Did you know that over 21 million people in the United States suffer from at least one addiction? Most people can overcome their addictions, but for some people the problems can worsen over time without treatment.
Addiction is the continued use of a substance or engagement in a behavior despite adverse effects. It’s a chronic, relapsing brain disease making it a challenge to overcome the habit on your own. Professional help is often necessary. Sadly, certain factors can affect the likelihood of developing and speeding up an addiction.
This is why rehab is so important these days. Many people need to speak with a professional to get the help they need to figure out the nature of their addition.
You need to be aware of the risk factors to help stop addiction. Here are a few:
Genetic factors can influence the development of addiction. Genes affect the type and number of receptors in the brain and how quickly neurotransmitters break down. Some genes determine how fast one’s body metabolizes drugs. They also affect the response to treatments or drugs.
People with particular genetic makeup are more likely to develop addictions. If your parents or close relatives have substance abuse problems, you’re at a higher risk. However, it doesn’t always mean that you will develop an addiction.
Nevertheless, take time to learn more about the effect of genes on addiction from reputable resources such as Addiction Treatment Magazine. You’ll understand why some people are more prone to addiction than others.
Mental Health Disorders
A lot of people who suffer from addiction have mental health disorders. One in every four adults living with severe mental illness also has a substance abuse problem. Mental health disorders can make people more vulnerable to addiction and complicate recovery.
In some cases, people turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate as they try to cope with the symptoms of the mental illness. Unfortunately, this can lead to a vicious cycle of addiction and mental illness.
The social environment can affect the likelihood of developing an addiction. Having friends or family members who abuse drugs or alcohol increases the risk. Witnessing drug use at a young age can normalize substance abuse and make it more likely that a person will use drugs.
Children who grow up in poverty are also at a higher risk of developing addictions. This is because they may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress and trauma of living in poverty.
Stressful Life Events
Stressful life events can trigger addiction or make it worse. They include divorce, the death of a loved one, job loss, and financial problems. People struggling with stressful issues turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. Unfortunately, this can lead to addiction. Stress escalates as addiction takes a toll on your personal and professional life.
Stress at work can also lead to addiction. In fact, these five stressful corporate jobs often drive people to addiction.
Young people are more likely to develop addictions than older adults. The brain parts that control decision-making, impulse control, and emotions are still maturing until a person reaches their mid-20s. It makes young people more likely to take risks, including the use of drugs or alcohol. Young people are also likely to suffer from mental health disorders, making them more vulnerable to addiction.
Men develop addictions more than women. They’re more likely to take risks and suffer from mental health disorders. Women develop addictions more than men if they have experienced trauma or abuse or have a family member who suffers from addiction.
Trauma is the psychological response to an adverse event. Traumatic events can include physical, emotional, sexual abuse, witnessing violence, or being victims of natural disasters. People who have experienced trauma may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain. Trauma can also lead to mental health disorders, making people more vulnerable to addiction.
Lack of Family Bonds
If you grew up in a loving, supportive family, you’re less likely to develop an addiction because you had a positive role model and a support system. Family bonds offer a sense of security and belonging. They teach you how to cope with stress and difficult emotions.
On the other hand, growing up in a dysfunctional or abusive family makes you more likely to develop an addiction. You might not have learned how to cope with stress and difficult emotions. You also probably saw your family members abuse drugs or alcohol, normalizing substance abuse.
Addiction is a complex disease caused by a variety of factors. Some of these factors are out of your control, such as your genes or family history. Understanding the risk factors makes you more aware. You can then take steps to protect yourself, such as avoiding drugs or getting help if struggling with addiction.