What Causes Addiction?

Learn about the causes of addiction and how to address them for long-term recovery. Find out how trauma, mental health issues, and medications can lead to substance abuse.

What Causes Addiction?

Trauma can be a major factor in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can lead to depression, anxiety, and even addiction or suicide. Childhood trauma can cause extreme levels of stress in young people, which can have a lasting impact on their brain growth and chemistry. This is why many individuals with a troubled past may struggle with addiction. People often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with the negative thoughts and emotions associated with their co-occurring disorder.

Although the temporary high from drugs and alcohol may provide some relief, it only worsens the underlying co-occurring disorder. This is because substance abuse can cause anxiety and depression, which can be detrimental when combined with existing mental health issues. People with co-occurring disorders may be prescribed medications to help manage their symptoms. While these medications can be beneficial in the short term, they can also lead to addiction if not used properly.

Substance abuse is characterized by compulsive use of drugs or alcohol that results in adverse social, work, legal, or interpersonal consequences. It is important to identify the root cause of addiction and address it in order to prevent it from becoming worse. Treating the underlying issues is essential for long-term recovery.