Addiction occurs when someone abuses or misuses addictive substances to cope with distressing symptoms and finds they can no longer live comfortably without them.
There are many addictive substances, but the most common addictive supplements in the United States include:
In all of these cases, the probability of someone becoming addicted after their first attempt of using the substance is very high. Though some may believe they are using these substances recreationally, they will often find that when push comes to shove, they are unable to stop.
With this in mind, it is vital to uncover the root of these addictions in order to effectively overcome them. While some people can use these substances recreationally without issue, most will be unable to stop on their own after chronic use.
What Causes Addiction?
The roots of addiction can run deep and are often broken into two categories: traumatic experience and genetic factors.
#1. Traumatic Experiences
There are three main types of trauma:
- Acute trauma: Comes from a single incident
- Chronic trauma: From repeated and prolonged domestic violence or abuse
- Complex trauma: Result of exposure to multiple traumatic events
When a person carries trauma in their background that led them to addiction, it is often because they are trying to dull painful memories. Even recent trauma can drive people to substance abuse. Some trauma is too difficult to talk about, and while some may be able to head straight to a therapist, others see no choice but to turn to substance use.
Often these individuals reach their breaking point and decide to seek treatment. When this happens, they will first go through a general detox process, and their follow-up inpatient and outpatient therapies will be specifically tailored to their situation. For people with traumatic backgrounds, there is always the fear that when they are finally able to achieve sobriety, they will suddenly have a mountain of memories resurface. This is to be expected, and an effective program will plan for this.
Those with similar traumatic events in their lives will be placed together in group therapy, where they can find others who relate to them and their background. They will also be provided with individual therapy to hone in on issues that they may not want to discuss in a group but are nonetheless critical for healing.
In many addiction cases where trauma plays a role, there may also be an underlying condition that requires a dual diagnosis. This means that a person not only has a substance abuse issue but also has a mental health disorder. When this is the case, it may exacerbate the condition, requiring medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to improve the individual’s health. Once this has been addressed, it will be easier to treat both the trauma and substance use disorder (SUD) simultaneously.
#2. Genetic Factors
Sometimes people have a predisposition toward certain types of addiction. When genetics play a factor, there is a much higher chance that the individual will seek out substances and become addicted. For their rehabilitation process, therapy will focus primarily on family and how their parents’ and close relatives’ addictions affected the lives of those around them.
Many people in this situation have siblings or even extended family members with the same disorders. Depending on how others have dealt with their own situations, there may be an aversion to certain types of treatment.
Confronting Your Root Causes
If you know someone with a substance use disorder and want to help them, it is crucial to learn their reasons. They may not want to confront their demons, regardless of whether they’re genetic or traumatic. In some cases, if they have both, there may be even more resistance. Remember that confronting the past can be traumatic in itself and may be one of the reasons they turn to substances in the first place.
Consider also that even with the right program, it will take time to fully mine the underlying causes of addiction. With addiction and mental health, there is never an easy fix, and you or a loved one should be willing to dedicate time and motivation to the process. Confronting everything all at once might be too overwhelming for even the strongest of wills, and nobody expects that.
A medical professional may help you set goals for yourself. When you do, it will allow for the segmentation of ideas. This means that you will be able to take your issues and cut them into digestible pieces. This way, you can attack each piece that makes up the whole. It is important that through this process, you find a therapist that meets your needs and understands how slow you need to go.
Your reasons for addiction may be different from others, but remember that you are not alone. Many people have gone through trauma and still, others have genetics against them. The more you explore, the better equipped you will be to cope with your reasons.