In the not so distant past, in the minds of most, addiction equated to a lack of self-control. Others simply saw it as a degeneration of morals or values. Of course in the past decade we have come a long way in addiction treatment and education; however, there is still a good deal of misunderstanding involved. Especially in the social contributors.
The truth is the full spectrum of substance use disorder origin is a broad topic. There are multiple biological, behavioral, and societal influences in the development of this condition. However, the relationship between behaviors and psychology is complex. So here are a few variables to keep in mind as you are taking steps to understand addiction, either for yourself or in a loved one.
#1: Sense of Community
An important social factor that can engender addiction is a sense of community. This is seen frequently in teens. It’s completely normal to have young people gathering in places where alcohol and/or drugs are present. Of course, the risk of rejection is keenly felt by teenagers, and they are not fully aware of the physiological commitment and destruction they are risking with their behaviors. So to connect and find community, they join the behavior.
But its effects are not immune to adults. Far from it. Social lubricants are necessary for some people to feel connected to others in their peer group. Business meetings and conferences where individuals feel as though their careers are dependent on the evening gathering at the watering hole. Golf courses and Super Bowl parties, women’s get-togethers with wine and cheese, and more. All of these are places where heavy drinking isn’t just normalized, it is expected.
#2: Relief from Stress, Environment, and Trauma
We live in a world where we keep rushing from one place to the other. From taking care of your home and family, to work, to parties, to so many other commitments. In Orange County, California, where SoCal Detox is located, this seems to be even more acute than other areas. Sometimes, people just “need” to get away from the reality for a second or two. This need can push individuals to alcohol and drugs. The strong need to disconnect from the stresses of the real world.
The truth is that each one of us can be subjected to a different kind of stress. You can have an extremely busy work life but you may also be experiencing some changes in your environment or even experiencing a trauma. From frequent arguments to a divorce, from verbal or physical abuse to an accident or a natural disaster, all these situations can be additional factors that contribute to addiction.
In an attempt to eliminate the pain from your life, drugs, and alcohol convince your brain that they help you achieve this. However, the reality is that the addition of chemical substances causes more problems than it solves. They add more stress than they relieve.
#3: The Lifestyle
Unfortunately, many people tend to look at the heavy use of drugs or alcohol as something appealing. There is a desire to live fast and live hard. Yet, there is an inherent denial in this approach. Despite the information available and the social proof, the desire to get quick hits of dopamine through risky behavior is appealing to some. Then the more access a person has to their addictive substance or lifestyle, the deeper the problem will get.
The sad fact is that even though a person might be in denial at the beginning of their addiction, eventually nearly every person with an addiction can recognize the destruction that is happening to their lives, their health, and their relationships. But they are too far in. At that point, willpower has little effect on the brain’s control over a person’s actions.
This is where addiction and substance use disorder becomes its most destructive self. Not only is a person with an addiction aware of the pain they are causing themselves, they see the chaos around them. Please note: many are deeply in denial about this destruction and chaos. But they see it. They have cognitive dissonance.
What is the answer for someone this deep? They need to reach out for help.
SoCal Detox Can Help
Anything a loved one can do to help a person with substance use disorder find help is the best option. Always remember, addiction does not have to have the last word. Recovery is possible. Finding help is the way to the solution. If you need advice or assistance with your own addiction or someone you love, please call SoCal Detox today: 888-590-0777.