The stigma surrounding addiction is hard to avoid. While you may picture someone who is addicted to drugs as having some type of moral failing or a personality issue, doing the same thing for other diseases would be unthinkable. This is why experts are pushing for the proper recognition of drug and alcohol addiction (as well as behavioral addictions) as diseases. There are many reasons to support this conclusion, but some of the most convincing is PET scan evidence showing the brain changes common in addiction.
Studies have shown that exposure to child abuse is a strong predictor of substance abuse. The self-esteem and resiliency of child abuse victims can be permanently damaged by their terrifying and painful experiences, and a significant number may attempt to cope with their feelings of powerlessness by turning to drugs or alcohol.
Like the rest of the adult U.S. population, people who have served in the military sometimes develop serious problems with drugs and/or alcohol. In a study published in July 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, a group of American researchers investigated the factors that can potentially predict whether a veteran who starts experiencing substance problems will continue to experience those problems over time. These researchers concluded that several things make ongoing substance problems among military veterans more likely, including the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Continue reading