Understanding The Root Cause Of An Addiction

People who haven’t suffered from addiction often mistakenly believe 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.

In many cases, an underlying problem causes an individual to become addicted to drugs and or alcohol. These underlying problems are known as the “root causes of addiction.”

There are many factors that go into the development of an addiction, however, some of the most common include traumatic experiences, depression, and anxiety.

If you want to better your understanding of what causes addiction and relapse, keep reading! We will discuss the reasons why rehabilitation is much more effective than quitting by yourself, without the necessary tools and support to get sober.

The Importance of Understanding the Root Causes of Addiction

Learning the underlying causes of drug and alcohol addiction is important for many reasons. This knowledge can understand why people begin using addictive substances in the first place, and why they continue to go back despite the destructive effects this abuse can have.

Knowing what causes a substance use disorder to develop in the first place can help you develop a clear understanding of why people continue their addictive behaviors and relapse without professional treatment and support.

In understanding these reasons, you can begin to grasp why seeking professional rehabilitation services will be far more effective than trying to overcome your addiction issues on your own.

When you take time to learn about this horrible disease and the root cause that contributes to it, you’re better able to help yourself or a loved one resist the temptations that cause a relapse. This is perhaps one of the best things you can do to remain clean and sober.

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Root Causes of Addiction: Mental Illness

For many people struggling with an addiction, their substance abuse likely began as a coping mechanism for underlying mental health issues. In many cases, drug abuse began as a response to a crisis, whether it was sexual abuse, physical abuse, or other forms of distress.

In fact, most addiction treatment programs will specialize their recovery approach to address the needs of individuals recovering from co-occurring disorders and past traumas.

There are several mental health disorders that can cause individuals to turn to drug or alcohol abuse, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Their substance abuse can be a crutch for dealing with childhood trauma, having experienced a traumatic event, or otherwise needing to take the edge off of their unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

Unfortunately, while it can be tempting to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol – especially with the latter being widely accepted socially – these substances will ultimately do far more harm than good.

Root Causes of Addiction: Family History

Root Causes of Addiction, Family History

In addition to mental illness, there are several other factors that can go into a person’s risk of developing an addiction. In some cases, individuals may have a genetic predisposition to substance abuse.

Those with a family history of addiction may be more likely to develop these addictive habits themselves. Of course, while there is certainly an increased risk, this does not mean the individual is automatically destined to begin abusing drugs or alcohol.

With that being said, understanding the common underlying causes of addiction and how your family tree might influence your own behaviors can help you avoid potentially triggering or tempting situations and habits. This knowledge can also help with building better family ties, as well as healthy relationships down the road.

Root Causes of Addiction: Stress & Peer Pressure

Just as early trauma can influence a person’s likelihood of abusing drugs or alcohol, so too can repeat exposure to stressful and negatively influential circumstances.

For example, dealing with a high-pressure work or school environment can lead individuals to start abusing certain substances as a form of stress relief or performance enhancement.

Peer pressure can also push someone to begin abusing dangerous substances, especially when it comes to younger individuals.

Compared to other root causes of addiction, this may be easier to avoid by talking to trusted adults and family members and educating oneself on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. This, of course, does not mean it should be taken any less seriously.

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The Dangers of an Increased Drug Tolerance

Now that you understand the main causes of addiction, it is important to learn about why it is so difficult to stop your substance abuse on your own, and what can happen if these habits are left unchanged.

The high a user feels when they first start abusing their favorite drug is inexplicably intense. Users experience feelings of energy, euphoria, calm, or relaxation, depending on which substances they choose to use.

However, as this abuse rages on, their brain and body become accustomed to it as it builds up a tolerance to the substance. This means the user will require ever-increasing quantities of their drugs or alcohol to feel that first-time high feeling.

In fact, those struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction will spend the remainder of their time with this disease trying to re-create that same feeling they so loved the first time.

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

Whenever the user steps up that amount, they become ever closer to overdose. This is a dangerous game and one that can lead to significant damage to the individual’s physical and mental health.

Dependence Develops from Substance Abuse

Dependence Develops from Substance Abuse

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.

Even in the case of psychological addictions, or those that originate in behaviors, there can be physical discomfort that comes along with reducing drug use or abrupt cessation of the substance (or behavior).

Although the stereotypical addictive personality doesn’t dictate the development of a use disorder, it can mean that some people feel the effects of addiction more readily and are more susceptible to future issues.

If the user doesn’t use their drug of choice regularly, they start to feel the symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include feeling anxious, chills, throwing up, or even death. These sick feelings make it difficult for users to quit.

Every time a user tries to detox cold turkey, they feel the symptoms rather quickly. These may also be accompanied by intense cravings for the abused substance, which can be difficult to ignore.

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.

Important information: Detox alone cannot fix an addiction. Individuals struggling with substance abuse should seek long-term care to address the underlying cause of their addiction.

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The Basics on Withdrawal & Relapse

Once a user completes the detox process, feelings of uneasiness usually remain. The person must address the root cause of addiction in order to live a sober life

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

Without drugs, they may have no idea what to do with themselves. 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 of a rehabilitation center for 30 or more days followed by a long-term program.

This is where individuals learn the necessary life skills, coping mechanisms and stimulating activities needed to address the root cause of addiction and fulfill their unmet needs to live a sober life.

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 and comprehensive treatment plans can also help minimize the chance of relapse.

Drug Sensitization and the Importance of Ongoing Care

Getting continued support after a first bout of treatment can be a big deal when making sure you stay clean and sober. This is because a user’s body becomes desensitized to the drug of choice after a stretch of time being sober.

If they relapse, they will experience that “first-time high” feeling once again. However, their drug tolerance will be much lower. This triggers a spiral that pulls them back into the cycle of addiction, as well as increases their risk of overdose.

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 if they go back to using a higher dosage.

In many cases, this kind of relapse means death. Each relapse could be a user’s last one. It is for this reason that continuing to seek support and receive ongoing care is so important.

Sharing and Support for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery

Sharing and Support for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery

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 must 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 them stay accountable during their recovery. The Find Addiction Rehabs team can help connect you with treatment services today!

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Find Help for Your Drug or Alcohol Addiction Today!

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and is ready to get the help needed to stop using, help is available. The Find Addiction Rehabs hotline is available 24/7 to help connect you with recovery resources and treatment centers nationwide.

The only person who can make the decision to get clean is you. The recovery journey can be a long and difficult one, but it will ultimately be worth the effort when you are able to achieve a happier, healthier, and substance-free lifestyle!

Drug addiction is a dangerous game, and several factors contribute to it. If you’re ready to stop playing this game, please give us a call at Find Addiction Rehabs for help today!