Over the years, the addiction industry has insisted on the genetic model of addiction as the only acceptable paradigm. However, while genetics can certainly be a contributing factor to the development of drug addiction or alcoholism, it often only offers a partial picture. In fact, twin studies and other scientific research show that genetics only plays a percentage part in the development of addiction, with at least half of the equation attributable to emotional and psychological factors. Beyond the genetics model for addiction, we can consider a holistic view of alcoholism and drug dependency that acknowledges the minor genetic component, but seeks to find resolvable root causes that have led to alcoholism and addiction in the first place.
Reaching Beyond the Genetics Model for Addiction
While genetic predisposition can play a role in the development of drug or alcohol addiction, it likely isn’t the core cause of either condition. In fact, there are four other major reasons that alcoholism and drug addiction develop in dependent individuals.
- Chemical Imbalance
Chemical imbalances occur in the body due to two main reasons. Sometimes, preexistence medical conditions cause dependent individuals to self-medicate by using alcohol or drugs. In other instances, chemical imbalances become created by alcohol or drug intake itself, as dosage amount and frequency increase. As alcohol or drug use develops and escalates, the “need” to use heightens, as chemical changes become triggered in the brain and withdrawal begins to kick in during the time in between uses. In fact, research has shown that as little as a single drink daily can lead the body to initiate a chemical imbalance, predictably leading to alcohol dependency as time passes.
- Unresolved Emotional Pain
Buried emotional trauma or heartache often lies at the core of alcohol or drug addiction. In these cases, the mind has repressed and refused to deal with lingering memories due to the inner turmoil, anger, fear or intense sorrow they have caused. As a result, alcohol or drug use becomes a means of escaping these memories, and as a way to compensate for the emotional and psychological damage they have wrought.
- Inability to Cope With Life Challenges
We learn our coping strategies quite young, and some of us didn’t have the best role models for dealing with life’s inherent challenges. We also might encounter personal tragedies, peer pressure, toxic or abusive situations, heartbreak or job loss, leading us to feel unable to manage our situations and ourselves. As a result, drug addiction or alcoholism become a shortcut to lasting coping strategies.
- Negative Self Views
Many alcohol or drug dependent individuals suffer from incredibly low self-esteem. Often received by others’ negative voices, or due to a lack of correct perspective on life events, negative self views prevent us from treating ourselves with dignity and respect. As a result, many alcohol or drug dependent individuals “throw in the towel,” believing themselves to be incapable or unworthy of accomplishment, enjoyment, love or healing.
Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by dialing our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.
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