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
The Physical Nature of AddictionSubstances 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
How addiction affect the brainAddiction 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
Environmental factorsThe 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.
GeneticsAccording 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:
People turn to substance abuse to ‘get rid’ of stress
People turn to drugs to escape from hurtful memories
Boredom often leads people into trying drugs
People think that a legitimate prescription is acceptable to use
Prescription drug can generate drug dependency and lead to addiction
People seek out the feelings of euphoria