Addiction is characterized as the compulsive use and seeking of a substance to curb a habitual craving. Though many addicts do not realize, addiction is considered a disease because of the way it alters the makeup of the brain—drugs and alcohol actually change the very structure of your brain and how it works. Some of these changes are irreversible. People consume drugs for a variety of different reasons, but the base is to simply feel or do better. The term “better” is the lie that initially ensnares an addict and makes them believe that using has positive benefits. Addicts also believe that they are capable of controlling their drug use or alcohol consumption, only to have their addiction spiral out of control later down the road. There is no way to determine who will and will not become addicted to drugs after a single or first few uses, but there are a few risk factors that are associated with increased drug use.
Aggressive Behavior During Childhood
Children who express aggressive behaviors or other behavioral problems are more likely to fall victim to substance abuse in the future. This is because many children who have trouble in these areas are dealing with an underlying factor, such as a cognitive issue or abuse. The root cause for the addiction is not necessarily the behavior but the driving force behind that behavior. It is critical that parents of children who struggle with behavioral issues seek help for their child through counseling services. Learning good self-control and coping mechanisms will aid in mitigating against the risk of substance abuse.
Family and Home Life
One of the most important factors, especially during the tender years of childhood, is home life. With little to no parental guidance, an adolescent is more likely to experience with addictive substances. Growing up in an abusive home or with parents who use drugs themselves often acts like a link in a chain—creating a cycle of drug use that is very difficult to break. To combat this, children and adults who spent years in a difficult family situation should seek guidance and counseling for their hardships.
School and Peers
Friendships, as well as school environment, also play a factor in addiction. Friends have an enormous influence during the adolescent years, and are capable of convincing a young adult to try drugs for the first time, leading to a lasting addiction. The development of poor social skills or failing at academics can put a child at further risk. The goal is to point a child towards academic success and pride in the school community that they are a part of.
Seek Counseling Services or Addiction Therapy Today
If you, or your child, are fighting against one or more of these risk factors, counseling services and addiction therapy are crucial to getting you on the path towards success in recovery. For more information, visit our treatments page or contact a representative with South Coast Counseling today.