Most medical practitioners would agree that addiction does not have one solitary cause. Addiction is a complex disorder that starts because of several factors. Mental health problems are one of the main factors for addiction. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 50% of drug addicts suffer from one or more mental health disorders. Users turn to abuse drugs to help with the symptoms. When they take it regularly, addiction can develop.
Drug and alcohol addiction includes abuse to substances such as:
- Opioids, including pain medication prescriptions
Habits are often mistaken for addiction. But there is a big difference, people take control of their habits and chooses their habits. Giving up their habit takes time but does not have any connection with the same neurological and psychological changes which controls addiction.
The Physical Nature of Addiction
Substances that cause addiction can physically alter the parts of the brain which are associated with memory, motivation, and reward. Repetitive use behavior of these substances can develop into addiction.
Alcohol and drug addiction can affect these brain areas:
- Anterior Cingulate Cortex
- Basal Forebrain
- Nucleus Accumbens
Almost most forms of addiction interfere with the interaction of neurotransmitters and the function of the brain chemical. This is especially true in the memory areas and reward system of the brain. Because of the physical nature of drug addiction, it takes time and continuing efforts to overcome the disorder. Discontinuing the use of the addictive substances can lead to intense withdrawal symptoms which include headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
How addiction affect the brain
Addiction can also cause changes in several nerve cells in the brain like neurons. These neurons use natural chemicals referred to as neurotransmitters to communicate. Unfortunately, these changed in the brain can stay even after the users cease using the drug. The most common factors that can trigger addiction include:
- Growing up in a household with substance abuse history
- Elevated Stress Levels
- Severe Trauma and/or Injury
- Mental health conditions, particularly as mood disorders like chronic anxiety and depression
- Psychological trauma, especially after loss of a loved one or extreme loneliness
Like most mental health illnesses, there are several factors that can contribute to the development of drug addiction. Two of the main factors are environment and genetics.
The environmental factors include the behavior, attitudes, and belief of the one’s family. When parents do not educate their children about drug addiction, their children will think addiction is acceptable. This attitude often results in a higher risk of substance abuse. Peer pressure also plays an important role for drug use. This is especially true for teenagers. They will hang out with friends and will do anything to fit in. If some of the people in the group take drugs or drink alcohol, it is very probable that someone will fall into the habit. Also, peer pressure holds a very strong force to coerce someone to experiment things they would not do on their own.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, genetics make up 50% of the development of addiction. Biological make-up of a person may delay or speed up the progression of the disorder. However, a person who has a family history of addiction does not ensure them of the same disorder.
There are also underlying causes of addiction:
Users who suffer from bipolar disorder, depression anxiety, and other mental disorder may turn to substance abuse to relieve their problems. Alcohol and other illicit drugs can temporary make them feel ‘normal’. It is difficult for users to go to a professional and seek help, more so if they confess their emotions to their loved ones. They turn to addiction as a way to solve forget and ‘solve’ their problem on their own.
People turn to substance abuse to ‘get rid’ of stress
People think an occasional drink after a day’s hard work just to relax. However, over time this behavior can lead to tolerance, this means users need to drink more alcohol get the same ‘relaxing’ feeling. A seemingly innocent one glass of wine can easily balloon to one bottle of wine per serving. This condition will soon lead to dependency then turn into an addiction.
People turn to drugs to escape from hurtful memories
Numerous people had experienced very traumatic events in their life like an abusive partner or a sexual assault experience. They turn to drugs to escape or temporarily forget these unpleasant memories. Children are very susceptible to physical and emotional trauma. These horrible experiences can disturb them into their adulthood. Instead of going to a psychologist, they misuse addictive substance to go through their ‘normal’ life.
Boredom often leads people into trying drugs
Boredom sometimes pushes people to try using drugs or drinking alcohol to get the feeling of ‘excitement’. However, their behavior will do more harm than good, as it can easily develop into addiction. Teens and young adults usually fall under this reason, since they do not carry responsibilities of paying bills, jobs and other daily stressors. They see substance abuse as a way to escape their world and enter their altered reality.
People think that a legitimate prescription is acceptable to use
Most people think that a prescription from a medical practitioner is safe to use. When they know someone who suffers ‘similar’ symptoms of their sickness, they often use the same drug. This is a very dangerous mentality as they can experience the adverse effect of the drug, or they might accidentally combine it with another drug. The latter can result in drug dependency or worst to a drug overdose.
Prescription drug can generate drug dependency and lead to addiction
People who suffer from moderate to severe pain often see a doctor to get a prescription from the pain. These people may have pre-existing injuries while others get injured. Unfortunately, painkiller drugs can produce drug dependency. Over time, people need to get more of the drug to function normally. Most of the time, users take more of the drug get the same effect or continue to take the drug long after the prescription is over.
People seek out the feelings of euphoria
Users get hooked on drugs and other illicit substances because of the ‘high’ feelings it generates. They continue to seek the experience and will create a continuous cycle. One of the challenges to treating addiction is because of this reason. Prolonged heavy use of addictive substances often requires a long period of medical treatment. It may seem difficult to break addiction but with proper treatment and support from loved ones it remains possible. As detox is one of the effective ways out there, it is best to have the best source of information and Detox of South Florida is committed to offer help. Check out this Orlando Detox playlist