Like many other illnesses, addiction is influenced by a wide range of underlying factors. Many of these factors, such as genetic makeup and environment, may make some people more prone to addiction than others. It’s important to recognize that the risk factors for addiction occur regardless of a person’s upbringing, personal beliefs or moral code. As a result, many of these influences are outside of a person’s control.
Understanding the various circumstances that contribute to addiction can help you better understand the nature of addictive illness. Here are some of the most common risk factors for addiction that are worth considering.
Genetic makeup is a large determining factor in the likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that half of a person’s risk of developing an addiction is determined by their genetic code. This means that you may be at a higher risk of an addictive disorder if addiction runs in your family.
Your genetic makeup also helps define what is known as an “addictive personality.” If anyone in your family has struggled with addiction, you may be more prone to addictive behavior in general, whether you express it through drugs, smoking or another harmful habit.
Underlying Mental Health Conditions
If you have any underlying mental health conditions, this may also increase your risk of developing a drug or alcohol addiction. Mental disorders such as anxiety, depression or OCD can be very difficult to cope with, which causes some people to turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to numb the pain.
Likewise, addictive disorders tend to exacerbate mental illness. If you’re already struggling with addiction, you may begin to develop symptoms of anxiety, depression or another mental condition as a result of substance abuse.
Peer pressure is one of the most salient risk factors among young people. Even if a child has no other risk factors for addiction, they may still become addicted to drugs or alcohol if they are influenced by the wrong crowd. Many young people, particularly teenagers, feel a powerful desire to be included in their friend group. This often drives them to engage in risky behavior so as not to be excluded.
In many cases, this risky behavior involves drug or alcohol use. A child may be at an even higher risk of developing an addiction if they are struggling to fit in at school or have become a victim of bullying.
Type of Substance
The risk of addiction is not equal for all substances. The type of substance you use also affects the likelihood of developing an addictive disorder. For example, powerful drugs like heroin and cocaine are known to trigger strong addictive responses in the brain. This can cause you to begin an unhealthy cycle of behaviors that evolves into a full-blown addiction.
It’s worth noting that withdrawing from highly addictive drugs is more painful than it is with less addictive drugs. As a result, people may increase the frequency and amount of the heroin or cocaine they use to avoid suffering through the withdrawal process.
Find the Support You Need
If these risk factors have played a role in your addiction, we can help. Contact America’s Rehab Campuses today to learn more about the drug and alcohol treatment services we offer.