Why Do People Become Addicted? Here Are 2 Major Reasons
Why do some people become addicted and others don't? One of the first theories on this subject can probably be found in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In a section called the "Doctor's Opinion," Dr. William D. Silkworth says that addicts have an allergic reaction to drugs (including alcohol) that causes their brain and body to crave more and more.
When a person begins to use drugs and continues to over some time, they are at a higher risk of becoming addicted.
They usually aren't aware of the exact timeframe that they transition into using the drug because they choose to use the drug due to being chemically dependent on the substance.
Addiction hijacks the brain and tells a person that they need drugs over basic human needs. Since the prefrontal cortex of someone dependent on substances does not work properly, the individual is more susceptible to poor decision-making while they use substances.
The prefrontal cortex helps a person make good decisions. When a non-addict gets a DUI, they can usually stop using on their own. An addict, however, will blame their driving, not the substances, and continue their poor decision-making. Their brains have been hijacked, and they can't afford to look at the truth about their situation because their brains tell them they must use drugs to survive another day.
Anyone can become an addict; however, there are some people more prone to becoming addicts.
Trauma and PTSD
People who experience childhood trauma of some sort are at a higher risk for becoming a drug addict. This is especially true when a person tries to bury the trauma in the deep recesses of their mind.
Maybe they were abused, and family members tried to keep them quiet about their abuse. The emotional pain that comes with trauma without family, peer, or professional support becomes so intense that many people are looking for any way to numb it.
Drugs do a great job at making the individual think the substances alleviate emotional pain. Getting high—at least at first—feels good and takes away peoples' cares and worries. If a person dealing with trauma doesn't invest in therapy or other healthy means to heal, drugs seem like a perfectly sensible solution.
This also applies to people with PTSD. For example, people involved in combat, one of the many causes of PTDS, may suffer from extreme PTSD, and many times end up becoming addicts or taking their own life.
Therapy can be helpful when dealing with PTSD and trauma. It makes a person aware of better tools to regulate their emotions.
Mental Health Issues
If a person suffers from mental health issues, they may be more prone to becoming a drug addict than people who don't. Depression and anxiety are rampant in today's society. The problem with many non-addictive drugs used to treat these conditions is that they take time to work. For example, Lexapro, an anti-anxiety medication, won't work instantaneously, like a Xanax or Klonopin will.
In the short term, it seems like these fast-acting drugs are the solution; however, they can cause the symptoms they have been prescribed to treat in the long run.
Non-addictive mental health drugs also require many patients to try many different combinations before finding the best fit. This can be a long and tedious process, and a person dealing with mental health issues may get worse before they get better.
However, the proper medication plus regular visits with a therapist can help the individual in terms of overall mental wellbeing and even in their journey to long-term sobriety.
Studies have also shown that genetics are involved in who becomes an addict and who doesn't. The bottom line is anyone can become an addict regardless of what neighborhood they were born in, their race, their sexual orientation, or whether or not they experienced trauma at any point in their life.
Support groups, the 12 steps, psychiatry, therapy, sober living, and healthy eating and sleeping habits can help an addict get clean and stay clean. While addiction is a chronic disease, it doesn't have to result in the loss of life.
Help is available, and we're here to help you and/or your loved ones get on the right path and get free from the burden of active addiction.
Download Pocket Rehab today for free and get access to the 24/7 resource for people struggling with addiction and mental health.
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Tags: Addiction, Why, People, Addicts, 2 Reasons Why, Two Major Reasons, Trauma, PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Rehab, App