Alcohol and drug addiction are complex disorders that develop over time and vary in how they affect individuals. This means it’s important to be aware of what warning signs of addiction to look for and how this disorder manifests in certain people.
What Causes Alcohol Addiction?
It’s common for people to drink alcohol, but it can be dangerous if you drink too much. Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of cancers, heart disease, stroke, and liver disease. Alcohol is also addictive, and people who drink excessively are at risk of alcohol dependence, affecting their physical, mental, and social health.
Alcoholics often drink to relieve physical and emotional tension but drinking also lowers inhibitions and causes people to do or say things they normally would not. People dependent on alcohol often drink alone, which can lead to isolation, loneliness, and depression.
What Causes Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a complex condition with no single known cause. However, experts agree that the brain plays a big role in addiction since drugs change the way it functions. The prevailing theory of addiction suggests that a drug habit is caused by a combination of three factors: a genetic predisposition, social factors, and an environment conducive to addiction. Likely, the same factors that contribute to alcoholism and drug addiction in the general population predispose people to addiction.
Why Do People Get Addicted to Alcohol or Drugs?
From the outside, it can be hard to understand why someone would start taking drugs or alcohol in the first place. The truth is that several factors can put someone at risk for abusing alcohol or drugs. For example, some people may begin using alcohol or drugs to cope with stressful situations or problems. Others may turn toward drugs or alcohol to fit in with a group or help them forget their problems.
Although many people seem to think that there is nothing more to addiction than powerful cravings and irresistible impulses, that’s not the case. In fact, recent studies have shown that addiction can be a largely physical process, which is why several medical organizations worldwide now support the use of opioid antagonists to treat people who have become addicted to opiate drugs like morphine and oxycodone.
Why Do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs and Alcohol While Others Do Not?
The simple answer is that addiction is a complex disease that develops when a person becomes dependent on a substance (substance abuse) and keeps using it despite the harm it causes. This dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when a person stops using the drug and strong cravings when the person does not use the drug. These symptoms can persist for months or years after using the drug stops.
You’ve probably heard of triggers: those things that can make you feel like you need to drink or retake drugs and can lead to a relapse. But what are they? And how can you avoid them?
Triggers can be both internal and external:
- Internal triggers are things like negative feelings, emotions, and memories.
- External triggers are situations in the world around you that can make you want a drink or drug again, like seeing someone drink or being in a place where you used to use.
If you feel like you’re unable to resist triggers such as stress or a craving, you may feel like you’re at the mercy of your addiction. But you’re not powerless. In fact, you can harness the power of triggers to help you. Talking about your triggers with a trusted friend or counselor can help you identify your own triggers and work on ways to avoid them. Of course, from there, stopping you before everything gets serious.
Beat that Addiction!
“How do I beat my addiction?” This is the question that you should be asking yourself if you think you have a problem with alcohol or drugs. The answer is not easy, and you will need to treat the problem as an addiction and not just a bad habit. If you stop doing the thing you think makes your life worse, you ignore the problem and put yourself at risk of relapse.
Alcohol and drug addiction are serious issues that can cause serious harm, both mentally and physically. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help yourself. There are many ways to treat drug or alcohol addiction, but the main methods include counseling, support groups, and therapy. While you can’t cure addiction with any single approach, you can learn how to cope with it, resist it, and prevent it from taking over your life.