The pain and devastation of drug addiction cuts deep. From interfering with one’s daily functioning to potentially fatal consequences, drug addiction can have many causes and is notoriously difficult to treat in most individuals. Unfortunately, drug addiction exists in every country and every demographic, making it a global and personal issue.
Here are some of the causes of drug addiction. This guide shows that the underlying cause of a drug addiction is too often incredibly challenging to overcome.
Drugs can act as temporary solace from suffering and an escape from stress, relationship troubles, work problems, and the like. If the underlying cause of stress is not addressed, and drugs provide a temporary escape, the incentive is to continue their use indefinitely.
Feeling powerless over one’s future or as if one has morally failed due to a lack of possessions or financial success can feed into drug addiction. For many people, poverty causes guilt, shame, and diminished self-worth.
An inability to overcome poverty and a long-term reinforcement of negative feelings puts someone in an unfortunate position of using drugs as a coping mechanism.
3. Early Use of Drugs
Taking drugs early can cause a young person’s developing brain to change how it processes certain information. It makes them more likely to progress from single drug use to long-term drug addiction. Check them into treatment centers and begin their journey of recovery.
4. Experimental Use
Sometimes, a drug can be so powerful that a single use can turn someone into an addict seemingly instantaneously. This recreational experimental use or use of drugs is one of several possible pathways to addiction.
5. Mental Health Disorder
Certain mental health disorders – i.e. depression, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress disorder – can act as a reason to try, experiment, and regularly use drugs. These individuals’ brains tend to work differently from individuals who lack a similar mental health diagnosis, so they are at an increased risk of developing an addiction.
6. Taking Prescribed Medication
For some, drug addiction may start with taking something prescribed by a medical professional and then being unable to taper down or quit. They may then seek it out from others who have prescriptions or are on the street, beginning on a cycle that may be near-impossible to stop.
7. Intolerable Pain
An inability to cope with physical pain and being under-medicated, or coping with mental pain such as anxiety or depression, makes someone likely to use drugs to feel better. An inability to cope with reality and a lack of access to the resources a person needs to cope more healthily can push someone to use drugs in an unhealthy way and lead them to addiction.
8. Chronic Health Conditions
Individuals struggling with a chronic health condition and not receiving adequate care or support may turn to drugs where they can find basic pleasures. A person may opt to use drugs as a form of treatment or to utilize them as an escape from what can be akin to a personal hell living with a chronic health condition, physical or mental, that is not being correctly treated by Western medicine.
9. Peers Encouraging Drug Use
Environment plays a huge role in whether a person develops a drug addiction. The beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of one’s family and friends, and the exposure or accessibility to drugs, all play a role in initial use and how one’s philosophy on drug use develops over time.
10. Trauma or Abuse in Their Background
A person with trauma, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or mental abuse in or around them, or in their background, may use drugs as a means of taking them away from these very painful thoughts and allowing them to feel pleasure in a way that they may not have found elsewhere.
11. Low Self-Esteem Can Cause Drug Addiction
Low self-esteem can cause drug abuse, as a person takes on behaviours reinforcing their feelings of inadequacy. This type of person may tell themselves that they have little to live for or that their value is little, ignoring the warning signs of drug addiction and proceeding with regular use.
12. Family History and Genetics
Multiple studies suggest that if one has a blood relative with an alcohol or drug addiction, they are at a much greater risk of developing a similar drug addiction. Though it is somewhat undefined, it is assumed, based on research, that drug addiction has a genetic component that can act as a partial cause for why some individuals develop drug addictions and others do not.
13. Physical Dependency Motivates Addiction
The body can develop a physical dependency after someone takes a drug long enough and often enough, especially at higher doses. When one ceases drug use, the body hits the withdrawal button.
The symptoms can range from intense cravings to physical illness, headaches, and sometimes seizures and fatalities. The consequence is needing the drug of choice to ward off withdrawal and continue feeling alright.