Discovering a loved one is struggling with addiction problems can be a shock. If the person had seemed intelligent, in-control, and responsible, what could have made them fall victim to this disease? And for addicts, it can be frustrating that they became addicted to a substance that they have seen others use without suffering the same fate. For both situations, knowing why this happens can go a long way towards understanding addiction and can guide a family towards determining how to best conduct a drug intervention.
For some, substance addiction is simply in their genes. People with family histories of addiction should be vigilant in their own lives to avoid abusing drugs or alcohol. The genetic factor is especially notorious with alcoholism. A child of an alcoholic is many times more likely to become an alcoholic than a child of non-alcoholic parents. This is such a powerful factor that over half of all alcoholics have a history of the disease in their family. People in this situation have to constantly keep on their guard around alcohol, even if they’ve never abused before—the knowledge of the risk factors is serious enough.
People with mental illness are also at an increased risk of addiction than healthy people. This correlation has led to the popularization of “dual diagnosis” among treatment providers, where mental illness and addiction are diagnosed and treated simultaneously. People with manic or depressive disorders are especially susceptible to addiction, with the temptation to self-medicate often spelling their own downfall.
A dangerous social environment can be one of the causes of addiction. Maybe a person’s coworkers are heavy drinkers and goad the person into drinking with them in order to bond. Maybe someone’s friend recreationally uses narcotics on occasion and thinks that if they can use it without becoming addicted, so can their friend. In any case, an addict may have fallen to the disease because they were pushed into substance abuse by their surroundings, and were unlucky enough to become addicted.
The Ridge’s compassionate staff can direct you to the best drug intervention resources. Click here to learn more.
Even something as simple and ever-present as stress can be a major contributor to the development of an addiction. Studies in animals have shown that the effects of stress on the brain actively increase the chances of addiction. Not only that, the day-to-day stress of a difficult job, unemployment, or a messy divorce can make a person reach out to drugs or alcohol to escape for a while.
For an addict and their family, maximizing the chance that a recovery effort will be successful is a huge priority, and knowing why the patient became addicted in the first place is a great way to do that. The more an addict knows about what caused them to develop the disease in the first place, the easier it will be for them to identify and change those parts of their life.