What Causes Addiction?

Causes OF Addiction


Depression is a serious mood disorder that causes severe symptoms that affect the way a person may live their day-to-day life. Depression affects how an individual may think, feel, or even handle daily activities like eating, sleeping, or going to work or school. Typically, to be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks

Risk Factors

  • Family history/personal history of depression
  • Trauma, stress, or major life changes
  • Certain medications or physical illnesses

Symptoms may include but not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling worthless, helpless, hopeless
  • Thoughts of suicide or possible attempts
  • Persistently feeling sad or feeling empty
  • Lack or desire or loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Loss of appetite or gain in appetite and over eating
  • Loss of weight or gaining of weight
  • Aches and pains like headaches and cramps

Research found that “depression diagnoses have gone up 47% since 2013 among millennials (ages 18-34).” (newportacademy.com)


When an individual inflicts violence on themselves with the intent to end their life. People of all ages, gender, and ethnicities may be at risk

Main Risk factors

  • Depression or other mental health disorder
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of mental health or substance abuse disorder
  • Being between the ages of 15-24 or over the age of 60
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Family violence

Some Major Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Expressing feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, emptiness or no reason to live
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Talking about being a burden
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye
  • Partaking in high risk activities

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, and results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. (cdc.gov)

Do you suspect someone you love is contemplating suicide?

  • Call the national suicide prevention line. It is open 24/7 and provides free and confidential support for those who are in distress and also has prevention and crisis resources for you and your loved ones
  • 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


Stress is very normal in a person’s life. It is the body’s reaction when change occurs and requires the body to make an adjustment or respond. The body many respond to these changes emotionally, physically, or mentally. There is positive stress (eustress) and negative stress (distress).

Eustress characteristics:

  • Feelings of excitement
  • Is short-term
  • Motivates/focuses energy
  • Can be perceived within our coping abilities
  • Helps improve performance

Examples of eustress in young adults:

  • Starting a new job or starting at a new school/college
  • Moving out of the house/living on your own
  • Making new friends
  • Filling out an application (for school or work)
  • Getting married
  • Playing sports
  • Going out with new people
  • Getting an A or a raise at work

Distress characteristics:

  • Feeling unpleasant
  • Having anxiety or concern
  • May be short-term or long term
  • Lowers our performance ability
  • Perceived outside of our coping abilities
  • May lead to other physical or mental problems

Examples of distress in young adults:

  • Unemployment or not getting into school
  • Separation from a committed relationship or other loved ones
  • Financial issues
  • Getting a bad grade/doing poorly in school
  • Sleeping problems
  • Balancing work, school, family, and a social life
  • Trying to make everyone happy

Over time, continued strain on your body from routine negative stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety. (nimh.nih.gov)


According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is defined as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and psychical changes like increased blood pressure.” Having feelings of anxiety are normal, however, it is possible that the duration or the severity of an anxious feeling may go beyond the proportion of the original trigger. This may cause more physical symptoms like nausea or high blood pressure to develop and it is possible that these responses will go past anxiety and turn into an anxiety disorder.

Different kinds of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobia-related Disorders
    • Social Anxiety
    • Agoraphobia
    • Separation Anxiety

When might a young adult feel anxiety?

  • Before taking an exam
  • Before giving a presentation
  • Being faced with a problem at work or with a teacher
  • Making an important decision (picking a college, accepting a job offer, moving away from home)
  • When facing change
  • If something doesn’t go as planned (not getting a job, not getting into school, getting a bad grade, not getting along with another employee)
  • When trying to always please others (parents, friends, other family members)

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. (adaa.org)

Peer pressure

Peer pressure is the influence that those around us, who are similar in our age, can have on how we act or think. Peer pressure can be positive or negative, but as a young adult, it can be easy to fall for more of the negative side of peer pressure.

Why does it happen?

  • As a young adult, it is normal to want to fit in with peers, especially when going off to college or starting a new job. Peers may proactively influence individuals to act or behave in a certain way. Due to the intense desire to want to fit in, young adults may fall to peer pressure in hopes that their friends/peers will approve of them.

