No single factor determines whether someone will become addicted to drugs or alcohol. They could have also arrived at addiction because they started abusing substances at an early age or because of the friends they hung around.
There is a series of circumstances and events that drive an individual to take drugs or alcohol and become addicted. Sometimes those events or influences co-occur.
Thus, addiction can be inherited or caused by genetics. Both are perhaps the greatest factors that contribute to someone turning to drugs or alcohol. Environment is another.
Read on to find out more about what addiction is and the factors that cause it, along with professional treatment options.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is a chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry characterized by a person’s inability to abstain from drugs or alcohol or control their behaviors. Addiction is also marked by the presence of cravings and the diminished ability to recognize the problem one may have with their behaviors, interpersonal relationships, and dysfunctional, emotional response.
When someone becomes addicted to a substance, they will often exhibit observable signs and symptoms that are physical, behavioral, and psychological.
One definitive addiction metric is provided by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the principal authority for psychiatric diagnoses published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
The DSM-5 outlines verified and evidenced criteria concerning addiction. According to the manual, if someone displays two of the following symptoms over 12 months, addiction may be present:
In 1978, someone by the name of Tony A. published “The Laundry List,” which listed 14 traits exhibited by an adult child of an alcoholic. The list itself provided substantive evidence that the environment can be an overriding factor in driving addiction and other self-destructive behaviors. Selected items from that laundry list are as follows:
What’s more, many adult children of alcoholics find themselves attracted to individuals who are emotionally unavailable, states Verywell Mind.
One’s environment can be a compelling catalyst for addiction. However, other factors can cause drug or alcohol addiction to bloom. Those factors are biological and psychological, in addition to environmental:
If you suspect that you or a loved one has a substance addiction, then it is critical that you seek professional addiction treatment. While it is typical that people relapse at a rate of 40 to 60 percent, a professional recovery program equips clients with evidence-based treatment, education, and skills to help them conquer addiction.
What’s more, a reputable treatment program offers the support needed for a safe and comfortable recovery process, which is not typically available when someone attempts to quit drugs or alcohol on their own.
Professional treatment begins with medical detoxification, a procedure administered through acute treatment. A medical staff provides around-the-clock care and supervision while addressing any withdrawal symptoms that arise from substance abuse and addiction.
After detox, the next step on the continuum of care is clinical stabilization, which consists of comprehensive therapy and counseling that uncovers the underlying causes of addiction.
Should additional counseling and therapy be needed, there is outpatient care, which provides those services on a part-time basis.
After treatment is completed, clinicians can help you or a loved one get connected to a recovery community that can provide support and mentorship.
Addiction. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/addiction
Drug addiction (substance use disorder). (2017, October 26). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112
Laundry List. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adultchildren.org/literature/laundry-list/
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery