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What Contributes to Drug Addiction

Written on: June 29th, 2009 By:

What Contributes to Drug Addiction?

Physicians, psychologists and scientists alike have conducted numerous studies to determine what contributes to drug addiction and alcoholism in an attempt to find a cure. Studies have taken into account genetics, environment, social conditioning, childhood abuse and/or trauma to determine why one individual may become addicted while another does not. While there is no concrete evidence suggesting that any one factor is more dominant than another, there are a series of traits that have been identified as contributing to drug addiction and alcoholism. The following traits combine to make up an addictive personality:

While genetic predisposition is considered a factor in alcoholism, there is not as much convincing evidence to indicate that drug addiction is a result of genetics. Environmental factors such as exposure to drug use at an early age by family members may heavily influence an individual’s propensity toward alcoholism and drug addiction.

Mood disorders contributing to emotional imbalance and sensitivity may heighten the need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. A high percentage of people who struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction have underlying mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder. People who have co-occurring disorders such as alcoholism coupled with bi-polar disorder are termed “dual diagnosis.”¬† This emotional imbalance prompts them to self-medicate in order to balance out the highs and lows associated with chemical imbalance in the brain. Not surprisingly, people saddled with this diagnosis are often found to be emotionally sensitive and chart high in the realm of artistic intelligence.

Antisocial personality may contribute to drug addiction and alcoholism. People who are nonconformists within the dictates of society and isolate themselves socially may be more likely to struggle with addiction. Inability to maintain intimate relationships and feel comfortable in social situations can add to a sense of isolation and encourage alcoholism and drug addiction.

Propensity for instant gratification. Our society encourages immediate gratification by consumption from an early age. The right jeans, the right car, a new pill, a new relationship – all of these attempt to fix dissatisfaction from the outside in. Delaying gratification in order to achieve long-term goals often proves difficult for people with addictive personalities because they want to feel good “right now” rather than do the work necessary for a long-term pay off.

Propensity for instant gratification may lead to compulsive behavior.¬† People with addictive personalities may engage in black and white thinking, taking an all or nothing approach to life. They’re either a failure or a success. The inability to live in shades of gray and take life in stride may contribute to emotional highs and lows they seek to balance out with drugs and alcohol.

Low self-esteem or a general sense of insecurity can often contribute drug addiction and alcoholism as people struggle to feel a sense of belonging. Drugs and alcohol may give them this sense of ease and confidence they don’t have without it.

Finally, childhood or adult abuse or trauma can contribute to drug addiction and alcoholism as an individual seeks to escape painful memories or emotions through drugs and alcohol. Repressing these emotions rather than working through them can lead to a host of ailments and retard emotional growth and maturity.

At SouthCoast Recovery, we address all these factors that contribute to drug addiction with individual clinical therapy and one-on-one drug and alcohol counseling sessions. Drug and alcohol treatment stands a better chance at long-term success if the underlying psychological and behavioral issues are addressed in relation to an individual’s drug and alcohol use. Our clinical therapist has 47 years experience in the diagnosis and treatment of underlying disorders associated with alcoholism and drug addiction, and our counselors are all certified as well as members of CAADE. Call today to discuss how we can help you or a loved one overcome problems with drugs and alcohol at our residential drug rehab facility in Dana Point, California.


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