What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of summer I used to love. However, I’m old now and the heat isn’t quite as much fun. Thank God for Air Conditioning! 🙂

It saddened me this week when I learned of Chester Bennington’s death. For any of you who haven’t heard, he was the lead singer of Linkin Park and he committed suicide this week.

 

It just breaks my heart that someone who gave so much to the world struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was further saddened when I found out that Chester was abused when he was a child by an older male.

I’ve done a little research on alcohol and drug abuse and it’s my opinion that the majority of addictions stem from abuse. Either emotional, physical, or sexual. I believe an addiction is a form of self-medication that has run amuck.

Photo via VisualHunt

Addiction is a symptom of a much bigger problem. So we as a society need to stop treating addiction like it’s something to be ashamed of. We need to support our addicts and help them get better. How do we do that?

 

Photo via VisualHunt

Good question and I’m glad you asked. 🙂

We need to treat the underlying cause of the addiction. We need to get our loved one into therapy so he can deal with the abuse he has received. Once we give him coping mechanisms for that abuse, the need to self-medicate will disappear.

I know it sounds so easy, but we all know it’s not. Dealing with the shame, fear, and anxiety this abuse causes is extremely hard. Abusers are smart. They know how to manipulate and control their victims so they can come back and abuse them over and over again.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to speak up and stop them. A fine example of this is the documentary, “The Keepers.” I know I’ve mentioned this one a number of times, but I’ve got to say I’m amazed by the outpouring of support the victims of Father Maskell have received. There are over one hundred thousand members in their Facebook group and the majority of members offer support to the victims who are willing to speak out about the abuse they’ve experienced.

Their goal is to get the Archdiocese to release their files on Father Maskell. They’ve got a petition going where they are asking the Bishop to release the files. If you’d like to sign the petition, click here:

Petition for The Archdiocese to Release Files on Father Maskell

They’ve got about forty thousand signatures and they’re hoping to reach fifty thousand.  This is a step in the right direction. The church needs to be held accountable for hiding the abuse and not turning the pedophiles into the authorities.

There are other forms of abuse that priests and other members of our society are involved in as well. I’m talking about human trafficking. Recently, I watched the documentary, “I am Jane Doe.”  Here’s the link to the trailer.

I am Jane Doe

Teens are being taken right off the streets and sold online. They are forced to have sex up to twenty times a day. It’s happening in every state in the US. It’s not just a problem overseas. How do we stop this?

By arresting the people who pay for this kind of thing. Once you eliminate the demand there’s no one to buy the product. I know easier said than done. (I think I’ll save this one for another blog post. It deserves its own.)

Photo credit: dualdflipflop via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This is another form of abuse that will lead to addiction if these victims don’t get help. These victims did nothing to deserve this kind of treatment, but our society engages in victim-blaming quite often. So not only are they dealing with trying to come to terms with what happened to them, they’ve got society pointing an accusing finger as well. So you see how easy it is to slip into self-medicating behavior?

Once we step forward and stop the victim-blaming, we’ll be able to provide these people with the counseling and help they need. This is a huge step, I know. There are so many abused people in the world today. I’m not sure how to do it, but I’m open to ideas.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Do you have any ideas on what more we can do to stop this horrific abuse? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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46 Responses to What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

  1. Ruth Daly says:

    Thank you for making us aware of these important issues and how they can be addressed – or at least how we can start dealing with them. It’s a long, tough road for the victims, and you’re right, they need our support.

  2. Great post, Lisa! I am actually in the middle of watching “The Keepers” right now myself and am so enraged by the whole thing. I hate hearing about instances of child abuse and spent a large chunk of my time in university researching laws around child sex-trafficking and how the international community reacts and responds to it. If you are going to make a post on it and want some more research, Ashton Kutcher has started an organisation to help fight against it called thorn which is used to help rescue children from a life of sex-trafficking.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thank you for the info! I’m definitely going to write a post on sex trafficking. I’m gathering info for it and I’ll definitely check out Thorn. Thanks for the heads up and for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think about “The Keepers” when you finish the series. 🙂

      • I might have to write a post about it! I find that I just get so angry at Netflix documentaries now haha – the keepers, making a murderer – so much anger.

