Why do some people become addicts, while some manage to steer away from addictions? Addiction is a complex ailment, affecting people of all ages, personalities and backgrounds. It’s not easy to decipher why some people are more prone to addiction than others. Addiction disrupts normal functioning of the brain, and if left untreated it can produce long-lasting negative effects on the mind and body.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Nashville Drug Addiction (NIDA), there are certain basic risk factors such as trouble at home, mental health issues, friends or family members who abuse drugs and genetics, that make some people vulnerable to drug abuse. Robert B. Millman, an addiction expert at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical School, says, “Locus of control is another influential factor in addiction vulnerability. Addicts tend to believe that they are not the masters of their own fate, that control lies outside of them.”
Many people use drugs to “self-medicate,” for instance, heroin plays a vital role in normalizing people who suffer from delusions and hallucinations, while cocaine can quickly lift a depression or enable a person to become better organized and focused.
Factors responsible for Nashville Drug Addiction
People tend to develop an addiction due to various biological, familial, psychological and socio-cultural factors. Today, everyone has easy access to drugs; some people use them to treat themselves from various afflictions, while some others become addicted to them. Drug abuse can be triggered by any of the following factors:
Genetic tendency: Studies have revealed that genes many not exactly determine a person’s tendency to become a drug abuser. However, genes greatly help in controlling the behavior of a drug abuser.
Peer pressure: Young people want to be liked and in their effort to get accepted by their group, they give in to peer pressure. Thus, if the group takes drugs, they feel pressured to do the same.
Stress: According to many healthcare providers, stress is the leading cause of drug abuse relapse in drug addicts. Studies reveal that high stress levels predict continued drug use among opiate addicts.
Experimentation: NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment study says that adolescents are often motivated to try out something new, especially the daring ones. Thus, their experimentation with drugs can result in addiction.
Environment: Apart from various other factors, environment plays a major role in triggering addiction problems in a drug addict. “A common misperception is that addiction is a choice or moral problem, and all you have to do is stop. But nothing could be further from the truth,” says Dr. George Koob, Director of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “The brain actually changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain.”
“Brain imaging studies of people addicted to drugs or alcohol show decreased activity in this frontal cortex,” says Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Path to recovery
Though people’s initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, their ability to exert self-control can be impaired with continued use. Brain imaging studies of drug addicts reveal that physical changes occur in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory. Scientists believe that these changes alter the way the brain works.
Addiction begins in childhood or adolescence which can have harmful effects on the developing brain. NIDA’s Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders suggests that research-based programs can significantly reduce early use of illicit drugs. Moreover, healthy interactions within the family at an early age help in reducing children’s risks for drug abuse.