Posted: March 6th, 2023
Addiction is a behavior that has psychological, emotional, and physical components. It is the compulsive seeking or use of a substance despite its known harmful effects on the individual’s life. In researching addiction it has become evident that there are many variables influencing addiction including psychological and emotional ones (Germain & Nock, 2016). This paper will analyze the psychological and emotional variables that influence addiction.
Psychologically speaking, addictions can be seen as an escape from reality in that they provide pleasure or relief from negative emotions such as loneliness, boredom, anger or sadness (Griffiths et al., 2018). People may also use addictive substances to cope with stressors in their lives such as poverty or relationship problems which can lead to feelings of guilt, shame and depression (Laudet et al., 2015). Research suggests that individuals who suffer from mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety are more likely to develop an addiction than those without these conditions (Hser et al., 2012). Furthermore, people who engage in risky behaviors due to impulsivity may find themselves struggling with addictive behaviors over time. Low self-esteem is another variable identified by research when looking at psychological influences of addiction. Those suffering from low self esteem often engage in activities to increase their pleasure and reduce any negative feelings about themselves (Zhang & Chen 2009).
Emotionally speaking there are numerous factors associated with the development of an addiction disorder. Some studies suggest that early trauma experienced during childhood can lead individuals to seek out substances for comfort due to unresolved pain from past experiences (Miller & Downey 2020). They may feel emotionally vulnerable after experiencing childhood abuse which could lead them towards abusing substances used for numbing out traumatic memories or suppressing intense emotions like anger and fear. Additionally having family members who struggle with substance abuse issues often increases experimentation among adolescents leading them down paths of substance misuse into adulthood (Lee et al., 2013) . Individuals going through major life transitions like graduation , marriage , divorce etc tend to experience a lot changes emotionally making them more prone towards engaging in destructive habits like using drugs for coping purposes(Klonsky 2019).
Finally it must be noted that certain cultures have established norms regarding alcohol consumption so certain populations exposed too much too soon have higher chances for developing substance misuse issues later on( Anderson 2017 ). All this being said it becomes clear how crucial Psychological and emotional variables are important catalysts contributing towards an individual’s journey into the realm of Substance Abuse .
In conclusion , Addiction is both a physical disease but also one which involves strong psychological/emotional components requiring further investigation before effective treatments can be developed . The various examples outlined above demonstrated how powerful external forces such as familial pressures , cultural influences etc combined with internal drivers like unresolved trauma ,low self esteem etc combine together forming dangerous trajectories leading someone into compulsive drugseeking behavior . Hence we must understand fully these core dynamics if we wish trying our best understanding the complex nature underlying this global phenomenon called ‘addiction’
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