When it comes to overcoming addiction, understanding the risk factors for substance abuse and why some people are more susceptible to these problems can give you a better understanding of you or your loved one’s situation.
Research has found that while anyone can develop a drug addiction, several factors increase someone’s risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. The District Recovery’s addiction treatment programs can help put preventative measures in place and help your path to recovery through our Orange County rehab partnerships and sober living homes.
Understanding The Risk Factors for Addiction
Risk factors are elements or circumstances that increase someone’s chances of developing an addiction. The more risks someone is exposed to, the more they are likely to use substances and build dependency on them.
While everybody is different, exposure to certain stimuli, especially at a young age can be a big factor in someone’s decision to turn to drugs or alcohol. For example, things like seeing or being around guardian figures or parents that abuse alcohol or drugs can eventually lead to the child using drugs as well.
Other factors like exposure to traumatic events like war or a serious car crash can cause individuals to develop PTSD and use substances to cope with these feelings.
Overall, drug and alcohol addiction can develop in a number of different ways. Being able to recognize some risk factors that can lead to addiction may help you better understand if you or your loved one actually has a problem.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common risk factors that people dealing with an addiction have a connection with.
The environment someone is exposed to can increase the risk of addiction. For instance, a teenager that goes through parental neglect is more likely to experiment with substances early on. Similarly, problems like physical or sexual abuse can cause younger people to develop PTSD at a young age.
Substance abuse can be their method of coping with their present situation. Peer pressure, a desire to fit in with the crowd, and the availability of substances within their social group can also contribute.
Genetics and Addiction
A person’s genetics is one of the main risk factors for addiction. It is common for people whose family members have battled an addiction to develop substance abuse disorders. For instance, a child whose parent has an alcohol use disorder could become addicted to alcohol or another substance.
Studies have shown that problems like alcoholism can be hereditary and can even be some of the strongest risks of alcoholism indicators.
Addiction and Age
A person who used drugs at a young age increases the chances of them developing addictions later on. Also, early drug use can affect brain development. This makes them more susceptible to not only developing substance abuse disorders, but also mental health disorders — a problem known as a co-occurring disorder that requires specific dual diagnosis treatment if the problem is to be overcome.
Other Addiction Risk Factors
Along with these three risk factors for substance abuse, other issues, such as co-occurring mental health disorders, drug of choice, and method of use can all influence an individual’s addiction problem. Let’s examine these a bit closer.
Dual diagnosis refers to the simultaneous occurrence of a substance abuse disorder and a mental health condition. The presence of underlying mental health issues could contribute to someone’s risk factors for addiction, often leading them to adopt a lifestyle that encourages drug use. They might turn to drugs as a way of coping or decreasing their symptoms.
The time taken for someone to develop an addiction varies depending on the drug of choice. Some drugs are more addictive than others. For instance, heroin is more physically addictive than alcohol or marijuana. A person using heroin tends to experience more physically painful withdrawals. This could make them use higher doses of the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms, speeding up the addiction process.
How drugs are used also affects addiction. When substances are swallowed or ingested, they pass through organs such as the liver, where they are filtered. On the other hand, drugs that are either injected or smoked directly enter the blood and brain, making them more addictive.
Risk factors do not guarantee the development of addiction. Even with these several risk factors, there are ways for you to limit the chances of addiction or avoid it entirely. These ways are such as:
- Seeking counseling to help you resolve past trauma and help you develop healthy ways to handle stress and pressure
- Seek treatment for mental conditions
- Surround yourself with friends who can be positive influences and offer the right kind of support
- Educate yourself about the effects of drug use
- Adapting a well-balanced life
Unchecked mental illness is one of the most common problems that lead to the development of a substance abuse and addiction issue. Problems like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more are all known to have serious correlations with substance abuse. Seeking treatment for these issues will only help to improve these problems and reduce your overall risk of substance abuse.
Obviously, for those struggling with an addiction, the best thing you can do is to seek out professional help to overcome this problem.
Addiction is a disease and if you want to overcome the issue properly, it is best to find medical and addiction professionals who know how to help you. This is where The District comes in.
Seeking Addiction Treatment at District Recovery
If you are presently battling a substance abuse disorder, seeking addiction treatment is highly recommended. Here at District Recovery Community, we offer therapy, outpatient rehab, a robust aftercare program, and several other addiction treatment options. If you need help conquering a substance abuse problem, our team is here to guide you along the way.
Our treatment programs can make it possible for you to recover and better cope with the risk factors for addiction and avoid relapsing. Call District Recovery Community at 844.287.8506 to learn more.