The Substance Abuse Counselor Training and Career Center


Welcome! You have arrived at the Substance Abuse Counselor Headquarters! Here you will find all the information you need for a career as a substance abuse counselor, including training, education requirements, qualifications needed for licensure and certification, and more! The Substance Abuse Counselor Headquarters will help you obtain the knowledge and skills needed to get where you want to be… fast!

Causes of Substance Abuse

The causes of substance abuse are plentiful, but not strictly definable. A substance abuse counselor must be flexible in thinking and not project or demand his or her own interpretation or experiences, but must be ready to hear the patient or addict’s reasoning to unlock the undoubtedly deeply rooted causes of substance abuse. Research has not uncovered the reasons why some people can engage in substance abuse for a one time ordeal or in countless repetitious abusage. Some people can stop immediately, and some get caught in a downward spiral of addiction and loss in other areas of their life as the causes of substance abuse and the abuse itself continue to interfere with life. Despite the undesirable consequences of their actions, some people continue down this path. So what are the causes of substance abuse? What leads people to destroy themselves and their lives, effecting others in the process?

Specific Causes of Substance Abuse

causes of substance abuseSome research tends to view substance abuse and addiction as a disease of the brain. Not psychological, but biological in nature. Some researchers speak of a predisposition to addiction, and will correlate addiction with an imbalance in certain neurotransmitters. Psychologists may correlate the predispositional cause of substance abuse to having a certain personality type, an authoritarian “type A” style of thinking and living. Then, of course, there are environmental causes of substance abuse, such as peer pressure, stress, a history of abuse, etc. Some people abuse substances in order to find an escape from the problems of their everyday life. The timing of the initial exposure to the substance can effect the addiction level, such as fetal exposure or early childhood exposure.

Causes of Substance Abuse – Risk Factors

There are a number of items that can effectively increase the risk of becoming a substance abuser. The more of these factors present, the more likely a person is to abuse substances. For example:

  • Anxiety, such as panic, generalized anxiety, depersonalization and derealization disorders
  • Depression, such as major depressive episodes
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Manic-depressive disorder
  • Early exposure, as a fetus or early childhood
  • Lack of guardianship supervision
  • Being of the male gender
  • Parental substance abuse and their management of its impression upon the child
  • Peer pressure and self-esteem issues
  • Personality disorders, such as borderline and anti-social disorders
  • Medical prescriptions
  • Financial stressors
  • Relationship disorganization and difficulties, familial or signifcant other
  • Divorce
  • Grief from loss
  • Teenage experimentation and curiosity for novelty
  • Combat stress reaction
  • Dysthymia and blunted emotions
  • Low impulse control
  • Sensation and thrill seeking
  • Exposure for religious reasons
  • Physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse
  • Poor familial bonding and communication

Causes of Substance Abuse – Summary

Let us remind you that almost any substance can be abused, including sugar and caffiene. The risk factors can really be categorized in the major categories of life. These would include biological and physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, financial, relationship related, and social factors. The more of these added up in one’s life, the more at risk that person is for substance abuse. These are not all of the causes of substance abuse, but understanding this list will open a substance abuse counselors mind to more similar situations and environments that expose people to risk of abuse.

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