The Root Causes of Addiction

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The Root Causes of Addiction

Understanding the Root Causes of Addiction

Understanding how to best help yourself or support a loved one with dependency first requires expanding your knowledge of the possible causes of addiction.

An estimated 10% of Americans will battle drug use disorder at some point in their lives.1 The more alarming statistic is that of the roughly 23 million people who battle addiction, only one-quarter of them will receive any form of treatment.1 For the remaining millions of husbands, wives, coworkers, and friends who will never receive the support they need, the likelihood of them overcoming their battle with addiction grows slim.

What is Addiction?

While someone with a dependency issue may have their family or friends diagnose them as addicts, substance use disorder is actually a professional medical diagnosis. That diagnosis is based on a list of symptoms like craving, withdrawal, lack of control, and adverse effects on personal and professional responsibilities.1

Medical professionals rate drug use disorder by severity – mild, moderate, and severe – using the number of qualifying symptoms an individual displays.1 An individual must display two of the qualifying eleven symptoms to receive a substance use disorder diagnosis.1

Researchers estimate 10% of Americans battle substance use disorder, but far more have a family member or close friend with an addiction problem. Just under half (46%) of U.S. adults say they have a family member or close friend with a current or past substance use disorder.2 Even more than that classify drug addiction as a problem in their community. A Pew Research Center survey reveals 90% of people who live in rural American admit drug addiction is either a minor or major problem for their community. Similarly, 87% of residents in urban areas and 86% in suburban areas classify addiction as a community problem.3

Signs of Addiction

Being able to recognize symptoms can help you understand the causes of addiction. Evaluate your behavior or that of a loved one against these signs of drug addiction as defined by WebMD4:

  • Continued use of a prescription drug after it’s no longer needed for the original cause
  • Higher amount of the substance is required to achieve the same effect (increased tolerance)
  • Physical symptoms like shakiness, stomach pains, sweating, or headaches when not on the substance 
  • Discontinuing drug use seems impossible even if the desire to stop exists
  • A large amount of time is spent thinking about using, obtaining, or the effects of a substance
  • Isolation occurs as interest is lost in once-enjoyed hobbies or past-times
  • Gradual withdrawal from friends and family
  • Atypical, dangerous behavior occurs while on the substance
  • Physical changes like bloodshot eyes, bad breath, weight fluctuation, or shaking occur

Substance use disorder occurs over time, typically after an introductory drug or alcohol use. Being aware of behavioral changes in yourself or a loved one will help you recognize the signs of addiction.

Causes of Addiction

Drug experts have a long-running debate about the causes of addiction. While substance or alcohol use may be voluntary at first, consuming the substance becomes mandatory with addiction. The result is that the person’s brain reward circuitry changes with continued drug use. 

When a person uses a drug or consumes alcohol, their brain produces large amounts of dopamine. That continuous euphoric feeling is the high that many people chase, and over a prolonged period, a person must increase the substance use to achieve the same high.

Addiction also inhibits a person’s ability to recognize danger, which is why many substance use disorder patients continue to use drugs amid health challenges and relational deterioration.5

Ultimately, addiction has the power to take over a person’s ability to process emotions, recognize unhealthy behaviors, and produce dopamine due to healthy activities like exercise.

Ways to Treat Addiction

When considering an addiction treatment center in Prescot, Arizona, it’s essential to choose a facility that offers personalized plans for substance use disorder patients. For some, a detox program will be necessary before beginning holistic care or a 12-step program.

For patients who need support overcoming the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges, a dual diagnosis program is necessary. Treating substance use disorder without mental and emotional support will not offer a long-term solution toward sobriety.

At Silver Sands Recovery, our experienced and caring specialists and counselors will create a personalized plan for your situation. Addressing and continuing to treat addiction is a process that may change over time. Our staff understands that as you progress toward a life of sobriety, you may need different types of support.

Contact our team today to schedule a visit or learn more about the various recovery options we offer.


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