Understanding Addiction: 10 Factors That Contribute to Substance Abuse Problems

Addiction does not heavily depend on demographics and can affect anyone. However, there are many scenarios where certain population groups are at a higher risk of addiction. Drug addiction is characterized as a chronic brain disease, although treatable. Certain factors like genetics and societal pressure contribute to addiction. However, even if these factors are present, it does not destine addiction in your life. Most people can try drugs and still say unaddicted. However, risk factors surely increase your susceptibility to addiction.

Although drug addiction can be deadly in some scenarios, it is largely avoidable. If you believe you have these risk factors in your life and are getting drawn towards drugs, it might be time to seek help. There are many organizations like the Palm Beach Institute which offer personalized care. 

If you want to learn more about the risk factors, read on below!

  1. Genetics

Scientists have estimated that around 40 to 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction comes from genetics. Researchers found that specific proteins, PSD-95, and DARPP-32, can contribute to drug abuse problems. 

These proteins are why substance abuse often runs in families, passed on from parents to children. However, if someone in your family deals with substance abuse, it does not guarantee addiction issues – it only makes the risk greater.

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  1. Age

Drug addiction usually starts at a young age. However, recently the misuse of prescription drugs has increased the adult population.

Research also shows that the early a person starts using drugs, the higher the chance of addiction. It happens because the human brain is still maturing at that age. Constant use leads to addiction which rewires the brain. Therefore, starting any substance at an early age is the strongest predictor of an increased risk of addiction.

  1. Mental Health

Different mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) create an environment for an increased risk of addiction. If you are diagnosed with a medical condition, you might probably seek alternative and quick solutions to help cope with the problems, and people often use drugs as a form of self-medication. 

Getting treated for mental health problems early on can prevent co-occurring disorders. It is crucial to figure out if someone is taking drugs to help with their mental health issues. Substance abuse can also worsen mental health conditions in some scenarios.

  1. Ethnic background

Ethnicity contributes to the likelihood of drug addiction from both biological and environmental standpoints. Natural differences include your body’s metabolism to drugs. It means that the body’s ability to break down narcotics differs in ethnic groups, affecting your drug sensitivity. 

Societal factors include the response to drug use. The reaction to drug use differs between cultures. This is a major reason why addiction is more common in Native Americans than Asians or African Americans. 

  1. Home culture

The environment in which a person resides has an immense impact on his future decisions. It forms a part of the nurture side of a person’s habits. Teens living in homes with little parental supervision are likely to experiment more. The home environment can also consist of people addicted themselves, which further increases the risk of addiction. Contrary to this, a caring family that prioritizes your health and sets guidelines can keep you away from picking up harmful habits. People brought up in such families are less likely to get addicted, even if other risk factors are present.

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  1. Availability

The supply of drugs in a person’s home or community is a major factor contributing to the development of addiction. This supply would indicate a prevalent culture of drugs in your surroundings, encouraging you to join in as well. The abuse of prescription drugs is also on the rise. It increases the availability of narcotics through medical prescriptions. People can abuse prescription drugs not having the proper knowledge of their negative aspects.

  1. Stress

Stress at an early age is associated with substance abuse problems. There are different stressors like sexual and physical abuse, which increase a person’s susceptibility to drugs. Poverty also causes stress. All these types of stress might lead you to try and find solutions to help take the edge off. Stress often leads people towards drugs. Therefore, it is crucial to be involved with support groups that help you through problems and strictly discourage narcotics.

Seeking treatment for stress, anxiety and depression early on and exercising regularly can completely change the trajectory of your life and may even help you become more physically active.

  1. Chronic Pain

If you suffer from chronic pain, you have likely been prescribed opioids as painkillers. One major problem with opioids is that they are highly addictive. Many people develop addictions to painkillers. Even if you do not possess any other risk factors, there is a chance you will get addicted. The difficulty of reducing your addiction only increases with time and you may not be able to realize it till it’s too late.

  1. Peer Pressure

Peer pressure often influences every activity that you perform. Peer pressure promotes the desire to fit in. If you see all your friends indulging in a new drug, you might want to try it. You want to experience a sense of belonging, much like anyone else. Peer pressure is highly dominant in teenage years since teenagers have no clear sense of direction. Therefore, it is important to keep the right company and adopt healthy habits.

  1. Trauma

People with a history of experiencing or witnessing trauma have a higher likelihood of getting addicted. Narcotics provide an escape to forget all the ills in life, even if it’s only for a few hours. Trauma victims require extra care. Families should be vigilant not to let these people anywhere near drugs.

Some Final Thoughts

At each stage of your life, the risk factors of substance abuse keep changing. These factors are often hard to overcome. It requires a substantial amount of effort and willpower to beat addiction. However, if proper care is taken, anyone who suffers from addiction issues can tackle them.

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