What are the 3 Things That Can Cause Addiction?

uppers and downers

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a complex situation involving both physical and psychological dependence on the substance. Addicts are often unable to quit on their own, and many of them have underlying mental health conditions or past trauma that they’re “self-medicating” with drinking or using drugs. Understanding the causes of addiction can help an addict successfully get and stay sober.

At Hickory Treatment Centers, we believe in treatment for the entire individual, including addressing the underlying causes of addiction. If you’re struggling with addiction, you aren’t alone. In fact, more than 23 million people in the US struggle with substance abuse. While some factors, such as a genetic predisposition, are fairly well-known causes of addiction, there are other factors that many people don’t consider, which increase an individual’s risk of addiction.


Many people drink or use drugs to escape the effects of unaddressed trauma. The psychological effects of trauma, including emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, can be intense and lingering. For many people, substance abuse provides self-preservation, and drugs or alcohol are used to “self-medicate” and dull the effects of past abuse.

One study about women in substance abuse programs noted that over 80% of the participants had been subject to either sexual or physical abuse in their past. Facing the incident and working through it with a counselor can help an addict get in a better frame of mind to work through a sobriety program.


While there isn’t a direct connection between a lack of money and drug or alcohol abuse, there is a relationship between financially disadvantaged people and people suffering from addiction. People who are in unstable circumstances may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the stressors of their situation and escape their circumstances.

The connection between poverty and addiction is a circular one. People in dire financial straits may be more likely to abuse drugs, and, as they sink deeper into the habit, the expense worsens their financial predicament. Drug or alcohol abuse also impacts the user’s ability to work, either through poor job performance or more frequent absences, which, in turn, also negatively impacts their finances.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often associated with grade-school drug abuse programs, but it’s actually more complicated than a 30-second commercial would suggest. For example, many addicts associate with others that drink or use drugs and may not have another circle of friends besides those that use. Or, their significant other or spouse may drink heavily, and the formerly sober spouse may join in simply to feel a greater connection or avoid fighting.

Fitting in is something that everyone longs for, and for many addicts, losing the social circle and relationships may be more challenging than quitting the drug itself. Helping an addict develop a new, sober, social support net increases their chances of success.


Most people who suffer from substance abuse may have one or more reasons for their addiction, and no two individuals’ circumstances are alike. While these reasons often contribute to addiction, they may not be the only causes for addiction. Even people who have suffered trauma, live in poverty, or have several friends who abuse substances may themselves not become addicts.

No matter the underlying causes of addiction, addiction is treatable through counseling, hard work, and therapy. If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. Hickory treatment Centers provides compassionate, professional drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Call us today for a personal consultation, and start your sober life path!

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If you have tried to stop using alcohol or drugs on your own, you may feel that sobriety and clean living seem far away. However, with the help of caring staff members and a safe, structured environment, you can receive the guidance you need to fight cravings and regain control of your life.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our admission staff or learn more about our healing programs.