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What causes Drug Addiction?

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Hand imprints on a wall. What causes drug addiction? New Horizons Medical addiction treatment in Massachusetts.

If you or a family member is experiencing drug addiction, you may wonder how the problem came about. Understanding what causes drug addiction may help affected individuals and their families find best treatment pathways to tackle addictive behaviors and regain control of their lives. 

While addiction is a complex issue that affects individuals in different ways, many common factors may help explain why addiction occurs. To help you better understand and overcome addiction, we’ve put together some helpful information about its root causes. 

Need immediate help? Call New Horizons Medical at 888-999-2041.

Outpatient mental health and addiction treatment in Massachusetts.
Outpatient mental health and addiction treatment in Massachusetts.

What genetic factors may influence addiction?

Research shows that genetics can affect a person’s chances of developing a substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives. While it’s difficult to untangle genetics from environmental factors, some people inherit genetic markers that affect their body’s ability to regulate dopamine. Also known as the “feel-good” hormone, high dopamine levels can make a person more impulsive and affect their ability to make rational decisions. For some, such impulsivity can make it difficult to resist certain substances, leading to problems in the long term. 

Having a parent or close relative with a substance abuse disorder doesn’t mean you will struggle with addiction. Awareness of a genetic predisposition can help control the risk. People with addiction issues can learn to avoid self-blame and find motivation to seek treatment.

Environmental influences of addiction

For many people, genetics alone are insufficient to explain their history of addiction. Life experiences and environmental influences tend to play a significant role in sparking and/or worsening addictive behaviors. Common environmental influences impacting addiction include:

Traumatic situations

PTSD is linked to substance abuse, with some using substances to self-medicate after trauma. PTSD can result from various causes, such as physical or sexual assault or losing a loved one. People must seek help for both PTSD and substance abuse to develop healthy coping mechanisms. While substance abuse may seem like a quick fix, it can worsen psychological pain and create a vicious cycle.

Peer pressure

People are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors if their friends do. Group activities foster belonging and connection. Young people are especially susceptible to peer pressure, making them more likely to take substances they otherwise wouldn’t. 

A turbulent childhood

People who grow up around conflict or dysfunctional family dynamics sometimes use drugs and alcohol to cope with stress. Common triggers of maladaptive coping mechanisms include parental divorce, childhood neglect, physical or emotional abuse, and overly strict parenting styles. 

People tend to engage in behaviors that are culturally acceptable or stylish. For example, someone might drink more alcohol in a culture that encourages binge drinking. Similarly, people may use certain drugs if they are portrayed as trendy or sophisticated in movies or TV shows.

What are the psychological causes of addiction?

PTSD is linked to addiction and can cause or worsen substance abuse issues. Other mental health disorders are also connected to drug addiction, as people often seek temporary relief from distress through substance misuse. However, this coping mechanism is very dangerous and can worsen mental health conditions. Disorders that increase the risk of drug addiction include depression, anxiety, ADHD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Ready to take control over addiction?

If you’re looking for effective and compassionate solutions to drug addiction for you or a family member, New Horizons Medical is here to help. We designed our outpatient addiction services to provide personalized, judgment-free support and treatment tailored to your history and needs. Don’t let addiction control your life – contact us today to book a consultation and start your recovery journey. Call New Horizons Medical at 888-999-2041!

Outpatient mental health and addiction treatment in Massachusetts.
Outpatient mental health and addiction treatment in Massachusetts.

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