Just about everybody gets bored sometimes. The idea of having an occasional drink or party favor because you’re bored may sound relatively nonthreatening.
If you’re frequently prone to boredom, however, you run a much higher risk of developing anxiety, depression—and addiction. Boredom and addiction can serve as unpleasant, relentless bedfellows.
Keep reading to learn more about how boredom can lead to drug addiction.
The Problem With Boredom and Addiction
There are a lot of reasons why one might decide to use drugs, have a drink, or engage in other compulsive behavior. Sometimes, people cite work-related stress for this behavior. However, one of the most popular reasons for this behavior is boredom.
It may not seem like much of a big deal to do things to fight off your boredom. For people who get bored frequently, however, this behavior can prove highly problematic.
There are many theories about why some people get bored frequently. For those with a history of substance abuse, there are ultimately various underlying issues that converge, causing people to seek out unhealthy behavior.
Addiction is more than a habit—it’s a disease. It affects brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.
Sometimes, these circuits don’t function properly. When this happens, it can result in biological, psychological, spiritual, and social issues.
Some people who are inclined to pursue addictive or compulsive behavior may seek out more heightened pleasure compared to most people. Many times, they aren’t experiencing enough pleasure through normal activity.
This happens because the brain’s pleasure-reward system is low-functioning. It doesn’t provide them with enough of the chemical that creates feelings of pleasure, which is called dopamine.
Researchers’ Theories on Addiction
Researchers have several theories explaining the causes of addictions. They estimate that genetic factors account for 40% to 60% of someone’s vulnerability to addiction.
However, this estimate leaves plenty of room for other theories. Yet, most theories still point at a low-functioning dopamine reward system. Some researchers suggest that this kind of problem sometimes develops in childhood during brain development.
Other researchers suggest that some people’s brains stop producing dopamine after binge drinking or excessive drug use. This circumstance can result in dependency. In other words, it suggests that their behavior creates an addiction.
Theories also go on to suggest that people struggle once addiction has become established. Now, the brain cannot function properly on its own.
When Boredom Meets Alcoholism or Addiction
Let’s revisit the “disease model” of addiction. According to this model, people who are addicted can easily fall into the trap of boredom.
If so, this circumstance would explain why addiction is usually accompanied by other psychological conditions. For instance, physicians might also diagnose an addict with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Typically, individuals who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD get bored easily and often seek external stimuli.
Of course, there’s no way to measure someone’s level of boredom. Yet, it’s reasonable to assume that someone with a low-functioning dopamine reward system gets bored easily.
Drug Addiction Treatments
Often, people whom physicians have diagnosed with addiction are very creative, intelligent, and dynamic. Recovery gives these kinds of individuals the opportunity to channel the continual need for stimulus into healthy activities.
These activities might include hobbies or art. They could even include entrepreneurial endeavors. Some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and artists in the world are in recovery.
Entering recovery is probably the most challenging thing that someone can do. It takes time for boredom to subside.
Once it does and that person’s system gets clean, however, they learn how to properly channel their craving for stimuli. At the same time, this process gives a recovering addict the unique opportunity to accomplish amazing things.
Taking the First Step
You may have been considering changing your habits, but you often feel apathetic, bored, or simply don’t feel like making the change. It’s important to have patience with yourself. Also, you must believe that you have the ability to change.
You may find it helpful to work on something that you’ve wanted to do but delayed for some time. For instance, you might compose a song that you started years ago, finish writing a book, or learn how to play an instrument.
For some, these kinds of goals may sound ambitious. If so, maybe you could try something simpler, like connecting with others who are struggling to recover from addiction. Sometimes, it helps to hear others tell their story because you can relate to their struggle.
Let’s look at a few other ways to avoid boredom.
How to Avoid Boredom
All things said the current pandemic isn’t helping those who are easily bored. When you’re stuck at home, it’s easy to get bored.
Boredom is a sign that your brain isn’t meaningfully engaged. It tells your brain to stop what you’re doing and do it better or do something else.
Also, you may find it helpful to develop a productive routine. It will give you a sense of coherence and a better connection to the meaning of life.
Alternatively, you may need to try something new. If you have the energy, consider trying something like a new recipe, fixing something in your home, or learning how to make a TikTok video.
Focusing on You
Doing something new can do more than relieve your boredom. It can help you to acquire new skills and knowledge. This new understanding can help you to relieve long-term boredom.
For example, you might find that you’re not bored when you’re reading a new and interesting book. Likewise, you may feel satisfied when you’re going through a complex experience. In either case, you’ll only feel satisfied if you can understand what’s going on.
It’s good to embrace new experiences. It can help you to lead a happy or meaningful life. It can also make your life psychologically richer.
We’re Here for You
Hopefully, you or a loved one can start overcoming your challenges with boredom and addiction after reading this brief primer.
Unfortunately, too many people have paid the ultimate price for not managing their addiction properly. Drug abuse can take over a person’s life. However, an effective detox with subsequent treatment planning can help them get back on track.
Supervised medical detox is the best option for comfortably ridding a body and mind of toxic chemicals. It sets the stage for a full recovery if you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs.Inland Detox can help you achieve your goal of reclaiming your life. Don’t wait another day. Contact us to get help now.