How Lack of Purpose Leads to Addiction

Renae Nicole
4 min readMay 3, 2022

Which came first, addiction, or lack of purpose? Research would indicate that lack of purpose came first. Addiction has been associated with a lack of spirituality, meaning in life, a sense of purpose, a relationship with God or other higher power, or religious stability. But why? How does a lack of purpose lead to addiction?

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First, let’s examine the causes of addiction:

  • Genetic predisposition. Data shows that if a relative has a habit, you are likely to have that addiction. Not only that, but research has discovered there are specific genes for specific addictions. More research must be done, but someday we will know if you have the alcohol addiction gene or the gambling addiction gene.
  • Nutritional and hormonal imbalances. Without proper nutrition, the body doesn’t have the right ingredients it needs to fuel the brain. Part of that fuel is hormones; if you don’t eat the right foods, your body can’t make the hormones it needs. If the brain isn’t properly fed, it can affect our mental health and lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
  • Traumatic events. Trauma can result in psychological distress — when you are unable to cope with an event emotionally, mentally, or physically. An addiction can become a way to deal with a traumatic event.
  • Difficult social, economic, and environmental circumstances. Difficult social situations include social isolation and loneliness, damaging relationships, and lack of community. Challenging economic and environmental times include work, income, education, natural disasters, living conditions, etc. These can be detrimental to your mental health, leading to addiction.
  • Mental health. Research has shown that if you have a mental health issue, you are twice as likely to have an addiction. If a person has a mental health issue and an addiction, it is considered a co-occurring disorder. In 2015, 8.1 million Americans had a co-occurring disease. In this case, addiction is possibly used as self-medication or a coping mechanism.
Renae Nicole

Certified Personal Trainer | Health Coach | Nutrition Coach | Worldview: Christianity