Substance abuse and addiction can occur with drugs or alcohol and to anyone who uses either of these. While not everyone who drinks or uses drugs will form an addiction or abuse the substances, those that do often share similarities. Multiple factors can add to one’s risk of forming an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
One’s Environment Plays a Large Role
We take in so much from the world and people around us from the moment we’re born. For some of us, poor family relations and dysfunction create a toxic environment that compounds different stressors and anxieties. As these mount, substance abuse becomes more likely as a coping mechanism.
Loved ones consuming various substances as a normal occurrence can heavily sway an individual’s opinion on drugs or alcohol. It’s easy to have little to no concern abusing a substance if someone you respect or love is doing the same. Adolescents are especially susceptible to this along with peer pressure from friends or social groups.
Creating a positive and supportive environment is extremely beneficial for both adult and child family members. Trauma is another factor that can lead to substance abuse when left untreated. Situations that remind an individual of the trauma can become a trigger to drink or use drugs. Typically in order to avoid the negative feelings and thoughts associated with said trauma.
Genetics Also Determine the Likelihood of Substance Abuse
Genetics play a significant role in one’s predisposition for addiction and substance abuse. Certain substances increase the risk of passing down a substance use disorder with the chances ranging from 30% to 70%. Learning about family members who struggle with substance abuse or addiction can alert an individual about their possible chances.
The reason addictive behaviors can be passed down through genetics isn’t due to an individual gene, but instead various groups of genes found only in those who have issues with addiction or substance abuse. These genes change the way substances interact with the brain, making it more desirable to chase whatever influence is felt with drugs or alcohol.
It may also lead some to attempt self-medicating with alcohol or illicit drugs. Imagine a situation where a child witnesses their parents abusing alcohol in order to cope with stress. Not only are they seeing it as a normal practice in their environment, but they likely inherited more addictive tendencies from their parents as well.
Mental Health Disorders Also Have a Strong Link to Substance Abuse
The comorbidity between addiction and mental health issues can be observed happening in both directions. Those diagnosed with a substance use disorder often developed other mental health issues during the period of substance abuse. On the other side are those with a mental health issue that turned to substance abuse for coping or self-medicating.
Nearly half of those diagnosed with a mental health issue also faced substance abuse later on in life. Overall, there are over 9.5 million Americans struggling with comorbid substance abuse and mental health disorders. Genetics and environment have a large influence on both types of disorder, contributing to the high rate of comorbid disorders.
On top of this, substance abuse and mental health issues involve similar parts of the brain. Dopamine receptors and the areas of the brain responsible for our internal reward system are two of the most impactful processes. When these are negatively influenced, mood regulation and decision making become difficult.
No Matter the Cause, Help Is Available
America’s Rehab Campus is Arizona’s premier substance abuse and addiction rehab center. Our addiction recovery specialists consist of medical professionals who are passionate about helping others overcome their dependency and enter recovery.
If you have any questions or concerns about treatment, we encourage you to contact our team for a free and private consultation. We offer all levels of treatment and use only tested practices that are proven to increase the chances of a successful recovery.