AddictionDrug AddictionDual Diagnosisa man deep in thought about the Causes of substance abuse

The causes of substance abuse are as varied as the individuals who struggle with the condition. Not surprisingly, there are also a range of symptoms that can alert you to the fact that a loved one is abusing drugs and/or alcohol. A disinterest in the world around them, responsibilities that are neglected, relationship struggles, and legal woes are just a few of them.

How Do Doctors Define Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is present when drugs and/or alcohol are used recurrently. Additionally, this frequent use affects the person’s health and functionality in significant and life-altering ways. Fortunately, though substance abuse disorders are serious, they can be treated with the right combination of assistance and support.

Primary Types Of Substance Use Disorders

There are two primary categories of substance use disorders. While some people fall into one category, others straddle both.

Drug Use Disorder

Drug use disorder is an expansive category of substance use. It can include the consumption of prescription medication, illegal street drugs, or both. Drugs such as steroids, methamphetamine, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and heroin are all very addictive. Using them can lead to a person developing a substance use disorder in just a short time.

Drugs change the way a person’s brain is wired. This interferes with the body’s natural reward system. This prompts them to continue using the drugs in spite of the devastation that it wreaks on their relationships, careers, health, and life in general.

Signs of drug use disorder include:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Drastic behavioral changes
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Money or valuables that are missing
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Frequent absences from work and/or school
  • Neglecting their substance

Alcohol Use Disorder

It might surprise you to learn that alcohol is the substance that is most abused in the United States. More than 17 million people across the country suffer from abusing alcohol and its devastating effects. This equates to one in every 12 adults.

Individuals who have alcohol use disorder experience a loss of control of the amount of alcohol that was consumed and alcohol use on a compulsive level. They also experience symptoms of withdrawal when they stop drinking.

Some signs of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Drinking in secret or alone
  • Making excuses for drinking like it’s a method of relaxing
  • Lying about the amount of alcohol one consumes
  • Experiencing short-term memory loss or blackouts
  • Extreme mood swings and/or irritability

Causes Of Substance Abuse

Doctors and researchers still aren’t sure about the causes of substance abuse. That being said, there are some factors that have been shown to increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder. These include the following:

Genetics

For some people, genetics account for a significant amount of their risk. Some estimates estimate this number to be as much as 40 to 60 percent.

Curiosity

In some cases, a person with a substance use disorder is curious about drugs and/or alcohol. They might have friends or family members who use drugs or alcohol and wonder about their appeal.

Coping Mechanism

A lack of effective coping skills that allow a person to deal with stress, difficulties in life, and setbacks can make them more vulnerable to the allure of drugs and alcohol. Using these substances over a long period of time can increase tolerance. This can lead to addiction and substance use disorder.

There are numerous other causes of substance abuse. Getting to the root of these causes is the key to recovering from substance use disorder.

At Serenity Light Recovery, we strive to provide you with a holistic approach to treatment that includes:

Contact our caring team at 855.658.6109 to learn how we can support you.