Addiction And Its Risk Factors: Things To Know

People can become addicted to alcohol and drugs regardless of race, age, gender, and socioeconomic background. Much like any other disease, addiction has signs, symptoms, and risk factors. Although it is difficult to completely understand why it happens, certain people are more at risk of becoming addicted than others.

So, why are certain people more susceptible to addiction? Well, there are actually many risk factors that lead to drug addiction or alcoholism. Here’s a list of addiction risk factors and signs to watch out for to answer this question.

Biological Factors 

  • Genetics 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that genetics make up almost half of an individual’s risk factors for developing an addiction. This means that people with relatives dealing with drug and alcohol addiction have a higher chance than most to become addicted as well. 

However, this doesn’t mean people with relatives battling addiction would automatically get addicted too. It will, of course, depend on the individual’s choices and other risk factors.

  • Developmental Stage 

Research shows that drug addiction and alcoholism are linked to an individual’s developmental stage. The human brain isn’t fully mature during adolescence and only stops maturing and developing until the mid to late 20s.

What this tells us is that drug and alcohol consumption during the brain’s developmental years leaves lasting adverse effects. It is why people who began using drugs in their teens are more likely to develop an addiction when they become adults.

  • Drug Sensitivity 

Drug sensitivity is one of the most dangerous risk factors for addiction. Drug addiction and alcoholism are linked to the body’s reaction and sensitivity to these harmful substances. Some people can handle the negative effects of alcohol and drugs, while others cannot.

You may have seen someone drink three cups of coffee with seemingly no effect, which means their bodies can handle the large doses of caffeine. Others, on the other hand, cannot sleep after downing just one cup. Same with drug use, some people just can’t handle it, and some can.

  • Gender 

While addiction is less prevalent in women than in men, we shouldn’t overlook an individual’s gender.

Older research has shown that men were more likely to be addicted than women. However, this gap has been closing in recent years. Today, almost equal numbers of men and women suffer from drug addiction.

Another gender-related risk factor for addiction is substance choice. Men are more likely to get addicted to marijuana and alcohol, while women are more likely to get hooked on medications for sleeplessness or anxiety.

  • Mental Health Status 

A co-existing mental disorder is one of the most dangerous risk factors for alcoholism and drug addiction.

People with anxiety, ADHD, depression, and other mental disorders abuse drugs for different reasons. Some believe drugs can alleviate their symptoms, while others believe drugs can make them forget their problems. Regardless of their reason, mental illnesses increase an individual’s likelihood of becoming addicted.

Environmental Factors 

  • Family 

Addiction is linked to the environment parents raise their children. Teens who live in chaotic situations are more likely than others to use drugs, particularly if they have little or no parental supervision. Teens who have experienced family problems, such as abuse or neglect, are more likely to use drugs or alcohol.

  • Drug Availability 

Research has shown that drug availability in the home, school, and community is a risk factor for addiction. The availability of prescription drugs has led to more people becoming dependent on them. It’s even easier to obtain than street drugs in some places.

  • Stressors 

Trauma, sexual abuse, poverty, financial hardship, and other stressors are linked to addiction. People always look for ways to forget their stresses, problems, and feelings for a short while. Unfortunately, some find it in alcohol and drugs. This leads to continued use and abuse, which only adds to their problems.

  • Peer Pressure  

Addiction can also be caused by the influence of an individual’s peers. People involved in substance abuse may be at greater risk of being influenced by others. If they continue to associate with addicts, they might succumb to peer pressure or their curiosity.

Signs Of Drug Addiction

According to Haven House Recovery, a center for addiction recovery in Murfreesboro, the signs of addiction differ for everyone. These are the most common signs to be aware of:

  • Tremors And Seizures
  • Impaired Physical Coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Changes In Weight, Eating Habits, And Appetite
  • Poor Hygiene
  • Jaw Clenching
  • Changes In Hobbies, Daily Routines, And Social Circles
  • Withdrawal From Family And Friends
  • Isolation
  • Poor Academic Or Work Performance
  • Irresponsibility

Key Takeaway 

Many factors are at play where alcoholism and drug addiction are involved. Biological factors contributing to an individual’s risk of addiction include genetics, drug sensitivity, developmental stage, gender, and mental health status.

An individual’s environment also plays a role in their susceptibility to addiction. Rough family life, drug availability, stress, and the influence of their peers increase an individual’s risk of using and getting addicted to drugs and other substances.

Some of these factors may be beyond your control, but always remember that you are in control of your decisions and how you choose to react to your situation.

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