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Apex Recovery Blog

Pandemic Stress and Other Causes of Drug Addiction

artful image of "addiction" in a dictionary

Is the pandemic hurting your mental health? If you have no healthy ways of coping with stress, it’s time to learn some. It won’t take a lot to help you get back to the right mindset. However, to know what to avoid, it’s better to learn about some of the worst problems that come with the current health crisis. In this guide, you’ll learn about the different causes of drug addiction. Read on to recognize situations that can lead you toward substance dependence:


Lots of experts debate whether genetics and addiction have a relationship. Some reports say that 40% to 60% of addiction risk comes from genetics. Children of people suffering from drug addiction are 25% more likely to become addicted. Most who study this topic search for an addiction gene. So far, most found that familial addiction trends come from environmental factors. It includes drug exposure and normalization. Another factor most experts consider is gender. It isn’t a direct factor for addiction, but it can contribute to the predisposition. Men had higher addiction rates compared to women. However, lots of key differences are present. Women begin abusing substances at smaller dosages than men. The difference is that their drug use worsens into addiction faster. Also, women face higher rates of drug relapses. They’re more vulnerable to mood and anxiety illnesses. It’s what makes them more addicted within a shorter duration.


Drug addiction often begs the comparison between nature and nurture. There is no conclusive evidence for genetic predisposition as a contributing factor. However, the possibility is there. The more impactful factor is the environment. The environment you grew and thrived in will influence your mental and physical wellness. The severity of its impact makes it one of the primary factors of drug addiction. If your home considers drug addiction normal, you’ll become desensitized to it. It becomes a mundane part of your life. It’s worse when you witness the positive results of drug use as a child. For example, you might see your parents euphoric and having fun while they’re high. As a child, you’ll likely understand that drug usage leads to happiness. It will encourage you to repeat the behavior. The other side of the spectrum is insidious. If a child experiences the negative effects of drug use, they become anxious and depressed. It might push them to use drugs as a coping mechanism later on.

The Brain and the Body

The brand and body both play a major role in addiction. Whenever you’re eating or doing other survival-related activities, your brain rewards you. It floods you with dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical messenger signaling the brain that your activities are good. It’s what prompts us to repeat the tasks. Using drugs is an activity that unnaturally releases the chemical. Continuing your drug use means overwhelming the brain with dopamine surges. As time passes, the brain will make less without drugs. It heralds the start of drug dependency. Dependency is the condition that overrides your natural dopamine production. You now need to continue your drug usage before your brain makes the hormone. Another physiological effect of using drugs is withdrawal symptoms. It’s what keeps you hooked on substances. It’s your body telling you that it now needs drugs to survive. When this happens, your body will do anything to let you know that it needs the drugs. The onset of the withdrawal symptoms will differ depending on the individual. For example, heroin withdrawal symptoms of drug addiction start within 12 hours after the last dose. Heroin withdrawal can last from a week up to a few months. Meanwhile, alcohol withdrawal starts within 8-36 hours after your last drink. It lasts for a few weeks.

Support Systems and Treatment Experiences

Your support system is one of the biggest causes of drug addiction in 2021. In some cases, they won’t be the root cause of your addiction. Instead, they help propel your other predisposition toward addictive behaviors. Some people become drug addicts because of strained familial relationships. If they have no friends, they’ll lack a reliable support system. It causes them to fall into depression. Without an outlet, they start feeling that drugs are their only friends. A reason why people stay addicted is because of their negative experiences with treatment. They might have an uncomfortable withdrawal recovery process. If they don’t get treatment for their co-occurring disorders, they relapse. Once they experience recovery failure, they feel hopeless. As a result, they become addicted once more. It’s why managing stress is important during addiction recovery.

Pandemic Stress

The recent pandemic made everything difficult. The strains from economic stress and loneliness, as well as the anxiety associated with the disease, drive people to drug dependence. It’s the perfect environment for an influx of drug addicts. In these trying times, people feel more stressed and isolated. It causes them to make unhealthy decisions like drinking and abusing drugs. As stress mounts, they won’t have enough means of managing it. The lack of resilience-promoting activities increased drug use frequency and dosage. It’s because physical activities and social interactions are risky and inaccessible. People living alone are the most susceptible because no one is there to stop them. During the early stages of the health crisis, medical attention was more difficult to get. People can’t recover as easily as before. As a result, these people ended their treatments and went back to drug abuse. Most physicians are also focusing on the pandemic. It overwhelmed all medical systems in its wake. It meant a decrease in priority for people suffering from substance abuse disorders. The good news is that more clinics and facilities are opening again.

Avoid the Causes of Drug Addiction Now!

These are some of the major causes of drug addiction today. Think about these to avoid destroying your life because of drug use. It’s also a great method on how to recognize drug addiction. Are you dealing with substance abuse? Reach out and talk to us so we can help you improve.

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