Causes of California Addiction

Addiction is a complicated disease. For the longest time our society looked at addiction as a personal failing on the part of the user. It was looked at as neither nature or nurture, but rather, laziness, and the habits of criminal. These days the government and medical professionals are realizing that addiction is at its root both nature and nurture. It is a complicated mixture of different sorts of inputs. Because people are realizing that addiction is a disease informed by various different elements, our society are more willing to have compassion for those suffering, and with that, communities and federal and state governments alike are creating more and more programs to help users get clean and live a sober life.


Chemical dependency happens when one takes a drug long enough or imbibes enough alcohol that their brain chemistry changes. This is when tolerance builds and when, if the addict stops using, withdrawal symptoms become a concern. It takes less of an addictive substance than you may think to alter your body’s natural chemical functions. But what are some of the specific causes that make Californian’s want to reach for the kind of substances that dull the senses and change your physical state? Family genes do come in to play here. If your mother or father, or other close family member are plagued with an addiction, it’s more likely that you will be too. But there are other reasons such as mental health disorders, trauma and exposure to the substance at an early age which may cause someone to have more than just a genetic proclivity to addiction.


When researching substance abuse recovery, it’s important to keep these underlying reasons in mind, realizing that treatment for comorbidity and trauma is an absolutely vital part of any substance abuse program.


Comorbid Mental/Emotional Disorders

Mental health disorders play a huge roll in the likelihood that someone from California will develop an addiction to illicit or prescribed substances.  According to the latest study by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 4% of Californians suffer from a serious mental illness, and roughly the same number, 4% had suicidal ideations. The devastating part is that only about 63% of the adults surveyed with mental illness actually sought treatment for their disorders.


With California addiction recovery programs becoming more popular and respected in our society, it’s important for programs to focus on treating not only the addiction, but also the dual diagnosis of mental illness present in the user. A dual diagnosis is the diagnosis of a mental health disorder with the diagnosis of chemical dependence. It’s not clear, generally which feeds the other, but it is not possible to reach full recovery from either if both disorders aren’t treated simultaneously.


Common Co-occurring Disorders:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depression
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • OCD
  • PTSD


If someone suspects they may suffer from dual diagnosis, the best route of care is to seek out a California treatment center that focuses in on therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s best to find a program that fits treatment to the individual patient. Allowing for specific therapies that target the particular dual diagnosis the user suffers from.

Abuse and Other Traumatic Life Events


Traumatic events such as childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can often lead to substance abuse and addiction. Domestic violence and troubling work conditions or a lack of work life balance to the extreme can also lead to addiction. Likewise, being a survivor of a devastating natural disaster, spending time in the military, or losing a loved one to violence or suicide can catalyze the need for someone to turn to a source for escapism. That source is often an addictive substance. It numbs the pain or distracts from the lingering trauma often eating away at them. A person suffering from this sort of trauma is almost always hurting to the degree that they are grasping at any kind of coping mechanism that they can to keep going.


These victims of trauma are often veterans. Military violence including military sexual violence against women and homosexual members of the military provide ample reasons for a veteran to leave the military with the kind of trauma that lasts, especially when it goes untreated. California has 2 million of the countries 22 million veterans, according to the countries most recent census. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, nearly 20% of veterans come back from their time in the military with PTSD. Many of those same veterans struggle with self medicating through addictive substances. This is a crisis for the veteran community.


Additionally childhood trauma is one of the leading reasons a person struggles with addiction. According to one study nearly half of all children nationally and by state have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience. This could leave a child with PTSD, anxiety disorder, or depression, all of which can lead to chronic drug use and eventually addiction.

Initiating Substance Use at an Early Age


If a person is exposed to an addictive substance at an early age they are far more likely to become an addict. There are plenty of reasons why an addict may have experienced an addictive substance at an early age. Some people have a parent or loved one who have an addiction. Some adolescents begin drinking at a party or at a friend’s house. Some people are given the substance by a trusted adult. Either way, those who begin using at an early age have an even harder time stopping their drug or alcohol use than others.  According to a recent SAMHSA California Barometer, more than 10% of California teenagers use illicit substances and just shy of 15% binge alcohol.


Many of the youth whose addiction begins in their teens end up with less employment history, have built up less life skills to deal with difficult and stressful situations, not to mention everyday responsibilities. Because of this as the addict becomes an adult the complications they face due to these holes in their normal development causes even more trouble with depression, anxiety, and often poverty, which simply reinforce their addiction.


If you know of an adolescent in California who is already addicted to drugs or alcohol it is imperative that they seek treatment now. An early addict needs to seek out alcohol and drug treatment programs that include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as a strong relapse prevention program.

How Dual Diagnosis California Addiction Treatment Can Help


The correlations between trauma, mental illness, and early exposure are clear. The solution is to seek out recovery programs that focuses on an individuation of treatment especially in consideration of dual diagnosis. Many of these reasons are coexisting for addicts. Someone who has suffered great trauma as a veteran may also have started drinking at a young age. Someone who grew up with an alcoholic father perhaps also has bipolar disorder. But either way, a program that focuses on the individual addict will best be able to treat the addict.


Through Aspire Health Network a Californian will be able to find quality and individual focused treatment for dual diagnosis. If a person is uninterested in remaining in California for treatment Aspire Health Network includes treatment centers in such states as Washington and Alaska. Sometimes getting out of the environment that a patient was in while they developed an addiction can make it easier to avoid triggers and cravings.


Treatment for a dual diagnosis helps you to be able to process trauma, learn life skills for dealing with anxiety, stress, or other difficult emotions, and allows you to process trauma, all while dealing with the medical fallout of addiction.


If you are looking for a program in California that treats for dual diagnosis, contact us today to learn more about Aspire Health Network’s quality treatment programs.