- The Big Misconception
- What is Addiction?
- What are the Causes of Addiction?
- How Does Genetics Increase the Risk of Addiction?
- How is Addiction a Developmental Disorder?
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Addiction treatment programs are often highly personalized because people experience addiction differently. Behavioral therapy is one of the most important aspects of the treatment process, as it is designed to address the root causes of addictive behavior.
But what exactly are these root causes? How does addiction start? Let’s take a closer look.
The Big Misconception
We’ll start by addressing a huge misconception that many people have about addiction: that it is entirely the person’s choice, and that they can stop any time they want. True enough, even addicted people think it’s just a matter of willpower. They put off recovery because they believe they can quit any time. But this only justifies their addictive behavior—it means that they are still unwilling to seek treatment.
That is because they physically cannot quit. Addiction is more complex than a set of personal or political beliefs. It is a medical condition that has many layers to it. It can be biologically predicted—it can also be due to personal responsibility. It is, in fact, a mixture of both.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is the compulsive need for a certain substance, often drugs or alcohol, and the inability to resist the urge to take it despite already suffering from the physical and emotional consequences. It comprises a series of challenging mental health disorders that are still not fully understood. There are many different causes, and this is what makes the issue so difficult to tackle without professional help.
What are the Causes of Addiction?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA recognizes that there is no single factor that determines a person’s risk for substance abuse and addiction. Based on a great deal of research, however, we can identify a handful of common factors: biology, environment, and development.
Biology refers to all the genetic factors that may affect a person’s risk for substance abuse. There are also a number of physical factors that may come into play, such as gender, ethnicity, health condition, fitness, metabolism, and other factors. According to NIDA, this factor may contribute about 40 to 60 percent of a person’s risk of addiction.
A person’s upbringing, beliefs, and experiences can also influence their attitude towards the use of drugs. Their development and environment play a major role in this. A person’s childhood and adolescence may make substance use more likely to occur early and lead to bigger problems later in life.
A combination of these elements often influences a person’s decision to begin using or abusing addictive substances. And while there is still an element of choice involved, the person’s decision is heavily swayed by these numerous factors.
How Does Genetics Increase the Risk of Addiction?
One of the risk factors for addiction is a family history of substance abuse or other mental health conditions. This demonstrates that genetics has something to do with addictive behavior: the risk of becoming addicted could be passed down through genetic pathways.
However, this is only one part of the equation. In fact, these genetic factors may never even come into play if the person’s environment and upbringing don’t promote the behavior.
How is Addiction a Developmental Disorder?
A childhood home that is chaotic, unstable, or abusive, may cause the person to become more vulnerable to addictive behavior later in life. Other environmental factors include peer pressure, academic stress, financial problems, or constant pressure.
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The day-to-day experiences of each individual should not be discounted. Socioeconomic status, residence, and prevalence of crime in the neighborhood are also known to be contributing factors to the risk of substance abuse.
This means it’s not only your childhood that can create problems for you, but also your life now—your choices, your experiences, and your problems can all give way to something much harder to deal with if you resort to taking drugs as an escape. Some people abuse drugs much later in life and suffer all the same. Do not let stress and every other factor consume you. Addiction is a serious medical condition that requires medical assistance, and a few minutes of euphoria isn’t worth all of it.
If you or someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, look for a rehab facility near you today! Medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way, and professionals can help them address the root causes of their addiction. Get started on the road to recovery today!