Addiction remains a specter that haunts society. Conversations on how to handle addiction vary, with every sector having a say on the topic. However, medical and scientific experts agree that addiction is a disease and must be treated as one.
Similar to other diseases, it is important to find out the causes of addiction. Health and addiction are two tightly-knit issues. One cannot simply discuss addiction without discussing other health factors that may have contributed to a person’s addiction or the health issues that will arise post-addiction.
Doctors define addiction or substance use disorder as the uncontrolled usage of a specific substance. People who suffer from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) rely too much on substances that it begins to change how their brain normally works. The widely known substances with regards to addiction are alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Causes of Addiction
As mentioned, health and addiction are intertwined. Whenever discussions about addiction rise, it is also important to give emphasis on a patient’s general health. In most cases, people become dependent on substances because of their effects: intoxication often brings feelings of euphoria, calmness, and pleasure (and sometimes productivity, as well).
Experts like to emphasize that addiction can be a symptom of a larger issue faced by an individual. Discussing health and addiction can be easily summarized by dividing the causes into two: internal factors and external factors.
Internal Factors of Addiction
There is research that proves that mental health issues and addiction can be hereditary. However, cases will vary per individual. Recently, scientists have been able to locate 400 areas in the human genome that are responsible for reacting to certain events and may influence substance abuse.
It may take a while for scientists to fully understand and discover how the human brain processes information that permits or encourages an individual to respond positively to a substance to the point of addiction.
External Factors of Addiction
Mental health experts often come to an agreement that external factors play a large role as to why people develop substance abuse disorder. External factors can be something as big and encompassing as societal poverty or something as personal as childhood trauma. Various research throughout the years show that an individual’s reactions to immense stress brought by external factors often lead to deteriorating mental health and addiction.
The common external factors enumerated by researchers are as follows:
This is quite common during adolescence, when most kids are struggling to find a sense of belongingness.
Unstable Home Environment
Similar to peer pressure, this is widely influential to teenagers. Sometimes the stress from an unstable home environment and peer pressure go hand-in-hand in enabling young people in becoming drug dependent. Adults can also be driven to substance abuse when faced with extreme stress from domestic violence brought by an unstable home environment.
Criminal Activity or Parental Usage of Drugs
When kids are exposed to drugs early, more often than not, they see substance abuse as a norm.
Community Attitude Towards Drug Abuse
Throughout the years, it has been proven that the more a community censors discussions about or criminalizes substance abuse, the more cases are reported.
This is, perhaps, the most serious cause of addiction. Physical and sexual abuse are shown to have strong connections with substance abuse in people, especially women. PTSD is another major factor why people resort to substance dependence.
Different Types of Substance Abuse
In discussing health and addiction, it is also important to identify the types of substances that are used.
When talking about addiction, more often than not, the first thing that comes to mind is drugs. However, there are many kinds of drugs. People mostly associate drug addiction with stimulants, most especially cocaine and amphetamine.
Cocaine addiction is the most widely recognized type of addiction. Cocaine is highly addictive because it has an immediate effect that only lasts for minutes, which leaves the user anxious, paranoid, and craving another hit.
Meanwhile, amphetamine encourages the brain to release dopamine. Users often take amphetamine if they want to stay awake or decrease their food intake.
Lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD is the most popular hallucinogenic. The popularity of this drug started in the 1960s. It triggers hallucinations that increase a user’s awareness of their surroundings.
Alcohol consumption is one of the common types of substance abuse, partly because of the accessibility to beverages that contain alcoholic drinks. In some cases, substance abusers pair drugs with alcohol for a heightened effect.
Another popular type of substance is nicotine. Cigarettes are highly addictive, and they are easily accessible. They cause intense adverse and immediate effects on the body.
Diseases Caused By Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction is one of the most common types of addiction and one of the deadliest. In the United States alone, alcoholism and excessive drinking caused 95,000 deaths from 2011-2015, making it responsible for 1 of 10 deaths in people between the ages of 20 to 64 years old.
The short-term health risks brought by extreme alcohol consumption are as follows:
- Physical injuries – Drunk driving and public misconduct can lead to physical injuries.
- Violence and sexual assault – Studies show that the rate of physical and sexual violence increase when a person is intoxicated.
- Risky sexual behaviors – Excessive drinking often leads to mindless and unprotected sex.
Meanwhile, long-term health risks are known to cause chronic diseases and serious problems such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease which may lead to stroke
- Digestive problems
- Cancer of the lungs, liver, and colon
Diseases from Drug Addiction
Extreme use of drugs, regardless of their classification, alters how the brain functions. Aside from that, the body is exposed to more chronic diseases such as the following:
- Liver damage
- Cardiovascular problems
- Diminished immune system
- Respiratory issues
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Neurological damages
Haven House Recovery Can Help You In Your Journey to Sobriety
Ever since its establishment in 1998, Haven House Recovery has been able to help men recover through its 12-month residential program, which offers medical detox services as well as psychological therapies and counseling.
If you are looking for a drug rehab near Murfreesboro, Haven House Recovery can help in providing the services needed for a patient to fully succeed in their battle against addiction.