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Addiction is a mental health disorder that disrupts your ability to function as you normally would. Like all mental health disorders, a combination of factors may be contributing to your personal struggle with drug or alcohol dependency. One of those factors could be your environment.
In this blog, we’ll explore a few of the most common ways your environment – both current and past – plays a role in your road to recovery. We’ll also offer actionable advice for repairing or avoiding future damage from environmental factors.
1. Lack of parental involvement
Negligent or indifferent parental involvement in your formative years increases your risk of drug and alcohol dependency. While you can’t do anything about the events of past, many things can be done to identify, address and reframe these incidents so that they do not influence or contaminate future thoughts and behaviors.
How to Take Action: Start the healing process by setting realistic expectations. We all have an image in our minds of what the parent-child relationship is supposed to look like. The problem is that this ideal may not be based on what is actually attainable. While we certainly understand the need for this image, there are other ways to contextualize your relationship. Only then can you start to understand and accept your relationship with your parents for what it is – and what it can be.
2. Influence From Your Peers
On some level, we all desire to connect with others, to feel a sense of belonging. For some, this creates a dangerous environment where you might feel obligated to experiment with drugs or alcohol. This often sets the stage for addiction. As you work to overcome your dependencies, you’re going to need to re-evaluate your relationships.
How to take action: This is easier said than done, but you need to define the relationships in your life that caused harm or disappointment and replace them with reciprocal, healthy, genuine relationships. Expect your old friends to text you. Expect them to pressure you into using again. Expect them to feel hurt if you say no. But it’s important to be honest with them; let them know that you’re ready to make a change and that you need to distance yourself from environmental cues (people, places, things) that activate your triggers to use substances.
3. History of previous use
Engaging in addictive behavior when you’re young may make you more likely to experience dependency in the future. One cause is that early drug use impacts brain development. This may make you more prone to mental health disorders and possibly more prone to coping with drugs or alcohol.
How to take action: Consider seeking a professional evaluation for psychological disorders. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37% of alcoholics have a mental illness. For drug addicts, the dual diagnosis rate is even higher at 53%. You can also ask your loved ones if your family has a history of addiction or mood disorders. Both conditions may be linked to your genetic makeup.
Psychological disorders can include:
- Compulsive disorder
- Mood disorder
- Eating disorder
- Sexual disorder
- Attention deficit disorder
- Or others
You are not alone
People of all backgrounds can be at risk for drug addiction. While it can be hard to understand why some are more prone than others, understanding your own risk factors can provide the insight you need to continue along your path to recovery.
We are here to help
An addiction treatment center like The Raleigh House can help you recover from drug or alcohol dependency. Our holistic approach helps clients identify and address problematic behavioral patterns, emotional issues, interpersonal difficulties, as well as any traumatic life events that could be contributing to their addictions.
When you’re ready to start, The Raleigh House is ready to help. Call us today.