Addiction is not the result of a single behavior. There are always a cluster of contributing factors.
It is human nature to fit complex ideas or theories into a single overarching box. It helps us compartmentalize and quickly understand complicated topics or concepts. We use the term “White” to represent many different races of people. Rock ‘n’ roll is filled with music that ranges all the way from Elvis to Maroon 5. This is fine. Broad categorizations can be helpful for quick connection and reference.
Many people do not realize that addiction is also a blanket description.
There is never one single contributing factor that created or fostered an addiction in an individual. The reasons and the underlying dynamics of each person struggling with substance abuse are diverse and multiple. The issue with addiction as a blanket description for all substance abuse is the ease with which it allows us to negatively classify individual people and misunderstand the contributing factors. In order to effectively help an addict find lasting recovery, the many reasons for addiction must be understood and confronted.
So what do we hear when the word addiction comes up? Society’s stigma is easy to decipher. Most people would say the ingredients to addiction include self-indulgence, recklessness, moral decay, shame and self-centeredness, among many others. While some or many of these things could certainly be in play, to use these types of personality issues as the final definition of a person struggling with addiction is a mistake. Addiction is far more complex, and real recovery is based on that understanding.
Here are a few common contributing elements that one can be aware of in order to further understand some of the aspects that might come to play in finding sobriety.
There are various personality factors that contribute to a person’s proclivity towards substance abuse. Some of those include an impulsive personality or even a risk taking approach to life. Compulsivity, nonconformity, and more are all contributing elements. Read more about the elements of an addictive personality here.
Studies have shown that an individual that grows up in an environment where drugs are rampant is more likely to develop a substance addiction. This could be watching drug use at home or being inundated with it in their school/social environment. As well, our cultural icons and entertainment creates an unhealthy understanding of drugs. From an early age, we see musicians, actors, and even world leaders actively engaging with addictive substances. Though this is not to blame for the entire epidemic of substance abuse, it certainly is a contributing factor.
Addiction does have an inherited component to it. Of course this is never an excuse for, or the only factor in, addiction, nor does it mean you will certainly become addicted. But it does mean you can be aware of a proclivity towards substance abuse and be careful. Along with this, many people who struggle with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety issues, or other psychiatric conditions are at higher risk of developing an addiction.
The amount of pain or perceived pain in an individual’s life often directly influences a person’s initial desire to medicate or alleviate the agony. People who turn to drugs often find a flatness to life and miss a certain zeal for everyday living. As well, individuals who have experienced trauma in their lives are at higher risk. Neglect, abuse, loss of a loved one—all of these situational factors can contribute to drug abuse. There is also the simple and unfortunate reality that a large number of people were introduced to opiates because of a medical situation. Addiction to prescribed drugs is rampant and deadly.
Beyond these reasons, addictive substances themselves are the prominent culprit in why people get addicted in the first place. The allure of immediate pleasure, the desire to escape the stresses of the world, the guarantee of a reward, no matter what the cost—these are all characteristics of drugs and alcohol.
Ultimately, the blame game does not get us very far. However, understanding some of the possible, diverse contributing factors can help us also understand that there is more than simple moral decay involved in drug abuse. And why a complete recovery system to help an addict find freedom is necessary.
No matter what the reason, situational, genetic, personality, selfish behavior, or a wild combination of all these things, a person with an addiction needs help.
Do you know someone struggling with an addiction? The reasons they have come to this place are varied and complex, but the solution is the same: it is time to get help.
Please call us for more information on what your next step is for yourself your loved one: 844-489-0836.