What Causes Addiction?

Addiction is unique to each individual because the formation of an addiction stems from various factors such as genetics, the environment and the positive reinforcement of drug-seeking behavior. By understanding the different factors that play into your addiction, you can better understand why you are compelled to use. Seeking personalized inpatient treatment will further assist you in freeing yourself from this behavior.

Genetics

An individual’s genetic make-up can predispose them to certain addictive behaviors, but genes are certainly not deterministic. Research has suggested, for example that if the parent suffers from addiction, then the child is 8 times more predisposed to developing an addiction. Further, studies have concluded that certain differences, such as nicotine receptor mechanisms, can be inherited from a parent. This inheritance results in differences in nicotine tolerance levels between children of non-smokers and smokers.

 

The Environment

Alcohol, drug and other substance abuse is a learned behavior. An individual’s environment is crucial to the formation and continuation of an addiction. Social circumstances such as drug availability, drug cost and acceptability of use are imperative in determining the chances of becoming addicted to a substance. Simply put, if the drug is not available then you can never become an addict to it. Using the same logic, if you continue to surround yourself with people that use, then it will be much harder to recover. One of the largest risk factors for drug abuse is surrounding yourself with peers who accept and engage in drug use themselves.

 

Reinforcement

Addiction can be seen as a series of events where the user experiences pleasurable effects after taking a drug, reinforces the behavior and ultimately rewires the brain to take the drugs compulsively. Initially, the user takes the drugs voluntarily and specifically for the hedonic and euphoric effects. Every time you use again, you strengthen and reinforce the belief that the drugs are both positive and rewarding to consume. Our brains have been evolutionarily designed to seek behaviors associated with reward and pleasure, and our brains begin to adapt and change to habitually seek out the drug.

Treatment

Seeking treatment can help you to individually identify what drives you to use and assist you in changing your behaviors and environments to strengthen your recovery. Inpatient treatment centers are equipped to support you at all times and focus your attention on rehabilitation.

Understanding who is vulnerable to addiction and under what circumstances will further increase our ability to rehabilitate and recovery those suffering from addiction. The goal is to have everyone live an addiction-free, healthy and happy life. Regardless of what drives your addiction, recovery and rehabilitation are possible to achieve.

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