7 Common Causes of Addiction Disorders

Those who suffer from addiction disorders often lack control over their actions, behaviors, and impulses. In many cases, addiction eventually reaches a point to where it can harm your health, relationships, career, financial stability, and overall livelihood.

Addiction disorders can be caused by one or more factors that stem from physical, mental, or emotional reasons, and can involve substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, or behaviors such as gambling, stealing, and hair-pulling.

Because there are often one or several contributing factors that lend to addiction disorders, it can be difficult for doctors and healthcare professionals to get to the root cause of addiction. However, there are several risk factors and causes known to trigger most addiction disorders.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from an addiction disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help and support. Call our helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) to speak to an addiction specialist who can offer resources and treatment options for your addiction.

Here are 7 common causes and risk factors associated with most types of addiction disorders.

1. Genetics and Family History

Causes of Addiction

People with mental disorders are more likely to develop addictions.

Researchers and geneticists have found that genetics may play a role in certain addiction disorders. For instance, studies have shown that those addicted to nicotine may have developed their addictions due to the way their brains interact with the chemical based on genetics. This means if their parents were heavy smokers, their brain receptors might be more easily influenced by nicotine — leading to addiction.

Other studies have found that levels of certain brain chemicals and neurotransmitters can be passed down from parents to their children. For example, if a parent lacks endorphins, their children might also lack the amount of endorphins needed to combat and avoid addiction.

2. Gender

Research shows that certain genders may be more predisposed to certain addiction disorders. For example, males are more likely to suffer from alcohol addiction, while women are more likely to suffer from prescription drug abuse.

The reasons certain genders tend to develop different addictions is largely unknown, but some scientists suspect hormone imbalances in both genders can influence the onset of certain addiction disorders.

3. Co-existing Mental Disorder

Individuals who suffer from mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression are often at higher risk for developing addiction disorders. In many cases, those with mental disorders develop addictions to cope with and seek temporary relief from symptoms such as anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, and fatigue. Unfortunately, those with mental disorders can worsen their conditions by forming addictions.

4. Environment

Children who grow up in homes and environments in which addiction is present are more likely to develop addiction disorders at some point in their lives. This is because children who witness addictive behaviors on a consistent basis tend to view these types of behaviors as normal, and go on to develop the same habits.

5. Difficulty With Handling Emotions

Individuals who have problems expressing and managing their emotions can form addiction disorders as a way to cope. For instance, those who suffer from social anxiety may turn to alcohol to help them feel more social and outgoing, while those suffering from depression might turn to drugs to numb feelings of stress and pain.

6. Nature of Certain Substances

The chemical properties and nature of certain substances can trigger addiction more quickly and intensely than other substances. For example, heroin is highly addictive due to the way it activates the reward section of the brain and leads to physical dependence. Other illicit drugs such as crack and cocaine work in the same manner, and can lead to dangerous, life-threatening addiction problems.

7. Tolerance Level

The risk for addiction is higher in individuals who develop a tolerance to certain substances or behaviors. When a person consistently abuses a substance, they eventually stop experiencing pleasure and have to increase doses. When these same individuals start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, the risk for addiction is greater due to increased tolerance levels.

When left untreated, addiction disorders can lead to adverse effects on your health, life, and overall well-being. If you have an addiction disorder or suspect you might have a problem with addiction, your next step is to get help so you can work on overcoming your addiction and improving your overall quality of life. Call our helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) to speak to an addiction specialist who can help you find professional treatment for your condition.


I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW800-598-5053Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on Disorders.org.

All calls are private and confidential.