3 Main Psychological Causes of Drug Abuse
The main psychological causes of drug abuse are social isolation, unresolved trauma, and lack of social integration. As psychologists like Gabor Mate have [expressed], a lack of belonging and feeling socially unintegrated are often key factors in those who develop drug abuse and drug addiction.
In addition, growing up in a setting where drugs are prevalent or culturally reinforced can lead to becoming dependent on them. In terms of psychological factors, the primary ones are feeling no sense of belonging and running from unresolved trauma inside.
Lack of Developmental Maturity
The developmental maturity of a person is one psychological reason for addiction. What distinguishes mature humans from immature ones is their ability to match their behaviors with their ideas and ideals. Humans are distinguished from other animals by this ability.
We are functioning at the developmental level of a two-year-old kid if we behave without thinking and instead act on every desire, whim, or instinct. Addictions such as heroin addiction may arise as a result of a lack of developmental maturity.
Mental, Physical, and Environmental Factors
Drug abuse can lead to devastating effects on an individual’s physical and mental health.
• Existent Mental Illness
This is one of the biggest psychological causes of drug abuse in young women. A study at the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse has found that young women are at a much higher risk of becoming dependent on drugs compared to men.
• Trauma and Development
Early traumatic experiences can significantly increase the chances of drug abuse as those struggling to process traumatic events turn to drugs as a coping mechanism and to self-medicate. Other factors such as the environment in which a child grows up can influence the likelihood of future drug abuse. Peer pressure, parental guidance, and stress in childhood can all contribute to psychological causes of drug abuse.
Genetics also play a role in drug abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NDA) estimates that genetic factors account for around 40-60% of a person’s susceptibility to drug use.
Most of human behavior is learned from what we observe around us. If we believe that recovery is not possible or that we should avoid doing anything, our thoughts might lead to addictive behaviors. Acting according to our thoughts, which are often triggered by a craving or an impulse, impairs our ability to manage our actions and develop strategies to avoid experiencing negative consequences.
Drug addiction can also be a way to cope with stress and uncomfortable feelings, but with the help of psychotherapy, people can improve their motivation and reduce their stress levels.
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