Avoiding the Initial Traps of Addiction

Every addiction starts somewhere. No matter how far someone has entrenched themselves within the chains of drug abuse, or anything like the matter, things always have a beginning. It’s an unfortunate fact as well given that addiction is usually never seen as that from the outset.
Oftentimes using harmful substances might seem like innocent instances of curiosity. Either that or usage may come as a result of being forced into certain situations either by peer pressure or some other means. But more importantly are the psychological factors that go into developing a substance abuse addiction. After all, to really understand why a person may continue with their mental quest to satisfy an addictive urge requires one to empathize with their psyche.
Situational circumstances are one thing, but to gain an outlook on what a real person believes is another thing entirely. To both encourage greater understanding, and hopefully provide education that will help others make choices that steer them away from addictive behavior, this article will cover the basics on what might lead the mind to latch onto addictions.
One of the key psychological elements in developing an addiction is when someone has poor impulse control. To varying degrees, one thing that separates humans from animals is the ability to cognitively resist physical urges. The power of the human brain is integral to this since it enables us to make morally-based judgments as to whether or not to go through with a decision.
But when one has higher impulsivity (or tendency to make impulsive decisions), this becomes a problem. Even fleeting thoughts of not wanting to commit a perversely-affecting act can be insufficient towards saying “No.” In this instance, the craving simply takes over.
Writing for the website Psychology Today, Dr. Adi Jaffe—a UCLA lecturer as well as CEO of a company that produces educational health-related podcasts—shared his thoughts on the matter of impulse control. He explained this phenomenon of poor impulse control by sharing an example related to one-night stands:
“A typical person with no impulse control issues may hold off on sex if the only option was to have it unprotected. They may think to themselves “I need to stop, this could seriously affect the rest of my life.” A person who has a reduced ability to control initial impulses may have exactly the same thought and yet go through with the action, leaving them feeling remorseful and anxious the next day, but still having put themselves at risk.”
Dr. Jaffe also mentioned that he believes that increased impulsivity may lead someone to put themselves into risky situations.
Even when someone claims to have a mental desire to avoid their addictive behavior, they may find themselves in a place where they may not be able to escape. These may include a sex addict choosing to spend time with men/women other than their own significant other; a smoker visiting stores that sell cigarettes with very visible displays, or perhaps a serious gamer having nothing else planned for his/her day.
That’s why it’s important to be there for people who have problems, because they may need a voice other than their own to convince them to stay away.
Peer Pressure
Nobody likes to feel embarrassed around their friends. Some of the strongest cases of domestic bravery occur when they have to say no to “friends” that lead them to make poor decisions.
For those who do reject seemingly kind offers to consume alcohol or other types of drugs with friends, I commend their decisions. But not everybody has the capacity to deny their closest associates satisfaction, and I empathize with that as well. The fact is that a vast number of addictions start because someone simply didn’t turn down an off after feeling pressured.
According to Project Know, when alcohol or drugs are first used at an early age, the risk of developing an addiction greatly increases. It’s been noted that young addicts, when confronted with the topic of being peer pressured into drug abuse typically remembered specific phrases such as “everyone is doing it,” “it seemed fun at the time,” or “I could fit in.”
Whether or not you’re a parent of a youth that got entangled with drugs, be the kind of role model that can help them learn better for themselves. Who knows: you may save them from a lifetime of pain and sorrow.
Improper Usage of Prescription Drugs
Doctors and medical professionals may give warnings as to how their prescriptions are used, but does that always mean their patients will follow suit? No, and medical professionals should probably expect this too.
Once prescription drugs leave the pharmacy counter and enter the hands of ill consumers, it’s on them. They must follow the letter of the instructions or they may face multiple physical consequences.
Many people believe prescription drugs aren’t as dangerous as street drugs, like heroin and meth but nothing is further from the truth. Prescription drugs are made with the same addictive materials as street drugs and can be just as addictive and dangerous.
Prescription drugs are designed to help, but even so, those very substances engineered to heal the human body can be equally destructive. If one allows these substances to develop a dependency within their body through improper usage, serious problems can (and will) come.
Be Aware and Act
Hopefully, if this information piqued your interest, you will continue researching more ways as to why addiction occurs. More importantly, you should recognize that this information can be used as a tool either to benefit others or yourself.
Who knows if addiction will ever not be an issue in society given that it goes back to basic human tendencies, but it sure shouldn’t ever get worse. Lives and families will be destroyed unless we do something to protect those we hold dear, including ourselves. Allow this to be your first step in your path to becoming more informed, and hopefully, empathetic.