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the causes and effects of addiction

What Are the Causes and Effects of Addiction?

So many people are affected by addiction every day – both those suffering from it and those living around it. Addiction is pervasive and it can affect anyone regardless of age or station in life. It doesn’t always point to weakness, either. It’s a complex and nuanced disease that can hit someone for all kinds of reasons. That being said, some people are more vulnerable to it in a variety of ways.

What causes an addiction can be different from one person to the next, but it generally points to an underlying condition or issue of some sort. Read on to learn more about the various causes of addiction and how it affects the lives of everyone around it.

What Causes Addiction

At the very core, everyone’s reason for using substances, and eventually becoming addicted, are different. However, it typically starts as a way to mask or escape some kind of pain, trauma, or other struggle.

In many cases, it can also come as a result of untreated mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety as a way to escape symptoms that feel out of control.

Whether it’s a pleasant high, a rush of adrenaline, or something else, these substances provide temporary relief from whatever you’re fighting. This can be almost anything, but there are several common issues that substance abuse stems from:

  • Mental illness of any kind
  • Abuse
  • Trauma
  • Poverty
  • Low self-image and self-esteem
  • Grief and loss
  • Chronic pain and/or other medical conditions
  • Stress

Many of these things are circumstantial and out of an individual’s control. These things can happen to anyone – but not everyone will turn to substances as a way to cope. In addition, not everyone who does experiment with drugs and alcohol becomes addicted.

There’s no one reason that someone becomes addicted and someone else doesn’t, but there are some contributing factors such as:

  • Environment. Some people have more exposure and access than others. Having friends and/or family that use substances can make it easier to get them for yourself. Some may also experience peer pressure, which requires some willpower and confidence to turn away from.
  • Unfortunately, some people are more genetically predisposed to developing an addiction should they start using a substance.
  • Development. Lastly, a person’s stage of development also plays a role. Addiction can form at any age, but the younger someone starts using substances, the more likely they are to become addicted.

People turn to drugs and alcohol for a plethora of reasons, but it becomes much harder to control once true addiction sets in. At this point, it becomes as much a physical need as a mental or emotional one. The longer one stays in addiction, the harder it can be to get out. This is where it becomes advisable to seek help as willpower alone is often not enough.

causes addiction

Effects of Addiction

While the person suffering from addiction has much to deal with, the full addiction impact often goes far beyond the individual. It causes a ripple effect in many areas of their life, sometimes doing permanent damage.

Short-Term Effects of Addiction

The effects of addiction are many, with some lasting only a short while and others affecting your life long-term. Similarly, some are health-related while others have more to do with your work, family, and social life.

Short-term and often temporary effects of addiction can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Memory problems
  • Poor hygiene
  • Worsening mental health/an increase in symptoms
  • Financial struggles – While the immediate financial struggles may subside, there are long-term implications if you don’t get back on top of it.
  • Dangerous, risky, even illegal behaviour
  • Reduced attention span
  • Strained relationships/neglecting your family
  • Loss of interest in your favourite hobbies or activities
  • Insomnia
  • Poor coordination
  • Withdrawal symptoms if you go too long without using the substance. These can range from mild and manageable to a true medical emergency.

This list covers many of the most common addiction effects, but it’s not exhaustive. Many problems can arise from substance abuse and addiction – mental, physical, emotional, social, relational, and more. Some can be fixed, but others can’t.

Long-Term Effects of Addiction

The long-term effects of addiction are where the real risk comes in. Even if an addiction is overcome, some things may remain long-term or even be permanent. Some of these effects can include:

  • A damaged immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infections and other health problems.
  • Cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks or collapsed veins.
  • Liver failure.
  • Brain damage – This can affect everything from memory to attention span and even decision-making.
  • Job loss.
  • Loss of important relationships, such as close friends, partners, and even children.
  • When dealing with illegal substances, you may have to pay the legal price even if you recover. This alone can cause issues such as job loss, relationship problems, financial struggles, mental health issues, and more.
  • Severe mental health struggles.
  • You’re risking an overdose which can cause permanent damage and even be fatal.

These are some of the biggest risks one is taking when experimenting with substances that can lead to addiction. While the risks are many, one of the biggest long-term implications is on your health. Every substance is different and will have different effects, but the risk of permanent damage to your body or mind in some way or another is significant.

long-term effects of addiction

Overcome Addiction at Lily Recovery

Addiction causes much strife to those suffering in addition to those around them. While you might feel completely stuck, it’s never too late to start your journey to health, healing, and recovery.

At Lily Recovery, we offer a safe, quiet, and private place for women to receive treatment at their own pace and in their own way. Our professional counselors and therapists are highly trained and create personalized treatment plans for all women. Lastly, the program accepts only 10 women at any given time, meaning you’ll have the space and privacy to recover without feeling overwhelmed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns regarding yourself, a loved one, or the services we offer!