What Causes Addiction?

One of the biggest mysteries in addiction science is why some people get addicted to drugs or alcohol and why others do not. The factors that contribute to addiction are extremely complex. Although we cannot yet point to a specific gene or underlying health problem as the cause of addiction, there are certain commonalities among those who develop it.

Mental Health

Did you know that individuals who suffer from a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety are more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol? Because addiction causes certain mental health problems, identifying an underlying disorder — called dual diagnosis — can also be extremely difficult.

Individuals with addiction are more likely to have an undiagnosed or untreated mental health disorder. The false relief provided by drugs and/or alcohol temporarily relieves the uncomfortable symptoms

Individuals under a great deal of stress are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to relax. Central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, narcotic painkillers, marijuana, anti-anxiety medicines, and sleep aids are all highly addictive. They can also cause physical dependency and challenging withdrawal symptoms

Although drugs and alcohol temporarily relieve depressed and anxious feelings, chronic abuse worsens the underlying symptoms. This causes the addicted individual to use even more drugs and alcohol, and it can lead to a challenging spiral that is difficult to reverse without professional help


One of the most exciting developments in addiction medicine is the discovery that a positive environment has an enormous effect on the mind of an addicted individual. With loving friends and family, a safe home, and plenty of enjoyable activities, evidence suggests that avoiding addictive behavior is easier.

When an addicted individual is isolated from others, with little hope or opportunity for change, the addiction is likely to continue. Addictive behavior is also likely to continue when the struggling person finds himself surrounded by people who are using. A positive environment is one of the reasons why comprehensive post-rehab care planning makes a big difference in the lives of addicted individuals.


It is established that an individual who is related to an addicted person is more likely to develop a substance abuse problem. Although genetics are undeniably a factor in substance abuse, it is not a surefire predictor of addiction.

Many people who are related to addicted individuals never become addicted, while others who have no genetic link develop serious problems. While genetics may be a slight factor in discovering what causes addiction, they are not the only factor that matters.

Call Clarity Way for More Information

If you’re concerned for yourself or for someone you care about, Clarity Way can help. For more information on the factors that lead to addiction, call Clarity Way today.

Disclaimer: The people shown in this photo are models and are used for illustrative purposes only.

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Posted on April 9th, 2015 in Blog

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