear to stem from trauma, often when the drug addict is young. Sexual or physical abuse, neglect, or chaos in the home can all lead to psychological stress, which people attempt to “self-medicate” . This self-medication becomes a cause of drug addiction.1
Other psychological causes of drug addiction include:
- A mental illness such as depression
- Inability to connect with others, lack of friends
- Poor performance at work or school
- Poor stress coping skills
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What Are Symptoms Of Substance Use Disorder
Symptoms of drug addiction include:
- Bloodshot eyes and looking tired.
- Changes in appetite, usually eating less.
- Changes in physical appearance, such as having a poor complexion or looking ungroomed.
- Craving drugs.
- Difficulty completing tasks at work, school or home.
- Engaging in risky behaviors, despite knowing negative consequences .
- Inability to reduce or control drug use.
- Issues with money.
Does Everyone Who Takes Drugs Or Alcohol To Cover Up The Pain Of Trauma Or To Deal With Boredom Get Addicted
This is an excellent question! A wise teacher in my medical training once said to me that all families are dysfunctional. It was such an important insight to him, he stopped, looked at me, and repeated it to me again.
If all families are dysfunctional, and at least one child is emotionally abused in every family, and alcohol and drug use are so widespread, why are there not more people addicted? Does this mean that not everyone who takes drugs or drinks alcohol gets addicted? Yes, addiction is a fairly uncommon phenomenon.
Most people who try drugs will eventually put them down and move on with their lives without ever becoming addicted. This is true even of the highly addictive drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. Some people will just not like them or tire of them after a while.
There are often college kids who drink heavily while in college, and then they finally get sick of waking up with a hangover. They simply make a decision to quit drinking and that is the end of it. After quitting, they might still have an occasional beer or glass of wine, but without drinking to excess, so they can avoid the sickly feeling of getting drunk and having a bad headache the next day.
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There Is No Cure For Addiction But People Can And Do Recover
While there is no cure for any mental health disorder, including drug addiction, many go on to lead incredible lives filled with hope and courage. Numerous research-based therapies and treatment interventions have been proven to be effective in treating those living with drug addiction.
The key is receiving personalized treatment that is intensive and integrated. When long-term support and therapeutic and spiritual interventions are applied, people struggling to overcome addiction do recover. Mental, physical, and spiritual wellness is central to recovery.
Questions about drug addiction and treatment? Call .
Turning To Drugs And Alcohol
For a person struggling with major depression, the allure of turning to drugs and/or alcohol is incredibly tempting in order to relieve their symptoms. It is estimated that about one-third of people diagnosed with clinical depression self-medicate with some sort of substance to improve their feelings of hopelessness and despair.
Although the chemicals found in drugs or alcohol may relieve symptoms on a temporary basis, they can also intensify depressive symptoms and increase self-destructive and risky behaviors that people with depression often engage in. Most worryingly, studies show that the lifetime risk of suicide in people that have depression increases from 10% to 25% if some sort of substance abuse is also added.
So, how does depression lead to drug abuse? In this blog, were going to look at the relationship between depression and substance abuse, as well as the most common substances used by people struggling with mental health disorders.
Finding Quality Treatment For Substance Use Disorders
This fact sheet serves as a guide for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment. It provides three necessary steps to complete prior to utilizing a treatment center and the five signs of a quality treatment center, which include a review of the accreditation, medication, evidence-based practices, position on the role of families, and support networks.
What Are Treatments For Drug Addiction
Several therapies exist for treating substance use disorder. Even for a severe disorder, treatment can help. Often, youll receive a combination of these therapies:
- Detoxification: You stop taking drugs, allowing the drugs to leave the body. You may need healthcare supervision to detox safely.
- Medication-assisted therapies: During detox, medicine can help control cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms.
- Behavioral therapies:Cognitive behavioral therapy or other psychotherapy can help deal with addictions cause. Therapy also helps build self-esteem and teaches healthy coping mechanisms.
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