Addiction is not a character flaw. It is a complex disease.
We know that people who are reaching for relief from trauma, in response to frequent or significant emotional stress, or untreated psychiatric conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder or anxiety disorders, are more likely to develop addictive behavior.
Some people self-medicate to ease symptoms of other disorders, and although this may bring a little temporary relief, the long-term impact of addictive behavior complicates the underlying problem, leaving a person at a great risk for increasing disease and addiction.
Although a genetic predisposition influences the development of addiction, social and environmental factors are a primary influence on addiction. Prevention efforts focus on educating and mobilizing communities to build healthier social and environmental factors.