No one knows for sure what causes a person to become addicted to drugs, alcohol or a certain behavior such as gambling, shoplifting or sex. There are some theories about how a person’s environment can contribute to addiction. The more you learn about addiction, the more you will be able to overcome addiction or help someone you love with an addiction.
Common Environmental Causes of Addiction
While some people believe that addiction is caused by genetics, most psychologists agree that addiction is caused by both a person’s genetics and that person’s environmental influences. The following are some common environmental causes of addiction:
- Home environment. Stress and arguments at home often cause a person who is already using drugs or alcohol to use these substances more often. There may also be a link between childhood home stressors and substance use as well.
- Peer, school and work environments. If those around you are using substances or feel that it is normal or correct to use unhealthy substances, you may be more likely to become addicted. In some cases, peer groups introduce people to different addictive activities. In other cases, addicted persons are drawn to people who use or work environments that allow substance use.
- Early substance use. If you tried drugs or alcohol at a young age, you may be more likely to become addicted as an adult. Just like riding a bicycle, once you become accustomed to an activity, it can be very hard to “unlearn” a habit or addiction. It takes individuals 90 days to a full year to completely end the habit of any certain activity.
- Method of drug use. People who have injected drugs, snorted drugs or smoked drugs tend to become addicted more quickly. Scientists believe this may be because these methods introduce the drug to the brain more quickly and cause the “high” to fade just as fast, creating the need to use again.
- Connection to community. Your connection to your community may influence addiction. If your community has a high drug use and crime rate, you may be more likely to become addicted to drugs. However, the stresses of a high-income life can lead to just as many addictions as any other income group. Addiction affects all of us, regardless of culture, race, background and history.
Find Addiction Treatment Now
No matter what caused the addiction you are struggling with, substance abuse can severely impact your life and the lives of those you love. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, we can help. Our toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day and can provide you with an experienced counselor who will take the time to help you with the following:
- Understand more about the addiction treatment process from your first day of treatment to aftercare and follow-up
- Find the best rehab treatment available
- Arrange interventions for those you love
- Work with your insurance company and arrange for coverage