There are many reasons that a person may experience addiction (substance use disorder). Many substances are ‘addictive’ and can lead to physical dependence if used regularly and repeatedly. Curiosity and experimentation in using Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) substances often occurs in teenage years or as young adults though for the majority of people, doesn’t result in dependence.
For some though, the feeling of euphoria helps them to relax or ‘switch off’ or feel more confident in social settings and continued regular use can cause dependence. People who experience a substance use disorder overwhelmingly can identify underlying trauma or adverse experiences that have created memories and/or unwanted painful emotions that can be altered by using AOD substance.
These experiences maybe from childhood or from later in life and include physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, accidents and traumatic events, grief and loss and abandonment and rejection and many others. There are those too who find AOD substances can help reduce feeling of anxiety or depression and other mental health related challenges. Whatever the causation factors are, everyone is an individual and treatment needs to reflect the individual’s needs. We see often that people experiencing addiction can benefit from developing skills and tools to navigate life and its challenges without needing to rely on substance use.