Understanding the 5 factors that contribute to substance abuse can help you develop healthier habits to cope with a range of issues.
Substance abuse is the act of using drugs or alcohol in a way that causes problems in your life. These may include problems with your finances, relationships, or physical or mental health, or they may involve legal troubles stemming from your substance abuse. They may result from the risks you take while seeking or using drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse can cause a range of health problems, including addiction and dependence. Knowing the most common 5 factors that contribute to substance abuse can help you get help before your substance abuse transitions to addiction and dependence.
A co-occurring mental illness is one of the most common of the 5 factors that contribute to substance abuse. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a third of all people who have any mental illness –and half of those with a serious mental illness–abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Conversely, one-third of people who abuse alcohol and half of those who use drugs also have a co-occurring mental illness.
One reason mental illness is such a strong factor for substance abuse is that many people self-medicate their symptoms with drugs or alcohol. Getting help for a mental illness, which ideally involves medication combined with therapy, is the best way to reduce your risk of addiction and dependence.
A History of Trauma
A history of trauma, especially that which occurred in childhood, is another one of the most common 5 factors that contribute to substance abuse. Being the victim of or witness to a traumatic event can have lasting effects on your mental health and can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, which includes symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, fear, and anger.
Many people with a history of trauma use drugs or alcohol to reduce these symptoms and suppress memories of the event. But getting help from a therapist to restore your sense of safety, wellbeing, and happiness is the best way to end the negative effects of trauma in your life and prevent substance abuse.
Many people who have chronic stress use drugs or alcohol to relax. Initially, this may seem to reduce the negative effects of stress, but drugs and alcohol almost always make your stress worse by reducing your body’s and brain’s ability to effectively cope with it.
Reducing your stress through deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and trying to reduce the stressors in your life is a better, more effective way to reduce stress.
Dysfunction in the household is one of the social factors that contribute to substance abuse. Family problems can lead to substance abuse as a way of coping with troubled relationships and stress or chaos in the home. Family therapy is an important part of treatment, because family dysfunction is a major trigger for relapse. It can help you repair damaged relationships, learn healthier ways of communicating, and reduce the negative emotions and behaviors associated with family dysfunction. Learning better communication skills can help mitigate other social factors that contribute to substance abuse, including peer pressure and social isolation.
A Lack of Purpose and Meaning in Life
People who have a lack of purpose and meaning in life or who are chronically bored are likely to use drugs or alcohol to feel better or more engaged with their life. A lack of purpose and meaning are important factors that influence drug abuse
Finding purpose and meaning is an important part of treatment, because people who feel useful and important are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Finding purpose is a matter of identifying your inherent strengths and values–we all have them–and finding a way to put them to use for the greater good.
Reducing the factors that influence drug abuse
These are just 5 factors that contribute to substance abuse. There are many others, and reducing the factors that influence drug abuse is largely a matter of developing healthier lifestyle habits, resolving interpersonal problems and any mental illnesses you may have, and finding fulfillment in life apart from drugs or alcohol.
If your substance abuse is causing problems in your life, call Better Addiction Care today at 1-800-429-7690, and let us help you find a high quality treatment program that will help you restore your life and end your substance abuse for good.