Tuesday, September 27, 2022

What Makes Someone An Addict

You Idealize The Idea Of Love

How to help an alcoholic in your family to stop drinking

According to Botnick, unrealistic cultural ideas about love can play a part.

From fairy tales to Lifetime movies to Facebook feeds, were bombarded with images of perfect partners and love that completes us, she says.

With these ideals in mind, you might feel like you have to keep searching for that soulmate, that perfect love, without considering the very real work that goes into making a relationship strong and successful.

Why Do People Get Addicted To Drugs

Often as concerned loved ones, we find ourselves asking things like, Why do some people get addicted to drugs, and others do not? Its a valid question, and many people who use drugs dont think they will become addicted. The truth is, anyone can become addicted to drugs, and there a variety of factors that put them at greater risk. Common risk factors, or potential causes of drug addiction, include:

  • Stressful early life experiences, such as being abused or experiencing trauma
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Genetic vulnerability
  • Prenatal exposure to alcohol or other drugs while in the womb
  • Lack of parental supervision or monitoring during adolescence
  • Association with drug-using peers, or peer-pressure from friends or social circles
  • Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety

As you can see, there are a mix of genetic and environmental influences that can make a person more vulnerable to addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, genetics account for about half of a persons likelihood to develop an addiction. So, environmental risk factors also play a big role: things like stress, trauma, abuse, lack of education, low-income neighborhoods, high school parties.

Rapid And Sudden Weight Loss

Heroin can cause a dramatic decrease in appetite and weight. The change will be noticeably sudden. As the users appetite is suppressed, they simply wont eat. They become so thin that its a health risk. Heroin addicts would rather spend all their money and time seeking out heroin. This is a true testament to how addictive the drug is. Part of the reason for weight loss is that they literally forget to eat.

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How Addiction Gets Started

The reason that people engage in activity that can become addictive in the first place is to experiment, because of the social environment, or achieve a feeling of euphoria or to relieve an emotional state of dysphoria.

When people drink, take drugs, or participate in other reward-seeking behavior they experience a “high” that gives them the reward or relief they are seeking.

Defining Features Of Addiction

What are the reasons that make people drug addicts and ...

Two aspects that all addictions have in common:

  • The addictive behavior is maladaptive. The behavior causes problems for the individual or those around them. So instead of helping the person cope with situations or overcome problems, it tends to undermine these abilities.
  • The behavior is persistent. When people are addicted, they will continue to engage in the addictive behavior despite the trouble it causes. So an occasional weekend of self-indulgence is not an addiction, although it may cause different kinds of problems. Addiction is characterized by frequent engagement in the behavior.

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Learn How To Help An Addict Today

Always remember that, while your loved one needs help, you need to focus on yourself too. If you dont, their situation will add up to the personal stress you already have. This can make your relationship with them strained.

Its hard for you to help them if you develop resentment towards them. Take care of yourself by getting some good sleep, exercising, and getting support. This will make you more ready to take care of your loved one get the assistance they need.

Lastly, its important to remember that you arent alone. A lot of people struggle to learn how to help an addict recover. Know that support isnt that far off.

Do you need to help a loved one detoxify? Contact us today and well help them get started.

How To Help Your Addicted Spouse Without Enabling Them

Can a marriage survive drug addiction?

It sounds a simple question, but the answer is far too complicated and unique to individual circumstances to provide a simple yes or no response. Clearly, it can, as millions of existing marriages can testify, but there needs to be a lot of understanding and patience on your part. Of course, there also needs to be the desire to quit and then abstain from your addicted spouse.

If your spouse is struggling with an addiction, there are several yet vital things that you may want to consider doing solely for yourself. When you actually begin to help yourself, you are also helping your addicted spouse a kind of knock-on effect.

Sadly, many close relationships with an addict only survive because the sober spouse is inadvertently enabling the addict to continue their addiction in a number of ways, eg. giving them money, not discussing treatment, etc. Spouses do this because they are afraid the relationship will change drastically if their partner is finally clean and sober. Here are a number of highly effective ways to positively help your addicted spouse, importantly, without enabling them:

Find a Support Group: Its important to talk with other people that know what youre going through. Support groups for spouses dealing with addiction from their loved ones can help you find the tools you need to help. They also make you feel less isolated and you have a greater understanding of what your addicted partner is going through.

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Do You Misuse Alcohol

Sometimes it can be challenging to draw the line between safe alcohol consumption and the misuse of alcohol. If you answer yes to some of the following questions, you may misuse alcohol:

  • Do you need to drink more to feel the effects of alcohol?
  • Do you feel guilty about your alcohol consumption?
  • Do you become irritable or angry when you are drinking?
  • Do you have issues at school or work because of drinking?
  • Do you think you should reduce your alcohol intake?

Recovering From An Addiction To A Person

Recovery 7 What makes an addict

If you are struggling with this type of addiction, it can be helpful to reach out to a psychologist or counselor who specializes in this area.

