People that become addicted to drugs or alcohol are often mistakenly seen as lacking willpower or a moral compass. The truth is that substance addiction is a complex disease with many facets that need to be understood if treatment is to be successful. There are many reasons why addiction might occur, including environmental, physical and emotional factors. While the overall picture can be complicated, a basic overview of some of the reasons behind addiction can be helpful in better understanding the addict.
Environmental factors encompass others in the individual’s life that may influence their decision to use. Perhaps the individual grew up in a home where alcohol abuse was the norm or began using due to peer pressure from their friends. Some may have suffered physical or sexual abuse in the past that leads them to begin using.
For some, drug use begins with an injury and develops into an addiction. Individuals will often rationalize this type of drug use, thinking if the medication was prescribed by a physician, it must be okay. Chronic pain may also lead some people to take medications like narcotics over a longer period of time, which can increase the likelihood of addiction.
Substance addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. For some, drug use becomes a way of self-medicating to help them manage the symptoms of their mental disorder. Others may find drug or alcohol use actually exacerbate the symptoms of their mental illness, increasing their risk of becoming addicted.
Substance use may begin as a way to deal with stress, whether the stress of a specific event like a death or divorce, or ongoing stress from juggling multiple obligations. The use of a drug or alcohol may begin as a method of relaxation, which slowly develops into a habit and then an addiction. Although drugs can seem like an effective way of reducing stress, they can become the problem over time.
Boredom is a serious risk factor that leads some people to begin using. This can be particularly true for teens and young adults that still have limited responsibility in their lives. However, even older adults can use boredom as a reason to begin using, particularly those that have retired from their jobs and are having trouble filling their days with productive activities.
No matter what the reason behind addiction, treatment can be successful. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we work with those that want to escape from the chains of substance abuse and addiction. To learn more about our programs, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.