Apathy, which is a lack of interest or enthusiasm, can fuel a cycle of addiction. Once caught in such a cycle, teens can spiral into more substance abuse and find themselves dealing with issues such as depression.
Breaking out of the cycle usually requires help and support from friends, family, and professionals.
What is Apathy?
Everyone experiences this phenomenon from time to time. Life can get overwhelming, and in the midst of it, it may be difficult to sustain an interest in or care about things as usual.
In this regard, apathy is normal. Like other emotional states, however, extended apathy can lead to behavior or feelings that create social, career, school, or relationship problems. Apathy can also lead to harmful behavior such as drug or alcohol use.
Helen Keller called apathy evil, saying that “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.” She was referencing the lack of caring people often show to the plight of others, but if you are caught in an apathy cycle, you may feel as Keller did—that apathy is evil.
Why Does Apathy Occur?
No one is immune from apathy or the life circumstances that can trigger apathy. Major life changes or stressors can lead to a lack of enthusiasm for life in general; apathy often follows the death of a loved one or loss of a job.
Experiences that degenerate the spirit or overwhelm the mind and body can also lead to apathy, including abusive relationships, chronic health conditions or a lengthy bought of general bad luck.
In addition to life events, health conditions such as postpartum depression, stroke, and encephalitis cause apathy due to changes in the brain, and the emotional state is often associated with mental disorders such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder.
Apathy Can Fuel Addiction
Regardless of the original cause of apathy, drug or alcohol use can extend apathy indefinitely. First, it may drive individuals to abuse substances as a way to escape the feelings that nothing matters.
Since any impact from drugs or alcohol is temporary, individuals may experience greater apathy after use. Individuals are likely to use drugs or alcohol again to experience the freedom from apathy, leading to a cycle of substance abuse.
The more the individual uses, the more he or she has to take each time to get the same emotional relief, fueling an increasing reliance on drugs or alcohol.
Breaking Free from the Cycle
Breaking free from a substance abuse cycle almost always requires professional assistance for long-term, successful results. When apathy or other emotional issues are involved, professionals can work with individuals–as well as their families or support structures–to treat both the chemical dependency that has developed as well as the emotional triggers to use.
Without addressing both sides of the issue, individuals are much more likely to return to using as soon as the “evil” appears again.
To learn more about how we can provide help for addiction, contact us at 877-466-0620.