Top Risk Factors for Addiction
Wondering if you might be at risk for addiction? Science and experience have identified common risk factors that are present in many people who go on to develop a substance use disorder. It is a complicated mix of personal and medical factors, but understanding these risk factors could make a difference between the prescribed use of pain medication, for example, and addiction. Here are some addiction risk factors that researchers have identified.
Addiction Risk Factors
While everyone has the ability to experience addiction to something, some people are simply more prone to developing the disorder. According to Medical News Today, some addiction risk factors that increase the likelihood of substance use disorder include:
- Genetics & family background: Researchers say addiction is an issue of genetics about 40-60 percent of the time. While researchers know genetics plays a role, they do not yet know the exact methodology for the genetic transfer of addiction. However, scientists are working hard to determine the physical components of addiction. There is also potentially a behavioral component to addiction; The University of Arizona points out that if a child’s parents misused drugs or alcohol, the child is at higher risk of following those behaviors later on.
- Environment: The influence of other people plays a role in addiction. In some cases, this can be a significant addiction risk factor that leads to substance misuse. This could be especially true in the young person’s formative years, where high school or college peer groups apply pressure to conform to drug or alcohol-seeking behaviors. When the peer group normalizes bing drinking or casual drug experimentation, this could provide the slippery slope leading to the development of substance use disorders.
- How the drugs are taken: The delivery method for drugs impacts the speed with which an addiction develops. For example, injecting or smoking a drug delivers it more quickly into the nervous system; but the high also wears off faster. This quick change can push people to seek more of the drug to re-experience the high more frequently. It is easy to see how this can be a serious addiction risk factor.
- The type of drug used: Some drugs like crack, heroin or even nicotine include chemical components that interact with the brain in ways that cause addiction faster. For people prone to a substance use disorder, sometimes just one hit of these substances can lead to an addiction.
Other addiction risk factors include the person’s own metabolism and how quickly their body processes alcohol or drugs. Additionally, the age at which they first use the substance is important. Research reveals that the younger the person is when using the drug, the more likely that their use will lead to misuse and evolve into a substance use disorder.
For people that have developed a substance use disorder, no matter the reason, there are rehab resources available now to help. These resources offer a way out for the person grappling with a substance use disorder.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.