Trying to understand the roots of a relative or loved one’s addiction problems can be quite challenging. While there are many ways addiction can develop, and every person who suffers from substance abuse has a highly individual journey; there are specific factors that can influence a person addiction, and we have categorized these into four sectors in this post.

Biological, Environmental, Experiential, and Psychological.

In this post, we look into detail at each of these factors, which we hope, will help you to understand why a person might suffer from addiction abuse problems in their life.


If a friend or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it’s perfectly normal to seek an answer to this basic yet revealing question.

Why do people start using drugs?

Why are they self-destructing?

Why do no longer care about their job or family?

Why do they carry on using drugs when they can see the damage and hurt they are causing?

Anybody who uses drugs or drinks alcohol is placing themselves at risk of becoming addicted. Addiction occurs globally, and it impacts people of all ages, sex, race, and status.

There four factors we mentioned earlier in this post are now going to be covered in more detail, with the intent to help you understand some of the personal factors in an addicts life, that may increase the likelihood of them developing drug or alcohol misuse problems. The very presence of any or all of these factors can leave a person more at risk compared to when none or few of these elements apply. Understand the impact of these factors will help you know more about the effects and causes of any addiction problems, and it can help you to relate to the person who is suffering.

If you have concerns about addiction and feel you would benefit from booking a session with an addiction coach, you can do that here today.

Biological Factors

These factors are highly regarded as major contributor to the advancement of addiction in individuals. Let’s look at just one of these factors, genetics. Research published by ASAM, which is the American Society of Addiction Medicine is indicative of the fact that there is a 50% chance of a person developing issues with addiction if they have a family history of addiction or substance misuse. While there is no specific gene that accounts for addiction, addiction specialists believe that it is a multitude of genes that work together and control how a person is likely to respond to drugs.

Research has also proved that there is an elevated risk of addiction issues when there is a presence of specific abnormalities in the structure of a person’s brain, this is specifically depicted where there is a presence of a lower density of white matter in the forward part of the brain, which lowers a persons self-control; it can also be found where there is elevated grey matter in the central regions of the brain, which is suggestive of a person’s adeptness of forming habits. Cognitive impairment, effective distortions, and changes to neurotransmitter activities can each play a part.

None of the biological factors we have discussed are within a person’s capacity to change. This further indicates that with some additions, it is outside of a person’s control to influence.

Booking a session with an addiction coach is quick, it’s easy, and it’s affordable. You can do that here today.

Experiential and Environmental Factors

Both these types of factors can influence and impact addiction development in a number of key ways. A sense of belonging, family ties, the structure of authority, happiness in a person’s home, and the general atmosphere in a person’s home can all critically impact upon a person’s likelihood to use and abuse substances.

Specifically, if a person was to grow up in a household with weak ties, a hostile environment, or in a place where substance abuse was present, they are twice as likely to develop a problem with addiction at some point in their life, compared to an individual who grew up without the above-named factors present.

Some of the other experiential and environmental factors linked to substance abuse and addiction include:

  • Anxiety or Stress
  • Abuse during childhood – emotionally, physical and/or sexual in nature
  • Being exposed to alcohol or drugs at an early age
  • Trauma
  • No or low social support

What has to stand out as perhaps one of the most striking factors is whether or not a person is raised in a social environment where drugs or alcohol are present and/or accepted. The attitudes of a person’s peers can also significantly impact whether someone is likely to experiment with drugs in their childhood, the act of which for many, could lead to an immediate development of problems with addiction.  A professional or social environment during adulthood that encourages substance abuse is also incredibly harmful.

If you have concerns about addiction and feel you would benefit from booking a session with an addiction coach, you can do that here today.

Psychological Factors

If a mental health disorder is present, then this is highly-regarded as one of the most significant risk identifiers of all when it comes to the development of a substance abuse problem. People who suffer from a mental illness are two times more likely that the general population to develop such issues.

On a similar note, people who have a problem with addiction are three times more likely to develop or have a type of mental health disorder. Mental illness and addiction share genetic weaknesses, and they both utilize relatively similar parts of a person’s brain as well. Both conditions have strong links with the activities of neurotransmitters and the Dopamine pathways. What’s more, as people with mental illness try to address their symptoms or alleviate their suffering emotionally, they can become exposed to the effects that substance abuse can provide.

What Are the Effects of Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is widely regarded as a chronic disorder of the brain; it is not something that people are necessarily born with (although as we have previously discussed, genetics plays a major role in the formation of problems with addiction).

The continued use of drugs will impact a person’s brain functionally and structurally. Over time, and as a person’s tolerance levels to any particular drug become lower, a person’s brain will eventually adapt to the presence of the drug, and this will result in the individual needing to fill their body with even more of the highly-dangerous substance.  Neurotransmitter activities are impacted, and this can impact a person’s ability to make decisions, it can affect their memory, their judgments, and also how they are able to retain new information.

While each of the above-named factors, covering experiential, biological, psychological, and environmental issues can all lay the foundation for a substance abuse issue to take hold.

Addiction in its simplest form is a neurological occurrence, which if not given the due care and attention, it can become self-perpetuating and lead to major personal, professional, and health concerns in a person.

Getting Treatment for Drug Addiction Problems

As you already probably appreciate, drug addiction problems are complicated matters, they can stem from deep-rooted issues and often spiral rapidly out of control. The causes and effects of this type of illness are multifaceted, and they impact every part of a person’s life, not to mention those of you who care for a person with addiction issues.

Healing a person from addiction requires intervention, support, understanding, and support. Any treatment sought for drug addition issues must address the individual needs of the person and the full scope of their issues in order to create a long-lasting and successful recovery.

Pinpointing and understanding the causes and effects of their drug addiction issues, along with presenting meaningful interventions is key to their recovery process.

Keep going, stay strong, and with the right support from addiction specialists, you will find the best solution for overcoming problems with addiction for your loved one.

Book your first addiction recovery session here today.

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