Causes for Addiction

The causes of addiction are not rooted in moral failings, but rather a more nuanced perspective. People who haven’t suffered from addiction often mistakenly believe that it’s an easy on and off switch controlled through sheer willpower. They think anyone could quit with just a touch of self-control. Unfortunately, addiction is a complicated disease.

Learn these four root causes of addiction. They’ll aid your understanding of why relapse happens—usually from lack of treatment and support. These root causes are the reasons why rehabilitation is so much more effective than quitting alone.

When you take time to learn about this horrible disease, you’re better able to help your loved one resist the temptations that cause a relapse. This is perhaps the kindest thing you can do in your effort to help them remain clean and sober.
Example of the Cause of Addiction through Benzodiazepines | Increased Tolerance | Find Addiction Rehabs | Demonstration of benzodiazepine tolerance

Causes of Addiction – Increased Drug Tolerance

The high a user feels when they first start abusing their favorite drug is inexplicably intense. Users experience feelings of energy, euphoria, calming, or relaxation. That depends on which drugs they choose.

However, as drug abuse rages on, their body becomes accustomed to it as it builds up a tolerance to the substance. This means the user will require ever-increasing quantities of their drug to feel that first-time high feeling.

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In fact, drug abusers will spend the remainder of their active addiction trying to re-create that same feeling they so loved the first time.

Every time they step up the amount of drug, they might get close to that same feeling, but they quickly develop a tolerance for that increased amount. Then they increase the amount of drug amount again, following that same addictive cycle.

Whenever the user steps up that amount, they become ever closer to overdose. It’s a dangerous game.

Causes of Addiction – Substance Dependence Develops

A user’s body increasingly depends on the drug of choice more and more as time drags on.

In the long run, the user’s body can’t function any longer without the drug.

If the user doesn’t use regularly, they start to feel the symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include feeling anxious, the chills, throwing up, or even death. These sick feelings make it difficult for users to quit. Every time a user tries to stop using cold turkey, they feel the symptoms rather quickly.

Some users try to wean themselves off, using just enough to see them through the sickness. Inevitably, this doesn’t work. The cycle repeats itself, and the user picks up again.

Luckily, doctors can prescribe medications to help make withdrawal more comfortable. The medicine provided at a certified detox center or rehab center, combined with housing in a supportive, clinical environment, is the only safe way for a user to quit.


Once a user completes the detox process, feelings of uneasiness usually remain. The person must learn how to live a sober life.

Their feelings will likely include depression, anxiety, boredom, fatigue, and uncertainty. It makes sense. Before detoxing, their live revolved around finding, buying, and using their drug.

Without drugs, they literally do not know what to do. This feeling of dysphoria is a common cause of relapse.

This is the reason that those who quit successfully have often done so with the help a rehabilitation center for 30 or more days followed by a long-term program.

Once they leave their program, they attend therapy (individual and group) and 12-step program meetings. They are learning to live their lives without being on drugs. A strong network of supportive people minimizes the chance of relapse.


A user’s body becomes desensitized to the drug of choice after a stretch of time in which they stayed clean. If they relapse, they will experience that “first-time high” feeling once again. However, their drug tolerance is lower. This triggers a spiral that pulls them back into the cycle of addiction. This is also a dangerous period for a person trying to recover.

Before they quit, they had increased their drug use to get that high. Because their body was clean for a period, it’s no longer accustomed to the drug. This increases the likelihood of overdose.

In many cases, this kind of relapse means death. Each relapse could be a user’s last one.

Sharing the Addiction Tree

Dual Diagnosis Treatment | Causes of Addiction | Find Addiction Rehabs | Woman discussing addiction with her therapistNearly all substance abusers must have professional help to kick the habit. They need much more than that to quit abusing. The causes of addiction are complex.

Virtually every substance abuser needs help to start the process of healing. It’s more complicated than the well-meaning advice of friends and loved ones to “just stop using.” Abusers must learn how to replace drugs with something positive in their lives. Additionally, they must develop improved coping skills. They much have support from professionals and a long time to heal.

On top of all that, many substance users are diagnosed with mental illnesses during rehab. These illnesses could have caused their pattern of addictive behavior, and these are addressed in rehab and therapy.

In fact, because mental illness can be a root cause of addiction, treating that illness will help them beat the odds during recovery. Trained clinical specialists must be in charge of this treatment.

Finally, people in recovery need a reliable circle of family members to help stay accountable during their recovery.

Drug addiction is a dangerous game. If you’re ready to stop playing it now, please give us a call for help.

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