When someone you love is addicted to drugs, you may wonder how this addiction began. You may wonder if the addiction is your fault, and you may wonder how such a powerful addiction can be treated. We ask ourselves many questions, when someone we love is addicted. There are many reasons why your loved one may be addicted.
What Happens When a Person Is Addicted?
Drug use usually begins when a person is unhappy or dealing with a mental health issue like depression, anxiety, trauma or bipolar disorder. In some cases, peer pressure or medical health problems will lead to drug use. Substance use affects a person’s mind and body.
While each type of drug or substance has a different effect, our bodies respond by trying to adjust to the drug’s presence. As the body becomes accustomed to the drug, the user will develop a tolerance for the drug and require more of it to achieve the same effects.
The dependent drug user will experience uncomfortable or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available. A person is fully addicted when he or she is physically or emotionally dependent on the drug to feel normal. Once a person is fully addicted to drugs, substance use becomes the most important thing in that person’s life.
Why Can’t My Loved One Just Quit Using Drugs?
Addiction causes changes in brain chemistry, and it can lead to overwhelming cravings, dangerous withdrawal symptoms or mood and personality changes. Because addiction affects both the body and mind, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for a person to overcome the effects of drug use by willpower alone. Addiction treatment has made great strides in recent years, and rehab care is the best way to find a reliable, long-term and effective way out of addiction.
What Caused My Loved One to Become Addicted?
Every addiction situation is different. Addictions begin for a number of reasons. The three most common causes of addiction are the following:
- Genetics and hereditary factors: There are multiple “addiction genes” which may make a person more susceptible to addiction, although these are not always a guarantee that addiction will begin
- Environmental factors: Peer pressure, cultural influences, stresses, careers and traumatic experiences all contribute to drug use
- Mental health issues: Issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD and bipolar disorder are all leading causes of addiction