Understanding the risk factors for addiction can help a person prevent a person from experimenting with drugs in the first place.
Sadly, some people are more predisposed to developing a dependency on illicit substances than others. After all, no one willingly chooses to become addicted. Drug addiction changes the way a person thinks and behaves, impacts their daily routine and job, interferes with their relationships, and can be expensive to upkeep. If addiction were a choice, no one would want to live with it.
Continue reading to learn why some people take mood-altering substances.
Why Do People Try Drugs to Begin With?
To relieve sadness or stress: Individuals who live with depression, anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders may turn to drugs as a coping mechanism. Furthermore, stressful life events may also push people to drug use and can result in relapse–even after a person thinks they have combatted their addiction.
To get through the day: Some people take drugs just to feel good, even if it is temporary; however, others take them just to get through another day. Many drugs produce feelings of euphoria, an intense physical sensation or experience that gives one feelings of confidence and invincibility. Some of the behaviors that may become addictive can also provide long-lasting, mood-enhancing effects, such as sexual pleasure or financial gains from gambling. For instance, even receiving a notification from a social media site can release feel-good chemicals to the brain, creating addiction-like symptoms around smartphone use.
To satiate curiosity: Teenagers and young adults often try an illicit substance for the sake of trying something new. The part of the brain associated with decision-making is still developing during a person’s teenage years, so it is no surprise that many young people are at risk of folding to peer pressure.
To boost performance: Some people rely on stimulants to enhance sporting, academic, creative, and professional achievements. Although this will show short-term gains, the risks are far more dangerous in the long run. For instance, when a governing body in competitive sports monitors athletes for performance-enhancing drugs, using substances can result in a lifetime ban from competitively playing sports.
While some people try drugs a few times and do not develop an addiction, it is important to note that anyone can become addicted—regardless of background, social status, or beliefs. The more risks a person is exposed to, the more likely they will abuse substances. Below are five risk factors for addiction.
5 Risk Factors for Addiction to Watch out For
Let us clear the primary misconception some people hold about those who are addicted to drugs: addiction has nothing to do with a lack of morals or willpower. The chemical reactions that a person’s brain experiences when they are addicted are significantly different than the ones in a non-addict’s brain. The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that as much as half of a person’s risk of developing a dependency on drugs, alcohol, or nicotine can be attributed to genetics. Therefore, it is common for those with family members who have experienced addiction to turn into addicts themselves.
2. Early Substance Use
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a survey that shows that adults ages 18-24 are more susceptible to developing drug and alcohol use disorders. If a person drinks alcohol or uses drugs when they are young, it can have negative effects on their brain development and make them more prone to mental illness when they are older.
3. Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnosis is when an individual has both an addictive disorder and a mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more. Sadly, underlying mental health conditions can increase a person’s risk of addiction. Furthermore, addiction can worsen the severity of existing mental health conditions, creating a vicious cycle that causes one’s addiction down spiral rapidly. Even though a person who uses drugs or alcohol may think that these substances decrease their symptoms for some time, addiction will only aggravate their conditions in the long-run.
Another risk factor for addiction can include medical conditions. For instance, someone who takes prescription pain medications after surgery may be at risk of prescription drug addiction. Injury or illness can also alter one’s lifestyle in ways that encourage the use of drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.
4. Methods of Drug Use
Some methods of using substances can increase one’s risk factors for addiction. For example, when a person injects drugs or snorts them, they can become more addictive than if they swallow them. Drugs that are injected or snorted quickly enter one’s bloodstream and brain, as opposed to when they are swallowed because they have to go through one’s liver and organs first.
5. Drug of Preference
Some addictions develop fast, while others progress over a period of months or years. Certain drugs, such as methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine can be more addictive than marijuana or alcohol. A person who uses cocaine or heroin is likely to undergo a physically painful withdrawal period, making the process of addiction development faster; this raises their risk of dangerous complications, such as overdose.
Even though some people are more likely to develop an addiction than others due to certain factors, some of which are out of their control, one can never be too careful when it comes to drugs. Many people who are addicted exhibit negative behaviors and attitudes when confronted about their usage.
Barriers that Can Get in the Way of a Person’s Journey to Sobriety
Denial: Part of the reason why addiction is so challenging to overcome is that oftentimes, the person affected may not accept that they have a problem. It can be frustrating and devastating for friends and relatives to see their loved one participate in self-destructive behaviors, only to become aggressive when confronted.
Avoidance: A person addicted to drugs may avoid their friends and family because they may think they will be “attacked” every time they communicate. Sadly, avoidance can lead to the deterioration of many otherwise healthy relationships.
Anger: When confronted, a person struggling with addiction will naturally react with anger. Defensiveness can turn into aggressiveness when the issue is raised, and even the nicest approach may be met with an outburst.
It is easy to see that addiction also impacts an addict’s family and friends, especially when they are being spoken to in an aggressive manner. At some point, an addict’s loved ones may choose to stage an intervention.
Is There a Right Time to Stage an Intervention?
Most people who struggle with addiction will refuse to accept that they have a disease; however, an intervention can help them see how heart-breaking it is for the people they care about the most. The safest interventions involve a trust-worthy group of family members and friends and can be led by a therapist or professional interventionist. A professional can guide the meeting and ensure that everyone gets a chance to talk in a supportive setting. Their presence can help keep the addicted person calm while discussing the severity of the problem.
An intervention can be a crucial first step on the road to recovery.
Treatment is Within Reach at Ardu Recovery Center
Although certain risk factors for addiction can make breaking the cycle of substance abuse feel nearly impossible, help is one phone call away. At Ardu Recovery Center, we believe that everyone struggling with an addiction deserves the opportunity to live their happiest, sober life. We have a Medical Detox Center, Women’s Recovery Center, and Men’s Recovery Center that can help you or a loved one get on the right path to recovery.
We are located in Provo, Utah. Reach out to us today with any questions you may have.