-Addiction, also known as a substance use disorder (SUD), is a relapsing disorder that involves compulsive drug or alcohol use, meaning the individual is unable to cut back or quit, even when it negatively impacts a person’s life.

-Addiction involves craving for something intensely, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation.

The most common roots of addiction are chronic stress, a history of trauma, mental illness and a family history of addiction.

Genetics: Addiction is considered moderately to highly heritable, meaning that genes can play a significant role in addiction especially the closer the genetic relationship. In other words, people who have first-degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) who struggle with addiction may have an increased risk of developing an addiction themselves

Peer pressure: Friends are significant in adolescents’ lives. Peers may expose adolescents to drugs and influence their beliefs on what is right and wrong.

Unstable home environment: A person may experience various types of abuse at home and other chaotic events.

Presence of drugs at home and/or school: Exposure to drugs and alcohol can provide additional opportunities for children to experiment and possibly go on to develop an addiction.

Community attitudes and influence: If a community accepts substance use it may affect whether an individual develops an addiction.

Mental Health: There is a strong link between a person’s mental health and the development of a substance use disorder. People may use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate or cope with mental health issues. In the United States, 7.7 million people have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

Trauma: Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, may have a significant impact on a person’s physical and emotional health. Adverse childhood experiences can be stressful, traumatic events that may lead to physical and emotional difficulties, and even substance use disorder.

What causes addiction?