To understand what causes addiction in people, we first have to define addiction. The American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) and the World Health Organization (ICD-10) set the standards of what makes an individual be diagnosed with a drug abuse disorder. The patients must exhibit a minimum of the symptoms below: 

  • Limited control 
  • Desire to cut down on the use 
  • Risky use of a substance or behaving erratically to get more of the drug 
  • Negative consequences occurring in their lives 
  • A built-up tolerance 
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using 
  • Disinterest in socialization or activities  

Addiction is usually categorise into different phases, with the first being the early phase when the person is still functioning as usual. In this early stage, the person still has their careers and relationships intact. However, some specific areas in their lives may start to suffer due to the habit. When the person begins struggling to function well in society. He or she then progresses to the late stage, where they are likely to abandon their responsibilities, careers, and even relationships. It’s imperative to note that addiction is a progressive disease that worsens with time if no intervention is made.

Stages of Addiction

Stages of Addiction 

  • Experimentation- This is when a person engages in drug or alcohol use out of curiosity. 
  • Social or regular- This is when the person uses drugs or alcohol during social situations or for social reasons. 
  • Risk or problem- Uses the drugs or alcohol in an out-of-proportion manner without worrying about the consequences 
  • Dependency- Uses the drugs or alcohol daily, or even several times a day, despite the negative consequences associated with the behavior

Why People Develop Addictions 

In most cases, addiction results from people trying to numb their emotional pain, be it from anxiety, depression, trauma, or chemical imbalances. By diagnosing and treating these signs simultaneously, it’s possible to conquer these issues at once. One will also comprehend the functioning of the brain, as well as developing the coping skills necessary in combating the negative feelings and thoughts resulting from the mental health disorder or addiction. 

Family History of Addiction or Exposure  

The single exposure to alcohol and drugs in the house can increase the risk of other family members being addicts. The children are more vulnerable to start experimenting and eventually become addicts. Their emotional feelings can also lead to trauma, and eventually, addiction. 


Stress is highly linked to the motivation to use alcohol and abuse drugs. Stressful situations such as past physical and sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, dissatisfaction with work, unhappy marriages, bullying, harassment, and the likes are, in most cases, known to be significant catalysts for addiction. 

Poor Coping Skills 

Some people are unable to address and cope with stress, and hence, turn to other unhealthy coping mechanisms to continue functioning. These tend to be wrong behaviors that eventually lead to addiction. Detox of South Florida, which is one of that offers therapy and treatment classes that help in imparting coping skills, so that the patients can continue with their sober, healthy, and happy lives.