Drug Addiction Underlying Causes

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Drug Addiction Underlying Causes

What are some of the underlying causes of drug addiction?

When we take drugs, either for medical purposes or recreation, there is a benefit or reward that we are trying to achieve.

For example pain medication is intended to bring relief to an injured or stressed area of our body. The beginning stages of drug addiction causes us to crave more and to use more.

The unintended consequences of that is our need to take more and more of the drug to get the same result.

Drug addiction causes the pathways inside the brain to be altered. Physical changes in the nerve cells are brought on by the drug. These cells (neurons) communicate with each other releasing neurotransmitters into the gaps or synapses between the nerve cells. This makes some drugs are more addictive than others.

There are several other factors that contribute to drug addiction. We’ll go into greater detail on another page, but for now the major factors are one’s genetic makeup, personality and peer pressure. Again we’ll explain these as we go along.

Drug addiction causes and is caused by many problems including:

Drug Addiction Underlying Causes

- Unhappiness

- Crime

- Divorce

- Major illness

- Even death

What Are The Risk Factors?


Drug Addiction Underlying Causes: Genetic/Inherited

We are all a product of our parents. If your parents have addiction struggles, chances are you are more susceptible to addiction. That’s why drug addiction is more common in some families than in others. If your parents smoke, chances are good you will smoke. If your parents used alcohol, you’ll probably follow and use that drug in much the same way. If your father was an alcoholic, you have a predisposition to abusing that drug.

Drug addiction causes one generation to pass it on to the next.

Drug Addiction Underlying Causes: Personality

Aside from the inherited factors, some people have a personality that is more likely to become drug dependent. 



- People are curious, so that alone can lead a person to try a drug. We experiment and see what happens.

- We are looking to relax and have pleasure.

- We all want to feel good, and we’re by nature impatient. Drugs give us an instant gratification that other things do not, so for that moment or hour of for whatever time-frame, we feel good.

- We want what we want.

- Someone diagnosed with depression, attention deficit disorder, or hyperactivity.

- Maybe there has been some stress, or anxiety in their life. Whatever the case, these are contributing factors.

Even some common personality characteristics, such as aggression, may be a factor. Children who do not have confidence, healthy self-esteem may be prone to turning to drugs to fill the void.

Drug addiction causes negative changes in personality that can lead to an even more destructive behavior.

Drug Addiction Underlying Causes: Peer Pressure/Social

We are all wired to have relationships, and sometimes those relationships cause us to give in to something we otherwise would avoid in order to maintain the relationship. Peer pressure is huge and nowhere is this greater than during our teen-aged years. Kids want to be cool.

It begins as a social action, to take the drugs to be a part of the group, to be accepted. It’s not just teenagers, as peer pressure takes so many different forms. There is social etiquette, for example, to take a drink during a party. “I’m a social drinker.” How many times have you heard that? Some people actually believe that drug addiction causes you to be accepted and part of the 'popular' group.

Drug Addiction Underlying Causes: Easy Access

If you want to get drugs, you won’t have to look far because they are everywhere. High school students can tell you this. Drug addiction causes people to sell drugs to the most vulnerable population, children. It’s not just the stereotypical poor sections of the inner city that serve as the hotbed for drugs. Drugs are found in suburban shopping malls, rural schools, well-to-do private school, on the job in factories, offices and remote job sites.

Race, Ethnicity not a factor or underlying cause

We include this heading because we want to stress that there is no data to support any claim that one race of people or any particular cultural group is more prone to drug addiction than another. Drug addiction is a human problem and crosses all boundaries. Drug addiction causes do not include race.

Drug Addiction Underlying Causes: Loneliness, Depression

We want to feel good physically and emotionally. Sometimes drugs are the substitution for a healthy life experience. The person in pain and they want to numb the pain. The drug numbs the pain and for a moment they don’t feel as poorly. The person needs to escape the pain of the life experience, and for a short while, the drug takes them away and they feel “better.”

Drug Addiction Underlying Causes: Anxiety

Sometimes people need some help coping with life. Everyday life becomes a struggle and simple things become too much to handle. Drugs are used to deal with it. In the case of addiction, we are not talking about the use of medication, under the care and observation of a doctor. People who have been clinically diagnosed with anxiety can lead a very good life. We’re talking here about people who just need to escape. Their drug of choice facilitates that escape.

TAKING SOMEBODY ELSE'S ANTI-DEPRESSANTS?

by Maureen
from South Africa

My son is 34yrs and went through a divorce two years ago and started drinking a lot. He met a lady friend who suffers from bi-polar.


What is happening is that she is giving him some of her antidepressant tablets and her doctor is also prescribing the same tablets for my son.

What bothers me is he has never suffered from bi-polar. Won't he get addicted to these tablets especially taking them with alcohol?


Bad Idea
by: Ned Wicker

Dear Maureen,

Your son is making very bad decisions. Alcohol and anti-depressants to not mix and I am sure if your son's doctor knew about his mixing the two, he would make an adjustment. Perhaps you want to tell him and help your son.

It sounds like he needs help with the drinking first, as that feeds into the other condition. His doctor may want to take another approach. People get into trouble when they try to solve their own medical problems, rather than following the advice of a physician. Your son's actions are not helping him and could potentially kill him.


For more about the underlying causes of addiction please visit our home page.

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8


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