Leading Causes of Addiction

Hope Not Dope Concept

As a therapist, I have been privileged to address some of the reasons that led a person to start drinking or using drugs which over time led to a substance abuse addiction.

Sexual abuse is one of those reasons, particularly childhood sexual abuse. Those who were abused sexually as a child by a parent, a mother’s boyfriend, an uncle, an aunt, a grandfather, a sibling, or a neighbor didn’t know how to handle all the feelings that result from that kind of abuse. At a certain age they began to numb out their feelings with alcohol or drugs. Perhaps they were threatened as children to keep the abuse secret so they had no one to talk to about it. Alcohol and drugs helped them to stuff their feelings. Sometimes when they did tell their mother or caregiver, that adult didn’t believe them.

They felt helpless with no one to protect them. So once again they turned to alcohol and drugs. When a person gets into substance abuse treatment and recovery, memories begin to surface. This is the time for the person to find a good counselor/therapist who can help them deal with the memories and the feelings associated with the abuse. Therapy can assist the addict or alcoholic in addressing one of the root causes of their addiction.

Another reason that some persons have an addiction to drugs or alcohol is unresolved grief. Many of the addicts and alcoholics that I have counseled had never worked through the loss of a mother, a father, a sibling, a grandparent, a child, a favorite aunt who raised them, a significant other. Some had lost friends who overdosed, were killed, or committed suicide.

In addition to the grief and loss, they also went through a trauma and suffered with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They had no one to talk to who could help them deal with the feelings associated with the grief process and the aftermath of the trauma. Once again therapy can assist the alcoholic and addict who is in treatment and recovery to address these reasons for turning to drugs and alcohol to numb out their pain.

I have seen the healing that is possible for those who choose to get therapy for these underlying causes of their addiction. I would strongly recommend finding a good counselor or therapist if you are in a 12-Step Program and realize that you have grief, trauma, or sexual abuse issues. It will make a significant difference in your life and in your ability to stay clean and sober.