What Causes Addiction?

When someone is suffering from addiction, it is a very dark and lonely time. Not only because of the addiction they are suffering, but because of the pain of the underlying causes. All addiction stems from a root cause, making the addiction impossible to overcome unless that cause is treated as well. There can be many different root causes that the addiction is a symptom of, and all need to be treated with compassion and care.

Co-Occuring Mental Health Disorders

One of the major underlying causes of addiction is a co-occuring mental health disorder. Some of the mental health disorders that addiction can stem from include:

There can be many reasons that a person with substance use disorderion has formed due to mental illness. One reason can be that the mental illness is undiagnosed, and the user is trying to make themselves feel better. Another reason is the feeling of wanting to become “numb”. Drugs and alcohol offer an irresistible euphoric feeling, and for someone who is suffering from depression, this can be seen as helpful to them. However, drugs and alcohol only exacerbate existing mental health disorders in the long run.

In addition, people may be on medication for their mental health disorder with the best of intentions of getting relief from their symptoms. However, because of the addictive nature of some of these medications, people may accidentally slip into addiction. Without the close supervision of medical professionals and therapists, addiction is very likely.

Dual Diagnosis

When someone is suffering from a co-occuring mental health disorder, they will need to receive dual diagnosis treatment. This is treatment that addresses both the addiction and the underlying mental health issue together, so that one does not go untreated and ultimately exacerbates the other later.

Family History

Having a family history of addiction is another one of the major underlying causes of addiction. If you have members of your family that have suffered from addiction, especially your parents, then the likelihood you will suffer from addiction skyrockets. Growing up in an environment with substance abuse around is normalized, which makes children of addicts are more inclined to try it out. They grew up in an environment where substance abuse was likely chosen over caring for and spending time with the child, making the child often wonder what was so “great” about the substances.

In addition, if they see a parent or family member stressed out or in a bad place and turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping method, children will learn this. They see negative coping methods and learn them, and are very likely to use these same coping methods as well. Even if the child grows up knowing that substance abuse is bad and their relationship with their parent has suffered because of it, they have already been predisposed to becoming a person with substance use disorder themselves and are likely to go that route.

History of Trauma

When someone experiences a traumatic event, many issues can stem from it. One of which can include addiction. A traumatic event that could be one of the underlying causes of addiction may include:

  • Military service
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Death of a loved one
  • Loss of relationship, such as divorce
  • Volatile childhood environment

In an effort to cope with negative memories, thoughts, feelings and anxieties associated with a traumatic event, many people turn to substance abuse. They receive a brief euphoric feeling and are able to forget about it for a few moments – only to have them come back tenfold. If someone receives addiction treatment and does not treat the negative thoughts and feelings associated with their trauma, then their addiction will eventually come back around and the cycle will begin again.

Self-Esteem Issues

Many people suffering from self-esteem issues will turn to substance abuse to cope with the different feelings related to their self image. People who are suffering from gender or sexual identity issues have a hard time coming to terms with their authentic selves, due to the stigma surrounding it. They might want to suppress their feelings and forget about them instead of dealing with them, and substance abuse is often chosen as a means to do so.

In addition, people who are suffering from self-esteem issues may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to “fit in” with their peers. They may find that they are more outgoing while drunk or high, allowing them to have confidence to talk to people that they normally wouldn’t. Perhaps they are more well-liked when they purchase drugs or alcohol for people and keep up with that in order to be liked. Self-esteem issues can be overcome with therapy and healthy coping skills; it doesn’t have to be through drugs and alcohol.

About Cliffside Malibu

No matter what underlying causes have led to your addiction, we are here to help you through it. We believe that solving the root cause is the only way to truly overcome your addiction.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com