4 Things You Didn’t Think Contributed to Addiction

Published On: April 28, 2017|Categories: Addiction|
3 Things You Didn't Think Contribute to Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease that affects countless lives nationwide, with nearly one million Americans suffering from substance use disorder (SUD). With a disease as widespread as SUD, it would cause one to wonder – what are the causes of addiction? Why do some people struggle for years, and others never have to deal with it.

While certain factors such as genetics are known to contribute to addiction, other factors may be more surprising. In order to better understand addiction and arm yourself against any risks, if necessary, it is helpful to know what might trigger an addiction or cause one to form overtime.

Surprising causes of addiction

1. Poverty

Substance abuse is sometimes popularly believed to be more prevalent among financially disadvantaged populations. While a lack of money doesn’t directly cause drug or alcohol abuse, a complex relationship exists between poverty and addiction.

A person living in impoverished circumstances may turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with the stress of their living situation or overall quality of life. People who live in poverty are also likely to have limited access to treatment, making it harder to address a worsening substance abuse problem.

The connection between poverty and substance abuse goes both ways. People who are impoverished are more likely to abuse drugs, and people who struggle with addiction are more likely to end up impoverished. This relationship creates a vicious cycle that can end up affecting multiple generations of families.

2. Trauma

Trauma is a strong risk factor for addiction. One study of women who were undergoing substance abuse treatment showed that over 80 percent of the women had endured a physical or sexual assault in their past.

What’s responsible for the link between trauma and addiction? The psychological effects of trauma can be intense and long-lasting. Substance abuse often serves as a form of self-medication, helping trauma survivors deal with the stress and difficult emotions that stem from their past experiences. Needless to say, addiction used to self-medicate trauma only leads to more complications and is an ultimately ineffective way of recovering.

3. Peer pressure

Most people associate peer pressure with teen substance abuse, but it can be a contributing factor among adults as well. Frequently in cases of adult peer pressure, people feel pressured by the people they work or live with.

For example, if one spouse drinks heavily or uses drugs, the other spouse may end up joining them. The formerly sober spouse may begin using substances as a way to keep the peace and avoid fighting about their loved one’s substance use. These actions may seem harmless at first, but they can quickly develop into a full-blown addiction.

4. An undiagnosed mental health disorder

Those with diagnosed mental health disorders, like PTSD or depression, though in no way guaranteed to develop an addiction, are at an increased risk for developing one. This is because the mental challenges or instability one may feel can lead to substance use as a disordered coping mechanism.

Now, those with an undiagnosed mental health condition are also more likely to cope using substances because the mental illness is undiagnosed and therefore left untreated. Children especially with undiagnosed ADHD are at a very high risk. However, by being aware of the common signs of a mental health disorder, preventative steps can be taken to improve mental health and keep the possibility of addiction low.

Addiction may be unexpected, but treatment is available

There are usually multiple factors at work when someone develops a substance use disorder, and no two cases of addiction are exactly alike. Keep in mind that experiencing the factors that contribute to addiction doesn’t guarantee that a person will develop a problem—an individual may have several of these risk factors and never experience addiction because they take action to counteract the increased risk.

However, it’s also important to remember that addiction is treatable. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, know that effective help is available. With the right treatment, it’s possible to overcome addiction and make a fresh start.

To speak with a mental health professional about addiction, risks or various forms of treatment, call Pyramid Healthcare today at 888-694-9996.

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