What Causes Addiction

What Causes Addiction? Here’s What We Know

Over the years, there have been numerous studies on addiction, what causes it, and how it can best be treated, but we are only scratching the surface on what we know. Addiction is a complex disease characterized by compulsive behaviors, despite negative consequences.

For example, while the decision to experiment with drugs is voluntary, continued drug use is not. The brain undergoes significant changes, making it difficult or even impossible for individuals to stop using drugs. After receiving addiction treatment, individuals are also at a high risk of relapse, in that it takes a while for the brain to recover. 

In today’s digital age, addiction to mobile phones and certain social media apps has become increasingly prevalent. The constant need to check notifications, scroll through feeds, and engage with content can lead to compulsive behavior and a detrimental impact on mental health.

Digital addiction is a type of addiction that can disrupt sleep patterns, decrease productivity, and contribute to feelings of isolation and inadequacy as individuals compare themselves to curated online personas.

There are things that we currently know about addiction, and why are some people more susceptible to it than others. Let us delve deeper and learn more about the causes of addiction.

The Factors That Cause Addiction

No one factor leads to addiction. Instead, it’s a combination of factors that puts a person at a higher risk for addiction. Still, no one is immune to becoming an addict, as addiction does not discriminate.

  • Genes play a significant role in determining our susceptibility to addiction, accounting for about 50% of the risk. Factors such as gender, stage of development, and ethnicity also contribute to addiction risk. Men are more likely than women to struggle with addiction, and individuals with mental illness face a higher risk of substance abuse.
  • A person’s environment includes numerous influences, such as economic status, education level, exposure and access to drugs and alcohol, and parental guidance. Parents who misuse drugs and alcohol or engage in codependent behavior, for example, are more likely to have children with substance abuse problems or addiction issues.
  • Abusing drugs and alcohol at any age can lead to problems, though the earlier it begins, the greater the risk of addiction. This is why experimentation is a problem in teens, as their brains are not fully developed and they can quickly become dependent.

Is There a Way to Prevent or Cure Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease (like diabetes or heart disease) that cannot be cured, but can be managed with proper care. To achieve success, you must make intelligent decisions for the rest of your life.

Depending on your stage of recovery and your triggers, this may include staying away from bars and nightclubs, cutting ties with certain individuals, limiting screen time and treating mental illness.

Prevention programs offered in schools, communities, and churches have been shown to be effective for teens and young adults. It’s also important for families to initiate discussions with children and teens about substance abuse and its connections to addiction from an early stage.

Preventive strategies include:

  • Have regular family time
  • Eat dinners together
  • Include the kids on household chores
  • Limit electronics
  • Practice open communication
  • Know your child’s friends
  • Get rid of all unused pharmaceuticals
  • Encourage extracurricular activities

Addiction can impact anyone, especially during critical stages of brain development, such as adolescence and young adulthood. Therefore, it is crucial to understand why addiction can occur, and how to prevent or recover from it.

Awakenings Treatment Center offers complete dual diagnosis treatment for the mind, body and soul, in Agoura Hills, California. Contact us today to start your journey to healing.