If you are struggling with codependency, you can find local support on the Psychology Today therapist search engine.

If you are interested in trying online counseling, visit BetterHelp.com. Their main benefit is lower costs and high accessibility through their mobile app.

If you want a free trial, complete their online application here, then select the option stating you are unable to afford counseling, before entering your payment information.

As a BetterHelp affiliate, I may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.

A key area to consider when recovering from codependency is asking yourself this simple question: What do I want?

Getting clear on your values allows you to regain your own sense of purpose, building a sense of independent identity. Ive written about values in my article on How to Stop Living in Your Head, where I share an exercise used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy :

If you find yourself drawn to valuing compassion, it is important to also consider whether or not your attempts to help others are genuinely compassionate.

My article, When Does Helping Become Enabling? takes a deep dive into the dynamics of helping vs. enabling, allowing you to better understand how to truly express compassion when trying to help someone.

Read Also: Why Do People Become Addicted

Traits Of People With High Risk Of Developing Addiction

Nevertheless, there are traits that can be recognized in people who have a higher risk of becoming addicted to psychoactive substances rather than just being able to moderate behavior around these types of substances. People with this higher addiction risk include those who are:

  • Related to others who have developed addiction
  • Experiencing other mental health disorders
  • Adventurous and risk-taking

A more thorough discussion of each of these traits is explored below.

The Most Common Characteristics Of Addiction

Some of the most common characteristics of addiction include:

1. The individual cannot stop taking the substanceOftentimes, such as with alcohol or drug dependence, a person has seriously attempted to give up their addiction at least once, though unsuccessfully.

2. Health problems do not stop their addictionThe person keeps taking the substance as usual, despite having developed illnesses connected to it. For example, an alcohol addict may keep drinking even after finding out they have a liver disease.

3. Giving up recreational and/or social activitiesAddiction can cause some people to give up or not become involved in activities. For example, an internet addict may choose not to go camping if they know they wont have internet access. Likewise, an alcoholic may avoid long trips where they know they will not have access to alcohol.

4. Keeping a steady supplyIndividuals who are addicted to a substance will always have enough of it around, regardless of the amount of money they have to ensure that they have a good supply readily available.

5. Saving stashesAddicted people tend to keep small stashes of their substance hidden away in various locations, such as throughout their house or in their car.

7. Excessive consumptionWith some addictions, like alcohol and certain drugs, an addict may consume it to excess. This can result in physical symptoms or blackouts, where they cannot remember anything for a certain amount of time.

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They Are Very Likely To Be Engaged In Criminal Acts

This isnt true of every addict, but it is a typical pattern for a person who has been addicted for a considerable time. Eventually, the money runs out. They have pawned or sold everything of value. They owe friends and family money. There are no more assets but the drugs or alcohol have to be obtained.

At this point, many people will begin committing crimes. Selling or manufacturing drugs are common ones. Burglary, robbery, identity theft, credit card theft, car thefts and shoplifting are also common. An employee may steal items from the place of business and pawn or sell them. Someone with access to cash may embezzle from a company. Many people steal items from the homes of family or friends.

When a person is addicted to prescription drugs, the crimes may be a little different. He may visit multiple doctors to get prescriptions for pills or may forge prescriptions. In recent years, there have been more safeguards put in place in most states so that these attempts are less likely to succeed.

Of course, there is driving while drunk or high. Also, some drugs change a persons personality to make him more paranoid or aggressive which can result in assault or domestic violence charges.

And unfortunately, some drugs so deplete a persons sense of self-respect that he or she will turn to prostitution or any degraded activity that will score them their next hit.

Trauma And Alcohol Addiction

What makes a person develop a drug addiction?

Experiencing trauma increases a persons risk of developing alcohol use disorder. This is especially true when the trauma involves violence or assault, including childhood physical and sexual abuse or rape. Those who experienced other types of traumatic events such as floods, fires, natural disasters, accidents, or witnessing harm to someone else also have a higher risk of developing a problem with alcohol.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Midwest Alcoholism Research Center , women with post-traumatic stress disorder have an elevated rate of alcohol dependence.

Women who have experienced traumatic events are far more likely to develop an alcohol addiction. Some estimates show double the risk for these women.

A different study led by the same research team found genetic factors likely play a role, and women with a family history of either PTSD or alcohol use disorder have a higher risk for developing both disorders.

Recommended Reading: How Can You Help Someone With Drug Addiction

Do Not Allow Yourself To Get Sucked Into Volatility

Many substance abusers have a tendency to be argumentative, especially once they see that you are setting boundaries and not willing to accept their addiction. Certain substances themselves tend to make users aggravated. Realize that, if you find yourself in an argument, that you cannot win an argument, and the anger often will escalate. Take the wind out of the sails by refusing to argue. If the addict places blame on you or tries to say that you don’t care for them, sometimes it is better to just put an end to it and walk away instead of arguing and trying to prove that you do, indeed, care. Don’t allow an argument to escalate. Let it go. That is not to say that you should put up with abuse, either simply don’t allow them to bring you into their anger vortex. If you ever suspect that physical violence may occur, do not hesitate to call 911.