Examples of good peer pressure

  • Encouraging a friend to join a club or new organization
  • Seeing your friends studying and doing homework before a night out
  • Being encouraged to work out or eat well for your health
  • Your friends getting up and going to class or work
  • Following the rules to keep out of trouble

Examples of negative peer pressure

  • Being encouraged to drink underage or do drugs
  • Drinking alcohol before driving
  • Being told to skip class or not go into work
  • Feeling forced into something you really don’t want to do

There are many different ways peer pressure may occur and many different reasons why a person may feel pressured. Whether the peer pressure is negative or positive, it is still important that your young adult is able to identify it. As a parent, caregiver, or grandparent, you can help your child by supporting them to recognize peer pressure and help them to develop their own individuality.

Parental expectations

When taking on new roles as a young adult, like going to college or starting a new job, it is common for individuals to feel a sense of pressure to please their parents or caregivers. While it is important to have goals and expectations for your child, it is also important to note they are still growing and developing and they will make mistakes. It can be quite stressful as a young adult dealing with expectations on top of everything else. It is good to let them know what your expectations are, but be aware of how you enforce them.

Below are just a few examples of expectations and the reality that may follow them.

Parental Expectations Reality
Be perfect in school School doesn’t come easy to everyone and going away to college can be a big adjustment. Mistakes will be made and Learning how to overcome them will help your young person grow and gain the skills they need to be successful.
Call home every day Your young adult is adapting to being on their own and may become busier than they’re used to be. A call home every day may not always happen, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you.
Always be in a good mood Becoming an adult is hard. There are a lot of changes going on and a lot of self-discovery. Your young adult is going to be stressed, sad, angry, and overwhelmed, similar to how you may feel on different days. Being young does not mean always being happy
Don’t EVER drink or do drugs As a young adult, in many social situations, drugs and alcohol are present and they may be surrounded by a whole new world of peer pressure. They are going to be curious and they are going to want to fit in.
Graduate college College is not always for everyone. Many individuals can still have a happy and successful life without going to college. Be open to talk with your child about options, like trade schools or other employment opportunities.
Do no wrong Growing up is all about learning and exploring. Young adults will face problems and will not be perfect. Mistakes help everyone learn and grow as a person

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined, for women, as drinking four or more drinks in a row in two hours or less. For men, it is defined as drinking 5 or more drinks in a row in two hours or less. On average, about nine drinks in a two hour period are consumed by young adults. (http://www.center4research.org/binge-drinking-teens-young-adults/)

Why do young adults binge drink?

  • Drinking just to get drunk: Many young adults drink before going out or while at parties. It is a common perception that a party means getting drunk or that “if I’m going to drink at all I should be getting drunk.”
  • Drinking games: Different kinds of games, like beer pong, are popular among young adults. While they can be fun, they encourage a large consumption of alcohol in a quick amount of time.
  • Viewed as cheaper: Going out to the bar can be expensive for a young adult trying to get through college or save some money. It is not uncommon for an individual to purchase cheap alcohol at a store and then consume large amounts of it before going out to the bar. This way, they can be drunk at the bar but not have to worry about spending so much money on drinks there.
  • Peer pressure: As a young adult, a lot of social situations revolve around drinking. In order to feel comfortable at a party or fit in with peers, an individual may be inclined to drink more. Depending on the type of peers they are around, they may also feel forced to drink large amounts if a peer is cheering them on or suggesting they need to be drunk.
  • Not knowing their limit: If a young adult has never really drank before or had the opportunity to drink, they may be unaware of how much their body can handle. They may see how much another peer is drinking and think that they can have that much too.

Separation from parental control/guardian control

Many young adults who go away to college are experiencing life on their own for the first time. Having freedom is both exciting and scary. Some young adults may struggle to adjust to life on their own as well as learning how to manage themselves and school. It is important to be patient with your young adult and be aware of this adjustment period.

Media Influence

As you probably are already aware, young adults spend a lot of time on social media and surfing the web. They are constantly being influenced by all different types of shows, celebrities, and friends. Many times, drugs and alcohol are talked about or shown in the shows they watch or in the posts they read on social media. Media has such a powerful impact on the developing brain of a young adult, and they may feel inclined to figure out what all excitement is about. Also, if they are seeing posts of people their age out partying and drinking and doing drugs, they may feel that sense of pressure to want to fit in and be like them.