close up of young people smoking cigarettes and drugsAddiction is a brain disease that occurs due to a combination of biological and environmental factors. Although anyone can develop an addiction, some people have a higher risk than others. Medical conditions, family dynamics, traumatic events, drug abuse, and certain living conditions all influence a person’s risk of developing this disease. Keep reading to learn about five of the most common causes of addiction and mental health issues.

1. Genetic Predisposition 

Certain changes in a person’s genes can increase the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol or drug addiction. In some cases, genetic changes make it difficult for an individual to exhibit self-control when presented with an opportunity to use addictive substances. Other genetic changes make a person more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and drugs without detox. It’s possible for someone to have these genetic changes without developing an addiction, but the presence of the changes does indicate an increased risk of compulsive behavior in their decision making which leads to negative consequences.

2. Environment

Addiction runs in families due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people turn to substances to cope with the health conditions of a family member or loved one who abuses drugs or alcohol. Young people exposed to addiction at a young age through peer pressure may have early access to substances or learn from their parents or friends that substance use is a normal part of life. Hence having a drug-free environment is key to living a life free of addiction.

3. History of Trauma

causes of addictionA history of trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the most important causes of addiction. Trauma takes many forms, including sexual abuse, child abuse, child neglect, and sexual assault. Having major surgery or surviving a car accident can also be traumatic, increasing the risk of addiction. People who experience some type of trauma may turn to alcohol abuse or illicit drugs to escape their feelings and numb the pain.

Substance use can also help eliminate feelings of emptiness or provide a chemical rush of dopamine that helps the person feel a temporary sense of happiness. The key to overcoming this is substance abuse treatment or seeking healthcare options that can be provided for you or your loved one.

4. Psychiatric Disorders

People with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, and other psychiatric disorders have a higher risk of addiction than people without these conditions. In some cases, people with psychiatric disorders use alcohol or drugs to control their symptoms. For example, someone with depression may drink alcohol to escape feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Some mental illnesses also reduce a person’s inhibitions and make it difficult to exhibit self-control, increasing the risk of addictive behavior or if prevented, displays withdrawal symptoms.

5. Early Substance Use

Early substance or drug use is one of the most common causes of addiction. Some adolescents turn to alcohol or drugs to help them cope with feelings of inadequacy during their teen years instead of getting treatment programs. According to the science of addiction, others have psychiatric disorders or conduct problems that reduce their self-control and make them more likely to engage in harmful behaviors.

Some people have just one of these risk factors, while others have multiple risk factors that put them at an even higher risk of addiction or other mental health disorders. If addiction has taken over your life, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Call Changing Tides at 252-715-3905 to speak to one of our compassionate treatment professionals. We’ll take these factors into consideration when developing an individualized addiction treatment plan to help you recover.