Open Accessibility Menu
The Root Cause of Addiction: How to Identify and Address Addiction Risk Factors

The Root Cause of Addiction: How to Identify and Address Addiction Risk Factors

Silver Ridge

Addiction is a highly complex disease that affects thought and behavior and takes a toll on body, mind and spirit. Substance abuse and addiction almost always have underlying causes, and these roots of addiction must be addressed in order to end an addiction for the long-term.

The most common roots of addiction are chronic stress, a history of trauma, mental illness and a family history of addiction. Understanding how these can lead to chronic substance abuse and addiction will help you reduce your risk of becoming addicted. Here, we will discuss addiction and its roots, and we’ll look at practical ways in which you can lower your risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is characterized by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol even though using is causing problems in your life. This compulsive drug use despite negative consequences is the result of changes in brain function and structure that affect your thought patterns and behaviors.

When you use drugs or alcohol, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain, causing feelings of pleasure. The memory region of the brain records a memory of this feeling. The learning center forms connections between the pleasure, the drug use and the environmental cues that are present during use, which are known as triggers.

Over time, the connection the brain makes between using and the pleasure it produces becomes stronger and may lead to intense cravings. These powerful cravings are produced by the same mechanisms that drive us to eat food and procreate in order to survive. Changes in brain function and structure resulting from addiction affect the way we think and behave.

That’s why it’s so easy to justify your drug use. It’s easy to sink into denial that there even is a problem. It’s easy to make excuses for yourself. And it’s easy to do things that you would never have done before you became addicted, like be dishonest or steal.

Addiction will grow progressively worse if it’s not treated. It will also likely lead to dependence, which occurs when changes in brain function cause the brain to operate more “normally” when drugs or alcohol are present than when they’re not.

When you stop using a substance once you’ve developed a dependence on it, normal brain function will begin to rebound. This causes the onset of withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to severe.

Substance Abuse Is the First Step to Addiction

Some people argue that addiction is a choice, but science says otherwise. It is true that engaging in substance abuse is a choice—at first. Substance abuse is the act of using drugs or alcohol in a way that causes problems in your life, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.1 These problems may involve your relationships, finances or health. They may stem from legal troubles or from taking risks you wouldn’t otherwise take, such as having unprotected sex.

People abuse drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons: …

Do you like what you’re reading? Read the entire eBook for free.




Focus, Healing, and Recovery

Life at Silver Ridge is purposely designed to provide the safest and most restorative healing environment on the East Coast. If you would like to learn more about Silver Ridge or begin addiction treatment today, please call (855) 945-7788 or fill out the form and one of our admissions staff will be in touch with you soon.

  • Please enter your First Name.
  • Please enter your Last Name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Sivermist
    Sivermist Sivermist

    Offering luxury residential treatment at a private residence in rural southwestern Pennsylvania.

  • REAL Recovery
    REAL Recovery REAL Recovery

    Providing high-quality, adventure-based and personalized care with four sober homes for men ages 18-28 in Asheville, North Carolina.

  • High Focus Centers
    High Focus Centers High Focus Centers

    The premier provider of structured outpatient behavioral health and addiction treatment programs in New Jersey.

  • Rehab After Work
    Rehab After Work Rehab After Work

    The leading provider of outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs in Pennsylvania.

  • Pyramid Healthcare Inc
    Pyramid Healthcare Inc Pyramid Healthcare Inc

    A premier provider of behavioral healthcare founded in 1999 offering a full continuum of recovery services for adults and teens at 24 locations in PA.

  • The light program
    The light program The light program

    Treating individuals in crisis or struggling to function through mental health Intensive Outpatient programs at locations in southeastern Pennsylvania.

  • Seeds of hope
    Seeds of hope Seeds of hope

    Providing specialized Intensive Outpatient eating disorder treatment for teens and adults in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

  • Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP
    Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP

    Providing comprehensive Employee Assistance Program services to employers nationwide.

  • Mazzitti & Sullivan
    Mazzitti & Sullivan Mazzitti & Sullivan

    Providing behavioral health services in central Pennsylvania since 1983, now operating five different locations.

  • Tapestry
    Tapestry Tapestry

    Tapestry Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

  • Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare
    Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare

    Serving the Atlanta, Georgia area adolescents and adults suffering from Mood Disorders.

  • October Road Inc
    October Road Inc October Road Inc

    Serving the Asheville, North Carolina area with high-quality mental health and substance abuse treatment since 2006.

  • Walden
    Walden Walden

    Offering treatment & support options in Southern Maryland for those struggling with addiction and mental health.