The underlying causes of addiction to drugs and alcohol are complex and dynamic. Intensive therapy and medical screenings are excellent tools for treatment, but it takes a lot of effort to flesh out one person’s full picture of substance use and dependence. Overall, we can only point to certain conditions that are more likely to make different people more vulnerable to addiction.
Once someone becomes physically addicted to a substance, however, there is no doubt that permanent changes occur in the brain and need an individualized addiction treatment program to break the disorder. These changes happen in the same neurological regions that are responsible for mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. As neuroscience continues to progress, it is becoming clear that there are connections and relationships between a person’s genetic makeup and their likelihood of developing an addiction.
The Causes of Addiction Span from Biology to Life Experience
Substance use disorders simply expose and magnify all kinds of other challenges, whether physical or psychological. But many of these pre-existing conditions can be original causes of dependence. In broad groups, these include:
- Mental health disorders – Sometimes called co-occurring disorders, these are conditions like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and other mental health issues that most likely began to manifest in late adolescence. People with these conditions are at a highly magnified risk of developing a substance use disorder later in life. Once physical dependence sets in they can expect to see those mental health symptoms become much worse.
- Neurochemistry – Everyone’s emotional balance and mood patterns are driven by neurotransmitters in the brain. For example, some people may have fewer dopamine receptors, which means that once they habitually use a drug that replaces them a tolerance will develop much faster. If someone like this tries to go “cold turkey,” they will experience extreme emotional trauma.
- Genetics – It is no secret that alcoholism runs in families. But as we learn more about DNA and microbiology, it’s clear that addiction itself has some genetic components like mental health disorders. Parents who suffer from a genetic predisposition to addiction are also more likely to pass the habit on to their children through the trauma of neglect or abuse.
- Environment and lived experience – Whether or not someone has a physical cause for their addiction, the powerful role that life experience has in leading people into chemical dependence is very clear. Whether it is poverty, the trauma of combat, childhood abuse, or any other life-altering event, drugs do a great job (in the beginning) of masking the symptoms.
The Complex Causes of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Require Intensive Treatments
Successfully recovering from a substance use disorder is beyond any one person’s ability to navigate alone. Clients in recovery programs need the help of many professionals and compassionate friends working together. All of Next Wind Recovery’s programs use well-researched, evidence-based therapeutic tools.
Because the interplay between personal history and biology is so unique in each person, the medical and therapy plan is customized for the client based on intensive physical and mental health screening. The main components of a recovery plan are:
- A flexible intensive outpatient program (IOP) schedule
- Individual therapy that builds skills and confidence for sobriety while also identifying and treating any co-occurring mental health disorders
- Professionally guided group therapy that allows clients to learn from their peers in the same program and build a positive support network
- Aftercare and case management that follows you when you finish the program to make sure you are never left alone
Treatments for Addiction at Next Wind Recovery
The Next Wind Recovery therapy team draws from many different fields of mental health treatment and therapy, such as:
You know how isolating and difficult it is to escape the causes of your addiction. Don’t fall into a cycle of chronic relapse. Instead, call us today at 201.331.6569 and find out how we can help you leave your addictions behind for good.