Addiction is a complex disease that has been linked to several risk factors. Treating addiction is not a simple matter of getting the affected person to “just stop” using their drug of choice. It must also include getting to the root causes of addiction and treating those as well. Otherwise, the person with a substance use disorder is likely to resume former habits.
Risk Factors for Addiction
There are a number of risk factors for addiction. This disease doesn’t discriminate; anyone can be at risk for developing a substance use issue. However, some social and medical factors will put certain people in a higher-risk category than others:
- Family history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Using addictive substances from an early age
- Peer pressure or curiosity about using addictive substances
- Method of using the addictive substance (smoking or injecting are riskier behaviors)
- High levels of stress
- Type of substance (certain drugs have the potential to trigger an addictive response more quickly)
- The way a person absorbs and processes the drug based on height, weight and gender
Get Clean, Then Learn How to Live Sober
Addiction treatment takes place over multiple stages. The first one is detoxification (detox), which frees the user from the influences of the chemical. Depending on the type of drug involved, detox may take a few days or up to a week to complete.
During this time, the person going through detox will experience withdrawal symptoms as the body becomes used to living without the chemicals. These symptoms can be uncomfortable, and for this reason, medications may be given to help the client remain as comfortable as possible.
Going through detox only helps a person get clean, as in free from the influence of drugs. Unless they are able to address why they started using them initially, the likelihood of relapse is high.
No one starts using drugs (including alcohol) without a reason.
- In some instances, the substance use starts due to family influences. If other people in the home are using alcohol or drugs, a child may grow up thinking that this is normal behavior or an appropriate way to deal with stress.
- A young person may not see other ways of coping with strong emotions (anger, guilt, grief, anxiety, etc.) other than trying to avoid them by using substances.
- Someone who starts using drugs and alcohol at a young age is much more likely to continue this behavior into adulthood (unless an outside influence convinces them otherwise).
- A person who is feeling overwhelmed by stress and is looking for a way to cope will often choose the path of least resistance. If they don’t have a good support network in place or don’t know about other, healthier options, turning to chemicals may seem like the quickest and easiest way to feel better.
With these (sometimes long-held) coping methods in place, simply expecting someone to give up using drugs without addressing the underlying reasons is not likely to result in long-term sobriety.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Addresses the Root Causes of Addiction
When a client checks into a residential drug and alcohol treatment program like Great Oaks Recovery Center, they receive a full continuum of care. We believe in getting to the root causes of addiction as part of an individualized treatment plan that includes individual and group therapy. During these sessions, our clients can explore why they developed an addiction and learn new ways to cope with the stressors in their lives. This type of healing, along with relapse prevention planning, is necessary for them to move forward in their new phase living a life in recovery.