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Risk Factors for Addiction

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans used illicit drugs in 2018. Many of those individuals developed a substance use disorder, the inability to regulate one’s intake of drugs or alcohol. Addiction is an ongoing public health issue. Drug or alcohol addictions is a complex disease. While substance use disorder or addiction can happen to anyone, there are certain risk factors for addiction. Being able to identify these risk factors puts individuals in a strong position to prevent addiction from taking hold of themselves or their loved ones.

Biological Risk Factors for Addiction

Certain people develop substance use disorder or addiction due to biological factors. While they may experiment with drugs and alcohol or use them to address some mental health issues, their biology makes them more susceptible to developing a dependence. Some of these biological risk factors for addiction include:

  • Genetics: Addiction can run in families. However, just because someone has a family history of drug or alcohol abuse doesn’t mean they are fated to also suffer from it. But experts estimate an individual’s genetic makeup contributes to 40%–60% of the risk for addiction.
  • Developmental Stage: The earlier individuals start using drugs or alcohol the higher the likelihood they develop an addiction. The brains of adolescents and young adults are still developing so introducing substances to them can lead to severe changes in their brain chemistry.
  • Mental Health: A mental health disorder like depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the risk factors for addiction. Often, if mental health issues go undiagnosed or untreated, individuals will self-medicate with drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. While this may alleviate the mental health issue at first, over the longterm it will only worsen the condition. Thus, a cycle of substance abuse begins leading to addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment is one way to address this issue in persons suffering from substance use disorder.

Environmental Risk Factors

Aside from biological factors, a person’s environment can contribute to addiction. This covers not just where an individual lives but who they live with. Some environmental risk factors for addiction include:

  • Home and family: Homelife is probably the most dominant environmental risk factor for addiction. If children live with alcoholics, they stand a greater chance of abusing alcohol themselves. Homes that lack of structure encourages substance abuse. When families undergo extreme stress due to finances, criminal activity, or the pressure to care for older family members, the risk of abusing drugs or alcohol rises.
  • Availability: If drugs are readily available, then the likelihood of use and, therefore, abuse increases.
  • Social Stress: When individual witness or experience trauma, their risk of abusing drugs and alcohol increases. Witnessing violence, experiencing physical or sexual assault, the anxiety created by religious or community expectations, the pressure to perform in sports, at work, or in school are all environmental stressors and risk factors for addiction.

Support at Promises Five Palms

Addiction can happen to anyone. Like any disease, it doesn’t discriminate. What matters is how we react to addiction. At Promises Five Palms, we believe everyone deserves the opportunity to heal and be healthy. Substance use disorder can cripple lives. Thus, we offer a variety of treatment options such as:

Also, we understand how mental health issues can lead to substance abuse. Our experienced and compassionate staff understands the risk factors for addiction and can get you or a loved one the help necessary to beat it. Contact us today at 1.844.675.1022 to learn more.

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