Addiction is very common in individuals. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that 19.7 million individuals over the age of 12 suffered from substance abuse in 2017. In this article, we will discuss some of the risk factors for addiction that can affect an individual. It’s essential to identify the signs and get the help an individual needs.
The people around us have a significant effect on shaping our personality and the things we do. They can become great pillars of support and love, but sometimes, they can also be a cause of addiction.
If someone grows up in a household with a history of drug use, their chances of adopting this habit are very high. It is only natural for a child to do what they see their parents doing, and they have a relatively easy means to use the drugs as there may be some in the house.
If parents neglect their child or are not involved enough in their lives, they are more prone to take risks such as experimenting with drugs while growing up.
Facing abuse from parents also leads many young people to use drugs as a coping mechanism to deal with their emotions.
There is often talk about the term ‘peer pressure’ and the adverse effects it can have on young lives in today’s world. The real impact of this phenomenon, however, is still quite understated. Over 70% of teens have tried smoking, which is often considered a gateway drug, due to peer pressure from their friends.
Even if the pressure isn’t hostile, many individuals feel that they need to fit in with the crowd or feel part of the group. This is often a widespread case that leads to experimentation with drugs.
If alcohol or any other drug is commonplace among your social gatherings, you’re more likely to consume it multiple times to make yourself feel like a part of the group.
Social gatherings, such as parties, are among the many triggers that people can run into when going through recovery. It’s essential to avoid all kinds of triggers as much as possible and work with your counselor to develop the right strategies to cope with the risk factors for addiction.
Mental Health Issues
People who are predisposed to mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or any other illness, are much more like to fall victim to addictions. This is known as a “dual diagnosis” where a patient has an addictive disorder and another mental illness.
Furthermore, if you have an addictive disorder, substance use can aggravate your mental illness. On the other hand, mental health issues like anxiety are major risk factors for addiction.
It can become tough to break this cycle, so it’s crucial to get the right drug treatment and go through recovery.
Age of Use
If someone is exposed to drugs before the age of 21, there is a high chance that they will become addicts. Our brains are still developing at this age and being exposed to drug abuse can impact the development of the brain, making it more vulnerable to developing addictions. It can also increase the chances of developing mental illnesses in the future.
Type of Drug
Although harmful, some drugs are considered to have a lower risk of addiction as compared to others. Substances such as crystal meth or cocaine are exceptionally detrimental to your health and much more addictive than marijuana or alcohol.
Thus, it’s much more challenging to recover from such addictions. Users of cocaine, meth, or heroin face severe physical pain during withdrawal periods, making it harder to recover during drug treatment. Users develop addictions much faster and even face risks of overdose as they try to shorten withdrawal periods.
It’s important to make sure that victims of addiction go through a proper rehabilitation plan and get the support they need.
Genetics can play a significant role in a person’s vulnerability to developing addictions. Many people believe that those who suffer from addiction have a lack of willpower. However, science tells us otherwise.
Researchers have found that there are a set of different genes that are responsible for the effect of addiction on our brain. They’ve found that the dopamine reward centers in the brain work differently for each person. This explains why some people are unable to function daily without smoking cigarettes, while others can get away with smoking so often.
Our genes control neurotransmitters. Their receptors are responsible for how our body reacts to substances such as marijuana, stimulants, or so on, and the risk of addiction that they pose to that person.
Drug abuse has been shown to alter our genes, which in turn affects the formation of neurotransmitters. Hence, genetics is a huge risk factor for addiction.
The bottom line is: children of parents who suffer from addiction will have a higher predisposition to developing addictions themselves.
Method of Use
The way you use drugs is also a significant risk factor for addiction. When you ingest something through your mouth, it usually gets filtered through your stomach and liver. However, smoking or injecting a substance sends it right into your bloodstream. This means that the effects on the brain are rapid and profound but short-lived. Because of the intense pleasure, there is an increased risk of repeated-use as people look to relive that state of euphoria. Therefore, smoking or injecting a drug increases the likelihood of developing an addiction.
Addictions can be a source of hardships for many families and individuals. Even though there are many risk factors for addiction, it is vital to realize that there is always hope. Anyone suffering from an addiction should get the right drug treatment and rehabilitation to regain their health and defeat their addictions!
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