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What Are The Causes of Drug Addiction?

The Causes of Alcoholism also pretty much apply to the causes of drug addiction - so before you do anything make sure you read those, because they will provide you with more in-depth information on the most common causes of addiction, whether that be to alcohol or drugs.

But just as a quick recap ... - Genetics (how addiction is largely hereditary) and Environmental/Social Factors (that shape our personalities and how we respond to the environment) are probably the two biggest one's.

It's no secret that the majority of drug addicts were exposed to drug addiction in the home via a parent or family member from an early age. That's of course not always the case, but the chances of being pre-disposed toward addiction are up to four times higher if a parent abused drugs on a regular basis.

What I'd like to do here then is add to the causes of drug addiction, something unique to drugs, and that is the role Gateway Drugs play as a cause of drug addiction.

Gateway Drugs

drug addiction causes

The two primary gateway drugs are alcohol and marijuana. Now most people use both these substances successfully on a purely social and recreational basis, with no long-term ill effects.

However if you have a predisposition towards addiction, alcohol and marijuana are often the substances initially used before progressing onto harder stuff.

Because alcohol and marijuana are generally regarded as socially acceptable, they are often where it all starts ...

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which means you're more inclined to be 'up to' trying something new like using drugs for the first time, whether it be ecstasy, cocaine, LSD, speed or heroin.

I used all those drugs for the first time when I was drunk - and once I'd crossed that initial boundary for the first time, it was much easier to do it again ... and again ... and again ...

I think most of us have some kind of built in mental threshold towards using drugs developed by our upbringing, values, beliefs, etc. - but once we cross that threshold for the first time, it just becomes so much easier to do it again.

Alcohol just helps lower that threshold and gets you started on the road to using. And for those of us with an addict inside of us waiting to come out - that's all the help we need - and as a result can become one of the major causes of drug addiction.

Marijuana is similar because its regarded as pretty harmless by so many, so you're more inclined to try it out. Most people will leave things there. But if you're pre-disposed toward addiction, marijuana will simply be the stepping stone onto harder and more dangerous drugs.

Now for the record, I personally don't believe marijuana is harmless at all. THC - its main active ingredient has increased in concentration over the last 30 years, making today's joints 5 to 50 times more potent than they used to be.

With the results being increased risk of developing respiratory diseases, memory damage, cancer, schizophrenia, leukaemia and birth defects in children for women who use when pregnant.

So even if you're just using marijuana on a regular basis and lead an otherwise normal life, don't dismiss the dangers marijuana hold and that many people have been seriously effected by it.

I know alcohol and marijuana (as gateway drugs) aren't one of the causes of drug addiction for every addict but I'm sure you'll find for many drug addicts, that alcohol and marijuana is where it all started.

Related Reading

  • The Causes of Alcoholism cover all the major causes and reasons in more depth and expand on what has been written here.
  • The Definition of Drug Addiction makes it pretty clear and provides a clear understanding of what defines someone with a genuine problem.

  • The controversial Drug Addiction Disease and Alcoholism Disease concepts. What are your thoughts? There is space provided for you to provide an opinion. And at this stage most seem to say 'No'
  • The Signs of Drug Addiction to look our for in yourself or someone you love. Breaks it down into what symptoms to look out for.
  • Drug Addiction Behavior and what the most common behaviors to look out for in a drug addict are. It isn't always obvious
  • Some of the latest Facts About Drug Addiction provided by the National Institute for Drug Abuse provide some telling insights and trends.

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