      • Lisa Orchard says:

        Yes! I hear you! After “Spotlight” and “The Keepers” I’ve become so angry with the Catholic Church for hiding this abuse and allowing the priests to continue it. All they did was move them around to different parishes. I watched a documentary probably ten years ago where a priest who had been an abuser shared his side of the story. I didn’t feel like he felt any remorse for his crimes and what he did to his victims. He’d go to confession and get absolved of his sins. So there were no consequences to his actions. Sick. Sick. Sick. That’s the part that has to change and I’m just so amazed by what “The Keepers” has done and continues to do. It shows us that one or two people can truly make a difference. There is hope. Sorry. I got long-winded. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      • I know – It’s infuriating – You’re allowed to be long-winded!

  3. Ritu says:

    Such a hard situation but you’re right. If we give the right compassion maybe we can help more. X

  4. Abuse comes in many forms. I will say addiction is a illness in my opinion but a person needs to take responsibility for their actions especially when they have aquired new skills and coping mechanisms. The church thing is vile . I don’t think it’s right at all. I do want to say that I would challenge society and doctors to try and work out the inner reasons for perpetrating such acts

  5. It’s a difficult and complex problem, Lisa. We have a high rate of opioid addiction in Maine and unfortunately much of it stemmed from unbridled dispensing of prescription drugs. Of course there are deep rooted issues involved, and I wish there was an easy answer. We are heartbroken every day when we hear of another overdose.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I wish there were an easy answer, too. Prescription drug addiction is another facet of the same problem I fear, but it doesn’t get as much attention as other drug addictions I’m afraid. There are no easy answers, but if we could provide help for these people instead of shaming them, it’d be a step in the right direction. 🙂

  6. emilypageart says:

    Good post! While not all addiction is related to abuse, it can definitely be a major trigger. Another thought for solving the problem of sex/slave trafficking is to find charities that help girls/women who’ve been trafficked and donate or volunteer with them. Every state has at least one such charity.

  7. People trafficking is a major world problem. Men will fly into a certain city their victims already set up for them. We watched a doco on it a few years ago. Shocking!! Maybe if we returned to a “it takes a village to bring up a child”. People would be accountable gof gheir actions?

  8. sharonledwith says:

    Great post, Lisa! A family member who was addicted to cocaine (and lost everything) believed she felt powerful, that she could accomplish anything after taking the drug. That illusion finally made her face life, and the need to make significant changes in her lifestyle, or she would lose her family. Cheers and thanks! Shared everywhere!

  9. I’m living proof that addiction is genetic. I was not abused as a child. I had a good, loving family with no addiction or excessive drinking anywhere to be found in the nuclear or extended family. I was, however, adopted. That is where I believe addiction comes from.

    Beyond disagreeing with you on the cause of addiction, I’m with you. Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. Addiction is a disease, not a personal failing. Addiction is a disease, not a criminal issue (not saying criminal issues dont spring forth from addiction). I am an addict; as such, I am not responsible for my addiction (although I AM responsible for cleaning up the mess it made in my life).

    When we quit stigmatizing addiction and mental illness, we make it easier for those affected to ask for help. When we quit criminalizing addiction and start treating it instead, we can see addicts become whole people again.

    I’m one of the lucky ones. I landed in a judicial intervention program run by people who thought I could be saved and was worth saving. Many addicts don’t get so lucky, and die without ever knowing that there is hope and they are worthy.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thank you for stopping by, Cynthia! I appreciate your comments. We do need to stop the stigmatizing of addiction and mental illness. You stated it so eloquently in your comment. You’ve added another facet to the addiction story. Thank you. 🙂

      • Thank you for getting it. It always gives me hope to see a non-addict understand that I didn’t choose this and I needed help to not live like that. If more people thought like that, more addicts could maybe find a new way to live. Thank you

      • Lisa Orchard says:

        You’re welcome, Cynthia and thank you for educating me. I appreciate it! 🙂

  10. emfletche says:

    Really interesting issues raised Lisa; I studied addiction as part of my psychology degree and I think it is fascinating how so many different biological, emotional and environmental factors are involved. Would definitely be interested in reading more from you on the subject x

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks Em. I’m sure I’ll be writing another post on it. I didn’t address other causes of addiction here and I think I should have. 🙂 I’m just so upset about the abuse issue and I think that is a major cause of it, but there are other causes, too, and I should have stated that in my post. 🙂

  11. thebeasley says:

    Really interesting post, Lisa. I agree that treating the underlying problem is key. It is amazing how so many addicts were abused as children. I do think making it harder/less acceptable for abusers to get away with it will help prevent addiction in the first place. I really need to watch The Keepers. It astounds me that that level of abuse was just swept under the carpet!

