What Makes an Addict or an Alcoholic?

By now, most of us know that addiction & alcoholism is actually considered a disease. The longstanding thought that they are weak in moral character or do not have enough will power has been widely debunked and a more compassionate understanding is being embraced as well as effective approaches to their treatment. Concisely put, an alcoholic or addict suffers similarly from their condition as someone who has cancer or diabetes or any other chronic affliction.

If you know someone who is an addict or alcoholic, it’s hard to really swallow this because you probably know what they are like when they are not drinking or using. It’s easy to characterize that their problems are a result of bad behaviors and poor choices and that they should just be able to stop if they really wanted or cared enough to. However, addiction is a disease that has numerous root contributing factors, some of which are very deep, some of which may never be known, and all of which differ in each individual.

One major, and not so surprising, cause of any addiction is trauma. It is very common, sometimes encouraged, for people to turn to a form of escape to temporarily reprieve them of dealing with an intense situation. Sadly, numbing oneself can easily turn into a habit, one where the emotional or physically painful experience is never truly addressed, therefore continues to gain in power to fuel the reason to “cope” in this way.  Just repeated behavior alone, minus any trauma, can eventually cause enough changes in the brain chemistry resulting in addiction.

Another factor could be mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Some of this can be co-occurring—partially cause and can be caused by addiction. When a person enters a recovery center for treatment, professionals can better recognize and help to better address this in a variety of ways.

Family history and genetics are the most well-known reasons why people become addicts. People who experienced any form of addiction as children are more likely to develop the same patterns when they become adults. In addition, pre-disposition at the physiological level can without a doubt contribute heavily to an individual’s own addiction.

With all of these factors, education and skill building, combined with various forms of therapy can help an individual understand themselves and their needs better. If you or a loved one has an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.