Despite the years of research that have gone into better understanding addiction, scientists still do not understand why some people suffer from addiction and others do not. Addiction is a biological disorder, meaning the chances of suffering increase if it runs in the family.
Research indicates that there are genes linked to forms of addiction. Some research indicates that genes and the effect of environmental factors make up about 40 to 60 percent of those suffering from addiction. Just because some family members suffer from addiction does not necessarily mean another person within the family will. Environmental factors are just as influential as biological ones.
Understanding how addiction, or mental illness in general, manifests within a family is the first step to seeking treatment. It can be difficult to break from old habits, especially those learned from family members. Seeking treatment is also the first step toward breaking familial cycles of addiction. If addiction runs in an individual’s family and they are noticing the signs of illness in themselves, it is vital to seek treatment immediately.
What Causes Initial Substance Use?
There is no one direct cause of Substance Use Disorders (SUD). However, trauma plays a big part in initial use. Throughout most peoples’ lives, they experience different levels of trauma beginning at a very young age. Unfortunately, not all environments are conducive to teaching healthy ways to cope with trauma.
When people struggle to find healthy ways of coping with trauma and other life stressors, they often turn to substance use. While trauma lies at the core of SUD, some engage in substance use initially for recreation use. For example, many try drugs to feel good. They cause feelings of pleasure or euphoria, and continue to use drugs to replicate those feelings.
People use drugs to feel better in general too. Self-medicating frequently leads to addiction. Individuals may medicate to cope with co-occurring mental disorders like anxiety or depression and substance use can be the quickest fix they can find for those disorders. Though this may be a common and more serious cause of initial use, some try different substances simply because of peer pressure.
Especially in adolescence, individuals find themselves in a place where they feel pressured to drink or use drugs to look cool or be respected by peers. This makes adolescent substance use extremely dangerous. The brain is not fully developed until about 25-years-old. While the effects of substance use on the adult brain are bad enough, the effects on a brain that is still vulnerable can be detrimental.
Understanding the Science of Addiction
So far, research has indicated that addiction is a complex brain disorder that causes individuals to have an insatiable craving for alcohol, drugs, or other substances and even addictive behaviors. These cravings affect the way they think, act, and treat those in their lives. Treatment helps people learn to control these cravings and live a life of abstinence from the addictive substances or behaviors plaguing their life.
Substance use, especially when it is long-term and excessive, can wreak havoc on the brain. Specifically, addictive drugs affect the pathways in the brain. For example, the dopamine system will be affected by substance use. When neurotransmitters are unnaturally overstimulated through substance use, the body craves more of the unnatural reaction.
Further research has shown changes in the brain as a result of substance use and when seeking treatment, the brain begins to slowly but surely heal. Aside from the desire to end the familial cycle of addiction, wanting to heal one’s brain and reclaim a life free of active addiction is another reason an individual should seek treatment immediately.
Breaking the Familial Cycle
When seeking treatment for SUD, people need to have options for their recovery. In an everyday treatment program, clients seldom have the chance to make autonomous decisions regarding the treatment.
At the Lakehouse Recovery Center, we pride ourselves on helping clients feel empowered on their path to recovery. That means creating individualized treatment plans, offering family counseling, and focusing on relapse prevention. Breaking the family cycle of addiction requires one crucial step – seeking treatment. For clients with healthy family dynamics, family counseling is emphasized because we believe family involvement is crucial to a life of recovery.
Lakehouse Recovery Center will help to pinpoint traumatic causes of SUD, where family dynamics play a part in addiction, and how individuals can begin their path to recovery today. Reach out to Lakehouse Recovery Center today to end the cycle. We can anyone find a life of recovery.
Mental illnesses, like addiction and Substance Use Disorders, are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. This is evident in the initial cause of addiction. While there is no one cause, trauma and the inability to cope with it can lead people to initial substance use. Whether they are self-medicating to cope with anxiety, depression, or trauma, the effects experienced on the brain will gradually make it more difficult to stop using substances. It is difficult for most to seek treatment for addiction if they have never observed their family members doing so. However, seeking treatment is the most important step to breaking the family cycle of addiction. If you and a member of your family have been suffering from addiction, do not wait another day to seek treatment. Reach out to us at the Lakehouse Recovery Center at (877) 762-3707 for you and your family to start your path to recovery today.