What causes addiction?

Every one of us understands the severity of becoming addicted to something, and most know the impact addictions can have on family, friends and relationships as well as on our health. Yet each and every year the number of people becoming addicted is steadily rising, so if we understand the dangers to our health why then do so many people become addicted each year?

Why do we become addicted?

Researchers have conducted studies into this for some time now and have yet to come up with a single cause as to why people let them selves become addicted. Obviously if people abstained totally from alcohol, drugs and gambling then addiction wouldn’t be a problem in the first place, but there are a lot of people who can indulge in these things without falling into the trap of becoming addicted to them.

What risk factors are there?

It seems that there are some cultural and social factors that put certain people more at risk than others, for example you are far less likely to become addicted to alcohol in places where alcohol is unacceptable rather than in a place where alcohol is just used as a normal part of every day life.

Studies have also concluded that children growing up in a family where there’s alcohol or drug abuse present will greatly increase the risk of the children becoming dependant. People who have also suffered at the hands of abusers, childhood trauma and neglect when they were growing up are more likely to fall victim to addiction and dependency.

Another factor though to increase the chances is lack of education and unemployment; also if the environment in which you live in is stressful it is thought that people turn to substances as a means of escape. While these factors don’t always lead to addiction and dependency they do seem to increase the chances due to vulnerability.

How addiction starts

When people take drugs or drink alcohol it is obviously for the effect that the substance has on the body and mind, it makes us feel relaxed and good; obviously if they had no effect on us then we wouldn’t use them in the first place. The substances will make us feel happy, relaxed, and makes us feel more confident or powerful, excite and let us escape for a couple of hours.

It is not hard to see why individuals return to them again and again on a regular basis, but what can start out as harmless or social behaviour can quickly turn into something beyond our control, and we feel the need to repeat this behaviour on an increasingly regular basis and need more of the substance to gain the same effect as when you first started.

This is when harmless social behaviour can quickly turn into dependency and addiction and when what’s know as “the vicious circle” takes over as the more you do, the more likely you are to want to do more.

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