Factors That Contribute to Drug Addiction
A multitude of factors contribute to addiction; addiction can happen to anyone, often before they know what is happening.
Everything from environment to genetics and even gender can contribute to someone’s likelihood for developing an addiction. Recognizing risk factors that contribute to drug addiction can help people exercise caution and self-awareness when using substances.
1. Environmental factors: careers, family attitudes, peer pressure, and more.
Mental health disorders developed later in life, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and compassion fatigue, can lead to drug use as a coping mechanism. High stress from jobs like public safety, emergency medicine, and the military can also contribute to drug use. Other factors include incidental exposure to highly addictive substances, like stimulants and painkillers, which can lead to a rapid creation of chemical dependency and a high tolerance of the drug. For example, opioid-based prescription painkillers can lead to addiction, even if used properly. Many people may initially be exposed to addictive substances by their peers; this coupled with other predispositions toward addiction can lead to a rapid descent into the disease.
2. Genetics and gender.
A 2002 study surveying more than 5,600 pairs of male-male and female-female twins found that both gender and genetics were significant factors that contribute to drug addiction. According to the Mayo clinic, many studies have shown that while men were more likely to have problems with addiction, female addiction disorders progressed much more rapidly. Many families see generational development of addiction, i.e., people with blood relatives suffering from addiction are more likely to become addicted themselves.
3. Other mental health disorders.
Easily one of the most significant factors contributing to drug addiction is co-morbidity (or co-occurrence) with other mental health disorders. Depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and even ADHD are very well known factors in the development of addiction. Drugs and alcohol are readily available coping mechanisms for those suffering from painful psychiatric disorders. Even loneliness can lead to the use of addictive substances to ease painful feelings. Most often the use of these substances leads to exacerbation of symptoms when the person stops using.
These examples merely skim the surface of factors that contribute to drug addiction.
Learning risk factors for addiction is the best way to catch the disease before it develops. Using this guide in recovery can help to maintain sobriety through knowledge and avoidance of triggers.
Kendler, K., Prescott, C., Myers, J., & Neale, M. (2003, January 9). The Structure of Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Common Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders in Men and Women. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
Drug addiction: Risk Factors. (2014, December 5). Retrieved November 18, 2015.
If you or someone you love needs help, contact us at Victory Addiction Recovery Center anytime (337) 456.9111.
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