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The Effect Environment Has On Addiction

Addiction is a family disease often with deep roots in genetics, trauma, mental and behavioral issues, relationships and family history. Studies have found that one of the most significant influences on an individual’s addiction is the environment. The home, school, and work atmospheres – as well as the availability and acceptance of drugs and alcohol,  can all affect a person’s drug use, use, and addiction.

The Family And The Home Environment

Some of a person’s earliest interactions in life can contribute to some of the biggest factors in his or her development. Because of this, the home in which an individual grows up may have a strong influence on his or her use of drugs or alcohol. Children raised in homes that are disrupted by certain factors, including trauma, are more likely to become addicted later in life. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Mental and behavioral illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • Domestic violence
  • Verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Criminal behavior
  • Divorce
  • Neglect

These household disruptions can amplify stress and may cause some family members to seek an escape through drugs and alcohol. Children who are exposed to family members who use or are addicted to substances are at a greater risk for developing their own addictions later in life. It’s possible that living in homes with drug and alcohol use normalizes the behavior – and as a child grows up seeing parents use alcohol and drugs to cope, the child learns to also use substances to cope. Happiness levels and the overall strength of family relationships can also affect substance use in young adults. The home environment may also influence addiction in adults, as well. For example, an adult may be influenced by a spouse who uses drugs – hoping to experience and understand the allure. Instead of fighting about the drugs, a once-sober spouse might use in order to make and keep peace within the household. [inline_cta_four]

Peers: School Or Work Environments

Peer groups including friends and acquaintances can also play a large role in a person’s substance addiction, especially in young adults. Peers that use painkillers, alcohol, and even heroin can sway friends to try drugs for the first time. A person with low self-esteem, poor social skills, or academic or professional failure may be at further risk for becoming addicted to drugs. Working in an environment in which drug, such as amphetamines or cocaine, run rampant – may also can contribute to addiction. People may see or hear of their co-workers using stimulants on a daily basis in order to sustain their work output. This behavior can normalize drug use, and make the person feel as though using substances is both common and harmless.

Availability And Acceptance In The Environment

Living or working in an environment where alcohol and drugs are readily or often available can increase vulnerability to developing an addiction. Exposure to substances on a regular or semi-regular basis normalizes drug use and can make individuals more liable to drug seeking-behavior, and as a result – addiction. In environments, communities, cultures or societies where drugs and alcohol are seen as acceptable – substance use, and eventually addiction, are more prominent. For example, in communities where people may regularly see neighbors buying drugs on the street or waiting on drug deals, or are exposed to any type of drug paraphernalia. Living in a crime-laden community that is accepting of illicit drug-use like this can also be stressful – and some people may turn to drugs or alcohol in order to calm their nerves.

No Set Rules

Just because an individual is exposed to these types of environments doesn’t guarantee he or she will develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Each person has a unique, genetic component and experience that can mold their development. While these environments are general patterns that increase the chances for developing a substance addiction, there are no set rules that people that determine specifically who will, and who will not – eventually become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

We Can Help Change Your Environment

Drug and alcohol addiction is difficult enough without facing it on your own. A program that gets you out of an unhealthy environment can help you develop an ability to cope without the need for drugs or alcohol. If you or a loved one needs to start a substance use program that offers inpatient or long-term therapy as part of their overall treatment plan, Vertava Health provides the information to help you pick the right facility for your needs. Take your first step forward toward recovery and contact us today.