It can be difficult for those who have never struggled with substance abuse to understand what happens when their loved ones become addicted to drugs or alcohol. After all, plenty of people can have one drink or try drugs once without experiencing addiction. This article will offer an introduction to the primary drivers behind substance abuse in an effort to combat the misconceptions surrounding addiction.
Experimenting with drugs at a young age changes how the brain responds to those substances. Many adolescents and young adults begin to experiment with drugs and alcohol because it seems like the “cool” thing to do without considering the potential consequences. The more they use their drugs of choice, the more it changes their brains and bodies and the more likely they are to become addicted either at the time or later in life. For those who are already struggling with addiction, harrishousestl.org can help.
While the decision to try drugs for the first time is typically voluntary, a person’s response to it is conditioned by his or her biology. People’s genetics affect everything from how they process pleasure and rewards to how they metabolize different substances, which means some people are more genetically predisposed to developing a substance abuse disorder. In fact, research performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that between 40 and 60 percent of addiction risk is determined by genetics.
The nature versus nurture debate is frequently complicated by the prevalence of drug or alcohol use among family members living together. Even someone who is not genetically predisposed to addiction can wind up struggling with substance use after internalizing experiences of watching family members make similar mistakes.
Comorbid Mental or Emotional Disorders
There is a strong correlation between substance abuse and underlying mental health problems. Around half of all people suffering from severe mental disorders also abuse drugs or alcohol and more than half of drug addicts also have at least one underlying mental health condition. It’s important for people struggling with both drug abuse and mental health disorders to seek treatment at a facility capable of providing both addiction counseling and mental health treatment.
Not all people who abuse drugs started out using them recreationally. Some prescription drugs, including opioids and benzodiazepines, frequently lead to addiction when prescribed for prolonged periods of time. Unfortunately, not all doctors follow experts’ recommendations regarding the long-term use of these drugs, which can lead their patients to become addicted.
Everyone deals with traumatic experiences differently. For some people, drugs or alcohol seem like an easy way to alleviate symptoms without having to seek professional care, but that kind of thinking can quickly escalate to full-blown abuse. Like those with comorbid mental health conditions, addicts who use drugs or alcohol to cope with past trauma should find a rehab facility with trained therapists on-hand who can help them work through their experiences and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
The Bottom Line
No one wakes up in the morning and decides to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction is a serious disease that impacts both brain function and behavior, but it can be treated. Those who want to get clean and sober and move on with their lives should look into structured sober living homes that can help. It’s the best way to raise the chances of long-term success.