Addiction Risk Factors

Stress, trauma, mental illness, and genetic susceptibility to addiction are major risk factors. You can lower your risk of developing an addiction by learning about the factors that contribute to long-term substance abuse.

The Nature of Addiction

To put it simply, addiction is the inability to abstain from drug abuse despite the negative consequences such use puts on one’s life. Changes in brain function and structure bring about changes in thought patterns and behaviours, leading to compulsive drug use despite the risks.

Genetics

It’s been said that substance abuse tends to run in families. This is true, but it doesn’t imply you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes if someone in your family has battled substance abuse. A person’s chance of developing an addiction to drugs is enhanced if, for whatever reason, they start using drugs themselves and have a family history of addiction. It is estimated that between 40 and 60 percent of the risk for drug addiction can be attributed to genetics, in addition to environmental and social factors.

Tolerance for drugs

Isn’t it strange how some people seem unaffected by caffeine while others are unable to relax after drinking it? Everyone responds differently to a drug’s effects, so what one person enjoys may be intolerable to another. How likely it is that someone will continue drug use and develop an addiction depends on factors like these.

Mental illness

People with mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and others, may be more likely to try drugs and become addicted to them. There are many things that could cause this higher risk of addiction. One is that some people with mental disorders use drugs because they make them feel better or because they think the drugs help them deal with their problems. Also, mental disorders and drugs of abuse affect the same parts of the brain and chemicals. When the effects of a mental disorder and a drug work together, the risk of becoming addicted may go up.

Social and other causes of stress

Stress, especially when it happens early in life, is linked to early drug use and drug problems later on. For example, stressors like being abused physically or sexually or seeing violence can make someone more likely to become addicted. Poverty is also often linked to stress and a chaotic way of life, which can make people more likely to use drugs. On the other hand, being part of social networks that are helpful and where drug use isn’t accepted as normal can protect against drug use. This could be a sports team, a religious group, or a group of people from the same neighbourhood.

Home life

A healthy home life as a child is very important for lowering the risk of addiction as an adult. Being around people in power and family members who use drugs can make it more likely that you will have a problem with drugs later in life.

If you have a number of warning signs that you might be addicted or think you might be addicted, you should talk to someone as soon as possible. Contact us right now for more information.

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