Substance abuse is not an easy topic to explain the root cause. Although there is research stating there are biological causes, cultural causes, social causes, spiritual causes, and psychological causes, I believe it can be one of these single factors, a combination of these factors, or all of these factors can play a part. Nature and nurture both play a major role with substance abuse development. It is important to take a look at genetics, as well as the environment an individual lives in and grew up in (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2016). An individual could be surrounded with drug abuse, yet never use drugs, or an individual could grow up in a straight edge family and fall into substance abuse. Substance abuse takes a toll on an individual’s health, relationships with family and friends, career, education, and every single other aspect of life.
From what I have seen throughout my life in personal experience and in my career, what seems to be the best treatment method would be a combination between cognitive therapies, pharmaceutical therapy, and a 12 step program. It is important for an individual to receive treatment for their impaired thinking patters, abuse, trauma, and life experiences, while taking appropriate medications for any co-occurring issues like depression and anxiety. It is imperative that an individual participates in a 12 step program where they can grow in their spirituality, take a look at their past, fellowship with others with substance abuse, and go on to help the next person struggling.
When thinking about substance abuse from a biblical perspective, I think about the human nature and how Paul explains his human condition. He states, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Roman 7:15-20, New International Version).
Since substance abuse is such a prevalent issue in our society today, it is important to know where to seek help. A great resource in Broward County, Florida is Broward Addiction Recovery Center. This facility is a voluntary state ran program that offers a range of services to those struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2016). Abnormal Psyhology (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Publishers
Many people struggle with substance abuse disorders, may it be drugs, alcohol, or sexual, there is a disorder for it. The root cause of substance abuse disorders starts early in a person’s life. Children learn from their parents and the people and things around them that it is okay to engage in the bad behaviors (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2010, pg.412). Another root cause is people that are more impulsive or have behavioral undercontrol, are more likely to struggle with substance abuse. When someone in a family struggles with substance use disorders, it hurts more than just them. It tears families apart and younger children in the family may learn to think that the behavior is acceptable. The person who has a substance use disorder is very likely to lose their job or have a hard time keeping their job, they are more likely to steal from people or family members, and they are more likely to get in trouble with the law.
Medication such as antagonist drugs which blocks or changes the effects of the addictive drug is effective for someone struggling with substance use disorders. Some clients who need a lot of help may even have to go through withdrawal under a physician’s care (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2010, pg.415). People who struggle with substance use disorders can go through and receive behavioral, cognitive, and or psychosocial therapy (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2010, pg.416). There is also relapse prevention for people who relapse and go back to the drugs or alcohol.
Drugs do not enhance spirituality. Many use drugs to relieve their guilt because they have turned their back on God (Waliszewski, Eaton, and Holz, 2018). God tells us to not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). We are called to stay away from things that confuses us and our thoughts. Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and only God can be trusted, not drugs. Drugs and alcohol can ruin our spirits and take us away from God.
Addiction and Recovery Services of Lynchburg, VA believes, substance use disorders are thought to be caused by an interplay of biology, social, and developmental factors, and psychological characteristics. They have medication-assisted treatment, relapse prevention strategies, twelve step programs, art therapy and more. They have an emphasis on women’s health, emergency services, and rehabilitative services. They treat children and adults with severe depression and anxiety. They also treat people with substance use disorders.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2010). Abnormal Psychology. McGraw Hill Education.
Waliszewski, B., Eaton, L., Holz, A. (2018). The Vicious Truth about Drug Addiction and Alcoholism. Focus on the Family.
Reference is attached:
Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan (2016). Abnormal Psychology. (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Publishers.