5 Typical Scenarios Leading to Drug Addiction

Let’s face it.  No one wakes up and says, “I wish I could become a drug addict and an alcoholic.”  Substance use disorders are complex processes that affect the body, mind and spirit of a person.  These are five typical scenarios common to those struggling with addiction.  An honest review can help determine if you or a loved one falls into one or more of these categories.

If you or a loved one struggles with drug addiction, call 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) now to be matched with a treatment program. 

Family History of Addiction

For some families, alcoholism and addiction is as prevalent as a family crest.  For generations, different family members have struggled with addiction to one or more substances.  Even in families where parents are non-drinkers, but children have turned to drug and alcohol abuse, one can usually trace back to a grandparent or other relative who also abused substances.  Experts differ on whether the problem is a learned behavior or a genetic abnormality, but various researchers have determined that family history is an accurate predictor for a propensity toward substance use disorder.

Childhood Emotional Trauma

Drug Addiction

Those with a history of trauma are at high risk of abusing substances as adults.

Trauma affects people deeply, particularly those experiences occurring in childhood.  Without counseling, teens and young adults often seek to quell the overwhelming effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms by self-medicating.  Physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood nearly guarantees eventual substance use disorders.  Studies reveal a strong co-morbidity in the presence of addiction in persons who have experienced childhood trauma.

Underlying Mental Health Concerns

Mental illnesses and disorders are often undertreated in our society.  People experience a variety of issues each day that can lead to self-medicating with substances.  Chronic mental health issues are a huge predictor of substance use disorders, as well.

It is often difficult to tell which condition arose first.  Treating mental health concerns in concert with addressing substance use disorders is important for people struggling with addiction issues.  Below are some common mental health concerns that go hand-in-hand with addiction:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • PTSD

Medical Condition Leading to Abuse of Prescription Narcotics

Sometimes addiction starts off with a very real need for the administration of prescription narcotics.  For patients who have been in serious automobile accidents, or those suffering from a variety of chronic, debilitating conditions, prescription narcotics can improve healing outcomes for patients.

However, in more cases than doctors like to admit, prescription narcotics quickly become part of the problem rather than a part of the cure.  In as little as two weeks, patients can develop physical dependence upon pain medications.  After a relatively short period of use, patients may also develop a tolerance for drugs and require more medication to experience relief.  This sets patients up for the perils of addiction cycles.

Drug Abuse and Treatment Awareness

Recreational Use Leading to Habitual Use

At one point or another, almost everyone is exposed to some sort of alcohol or drug.  Seeking fun, excitement and intimacy with friends, people turn to chemicals for recreation.  Because of the way drugs act in the brain, many people experience a greater feeling of euphoria upon recreational use.  These people are at greater risk of becoming substance abusers.

Underlying tendencies and genetic predispositions can create the perfect storm of addiction for some users to move into the category of chronic substance abusers.  Reaching out for help is the only chance to face any of these scenarios and step onto the journey toward a sober, rewarding life.

We can help you begin your recovery journey; call 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) today.


Bevilacqua, L. & Goldman, D. (2009). Genes and addictions. Clinical Pharmacological Therapy. 85(4): 859- 861. Retrieved on March 19, 2017 from:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2715956/

Gould, T. (2010). Addiction and cognition. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice. 5(2): 4-14. Retrieved on March 19, 2017 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3120118/

Khoury, L., Tang, Y., Bradley, B., Cubells, J., et al. (2010). Substance use, childhood traumatic experience and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in an urban civilian population. Depression and Anxiety. 27(12): 1077-1086. Retrieved on March 19, 2017 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051362/