In an effort to prevent and resolve the growing problem of drug addiction in our country, many individuals are digging deep to uncover the root causes for this problem. And while this problem certainly affects many millions of individuals directly and many millions more indirectly, the fact is that drug addiction is a deeply personal issue that can have widely varying causes and effects. One individual may step onto the path of drug use because they are uncomfortable socially and desire some way to fit in with their peers. Another individual may step onto the path of drug use in an effort to deal with a difficult home life. Yet another individual may step unknowingly onto the path of drug use when prescribed potent painkillers following an accident or surgery. Generally speaking, however, most drug abuse and addiction problems begin when an individual has run into some sort of problem in their life that they cannot resolve.
Whether through casual exposure or intentional experimentation, the individual can discover that drug use provides them with some measure of relief by disconnecting them from their problems, albeit only temporarily. The truth, obviously, is that drug substances cannot actually help an individual to resolve their problems and actually only hide them for a short time. Essentially, drugs are chemicals that interrupt the normal functions and communications of the human body. An individual’s emotional or physical pain or discomfort may still exist, but drugs have effectively blocked their ability to perceive and recognize this pain or discomfort.
If an individual used drug substances to lessen the undesirable effects of their problems while they addressed and resolved these problems, one could argue that there was some benefit to limited and temporary drug use. Unfortunately, the individual who was unwilling or unable to handle their problems prior to drug use normally finds that drug use allows them to further distance themselves from their problems so that they don’t have to face them. It is not therefore likely that they will address their problems. When their body becomes first tolerant of and then dependent upon drug substances, the individual finds that their own desires no longer even play a role in the process and they compulsively continue to use drugs no matter how thoroughly this affects their life.
While unresolved, chronic and severe physical pain or discomfort can most certainly drive an individual into drug use, there is no doubt that behavioral issues can do the same. Anger, fear, depression and other undesirable emotional states cause an individual to want to disconnect from some part or all of their life so that they can experience relief. In some cases, they may not even recognize that they are perpetually demonstrating a specific, undesirable or unpleasant behavior, although they may recognize some of the effects caused by their behavior–such as limited friendships or general poor moods. Obviously, this can cause them to look toward drug use as a possible solution. This is where a behavioral intervention comes in.
Behavioral interventions can help individuals to spot the undesirable behaviors they are participating in, and get the help they need to address the root causes of these behaviors so they can be turned around. The point is not to make the individual feel ostracized for their behavior, but rather to assist them in recognizing the connection between their behavior and their general happiness in life, and give them the tools they need to improve the conditions. The ultimate goal, then, of a behavioral intervention would be an individual who felt better prepared to deal with the difficulties and challenges of their life without turning to other solutions. Needless to say, this would also better protect them against the possibility of future drug use, abuse and addiction.