What Makes Addiction Grow Worse

Many people metabolize drugs in different ways.

Some people, for example, do not require much alcohol to reach the point of intoxication. Others can seemingly drink vast quantities without feeling intoxicated.

This often relates to a combination of age, gender, body weight, and other factors.

As part of regularly consuming large amounts of a substance, the body may become accustomed to its effects and metabolize it more efficiently. The person may require increased amounts of the substance to achieve the same effect that smaller amounts of the substance used to create.

Medicine generally refers to this phenomenon as tolerance.

When tolerance increases alongside the need to take a substance to avoid withdrawal symptoms, it often indicates the onset of an addictive disorder. If a person does not receive treatment, it can lead to dangerous consequences.

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Put The Yourself As Priority

This is especially important when there are children involved – never allow yourself or your children to be abused or to be exposed to harmful chemicals, toxic smells, or any shifty people who may come around. Your safety and well being comes first. This is where the boundaries come in. Tell the addict that, if they insist on using, they must do it elsewhere.

Who Can Become Addicted To Drugs

What Makes You Alcoholic?

The short answer is that anyone can become an addict. However, there are some factors that can make certain individuals more susceptible than others. Drugabuse.gov states that three of these factors are biology, environment, and development.

Biology and environment go hand in hand, in a way.

According to a study in PubMed Central, Both genetic and environmental variables contribute to the initiation of use of addictive agents and to the transition from use to addiction. Addictions are moderately to highly heritable. Family, adoption and twin studies reveal that an individuals risk tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relativeThe moderate to high heritabilities of addictive disorders are paradoxical, because addictions initially depend on the availability of the addictive agent and the individuals choice to use it.

In other words, addiction can be genetic but is also affected by the environment in which one is raised. If drugs and alcohol are not readily available and are not considered the norm as someone is growing up, they are less likely to begin using the substances.

However, if substance abuse is common in the home they are raised in, they may be more prone to considering it normal and partaking in it themselves, leading to addiction.

This is where development also comes into the picture.

Recommended Reading: How To Get Relief From Drug Addiction

Tips For Overcoming It

If youre working to address compulsive love or relationship behaviors, awareness of how these behaviors affect you is an essential first step.

But, Stringer emphasizes, awareness usually isnt enough. Learning new skills and tools for coping are both necessary parts of behavior change, she explains.

These tips can help you begin creating that change.

How Drugs Affect The Brain

When people begin using drugs, the way the brain functions begins to change.

Drugs have an effect on the way the brain communicates, and they can affect the way nerve cells send, receive, and interpret information.

Drugabuse.gov states that there are two ways this disruption of the brain can happen:

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What Biological Factors Influence Addiction

Biology contributes to addiction in ways beyond genes. How the body metabolizes, or breaks down and eliminates, foreign substances such as drugs or alcohol is heavily dependent on the presence of various enzymes, and they may vary significantly between individuals and even between ethnic groups.

For example, research shows that the Japanese have unique variations of certain alcohol-metabolizing enzymes that are not present in other populations, deterring alcohol consumption and alcoholismbecause it quickly gives rise to uncomfortable body sensations. Biological factors such as enzyme profile can influence the amount of alcohol people ingest, the pleasantness of the experience, harmful effects on the body, and the development of disease.

Behavioral Or Personality Changes That Are Typical In Heroin Addicts

What Makes Someone an Addiction Specialist?

The behavioral changes that a heroin addict displays are fairly obvious. Someone abusing heroin is going to lose a part of their integral character. They will likely change in drastic ways as though theyre going through a personality overhaul in the most negative way. Here are some of the behaviors that can indicate heroin addiction:

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Emotional And Behavioral Symptoms Of Drug Abuse Your Spouse May Be Experiencing

  • Acting Secretively & Suspiciously Spouses will begin to act secretively because they are hiding something. For example, a drug addict husband shows no remorse for the lies he tells. Supporting a partner in addiction can take a lot of patience because youre constantly being lied to. Drug use can cause people to not act as they would normally. In efforts to hide their addiction, they may act more secretive or lie.
  • Lack of Interest in Normal Pastimes & Hobbies You may notice when living with an addict that they stop doing the things they used to do. They lose interest in things that used to matter. When drugs are abused, addicts often give up their normal hobbies like reading, exercising, playing video games, or sports. This is also a big red flag for adolescents who may stop attending their extracurricular activities.
  • Abrupt Mood Swings Your addicted partner will be going through major changes in their life as they get more dependent on their drug of choice. The ups and downs of highs and withdrawals can make someone upset and irritable. If you notice mood swings, anxiety, or unreasonable reactions to events, take note. When dealing with a drug addict spouse, you may find that they are remorseful one moment and on the defense the next. As symptoms of addiction worsen, they will go through more intense withdrawals. This can cause depression, irritability, fatigue, and anxiousness.
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