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      It astounds me, too. It’s very sad and I just think the victims who’ve come forward are very courageous. I love how this show has taken off. They might actually accomplish their goal. It’s truly amazing and gives me hope.

  12. Great post Lisa. Very informative. This is such s complex topic but the fact remains that we do need to support and help those in need.
    Glad to be connected. Looks like you have some great topics you discuss here in your blog. Lorelle. X

  13. Such a terrible problem one we should do our utmost to help victims. Very sad about Chester Bennington, my daughter was distraught at the news – she was a fan. His music brought back memories of her teenage years.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Yes. It’s very sad. I wish there wasn’t such a stigma on mental illness. That way people would reach out for help. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it! 🙂

  14. angelanoelauthor says:

    Addiction and the sources of it feel as complex as cancer. To me, addiction waits below the surface us all–and then is triggered by one thing or another. We are all potential addicts, in my opinion, much like we are all potential cancer victims. Many factors, internal and external, play a role in how addictive behavior is expressed. I’m not an “addict” but I do have things I do with a strong physical and emotional tie to them. For example, I crave exercise. If I don’t exercise for a few days I don’t feel good. Some may argue that’s a healthy habit and not an addiction. I believe I stay within healthy boundaries, and yet there are times when guilt or shame come in–making me think I NEED exercise to be normal. Now that’s not good. And I’ve needed to tune my awareness to pick up when my mental patterns are trending towards too much instead of “just enough.”
    My point isn’t to minimize the very real and very damaging affects of addiction to drugs, or abusive behavior of adults preying on children or teens. But, to add to the conversation that the seeds of addiction are in all of us, and our compassion and awareness is needed to support those for whom the seeds became something more.
    Thank you for bringing the conversation forward, Lisa. We all need to engage on these things–and I appreciate the opportunity to read comments from others coming from many different perspectives.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I agree with you, Angela. The potential for addiction is within all of us. I feel that if we address the abuse angle, we’ll help a lot of people to not become addicts. Because once you’re an addict, it’s so hard to change. It also bothers me that the environmental stress of abuse drives people to drugs and alcohol to deal with the horrible feelings the abuse creates. I say let’s go after the abusers so the people who might’ve been victimized can lead normal lives. 🙂

  15. Christy B says:

    Self-medicating is a “right now” solution that many people turn to.. but I think counselling offers a “long term” solution that can help so much. You bring light to many important issues here, Lisa ❤

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I think you’re right. Many people don’t choose counseling because of the stigma and it’s not a quick fix for strong negative emotions. However, counseling is the best thing they can do for themselves. Thanks for stopping by Christy and sharing your thoughts. Maybe we can figure out a solution to some of these problems. 🙂

  16. First of all, yes thank God for air conditioning!

    What you have written I kind of knew deep down, but I had to be reminded. I kind of became so use to it, because I was surrounded by a many abused family and it seems that people just have the mindset ‘oh, it happens’ but yet thinking back now all of these people mentioned above is addicted to drugs, and shunned for it.

    As you can imagine, I’ve tried to help, but realized I’m not the savior. Because like you say, ‘ They know how to manipulate and control their victims so they can come back and abuse them over and over again.’ I’ve got them help at a facility and they robbed it. I lost my job. They stole from me. I’ve forgiven them instantly because when you love someone, and grew up with them, things like that don’t matter. But I also let go and let them be.

    This post touched me, thank you.

    I signed the petition.

  17. The Hook says:

    I grew up watching addiction eat away at my parents, Lisa, so this resonated with me.
    Thank you.

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