Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
What Causes Addiction

Over the last few decades, science and medicine have furthered our understanding of addiction. Rather than a single case of drug addiction, multiple factors may be responsible for certain individuals.

Along with biological causes, it is believed psychological factors such as trauma, depression, poor stress coping skills, inability to connect with others etc. can lead to drug addiction.


Environmental factors which can cause addiction include the use of performance – enhancing drugs, peer group promotion of drugs and the use of drugs in lower socioeconomic homes. Genetics may play a part in causing addiction. It may be harder for certain individuals with certain genes to stop their addiction or they suffer more severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop leading to a bigger increased change of relapsing.

Some psychologists and sociologists may agree or disagree whether an individuals upbringing is considered as another environmental factor. However studies show strong correlation between a persons upbringing around drugs and alcohol and their addiction to either of these substances.

As an example, Very Well Mind covers The Effects of Parental Alcoholism on Children emphasizing that children who later grow up are unaware of what may be considered a good or a bad role model. Addictions and Recovery also published statistics declaring that:

“Children of addicts are eight times more likely to develop an addiction.”


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Drugs are chemicals which affect the brain’s communication system and alter the way information is processed. Different drugs work differently. Some may imitate the brain’s chemical messengers.

Others overstimulate the brains reward circuit by releasing “dopamine” which causes euphoria or alternatively known as a “high”. Thus encourages the user to want to repeat the experience which can lead to addiction. After repeated use, the brain is unable to produce normal levels of dopamine and the drug user is no longer able to operate as they normally would without the drug. This behavior ultimately leads to users taking the drug just to operate as they normally would causing a vicious circle the essentially is known as addiction.