It’s easy to become curious about the disease of addiction, particularly when it appears that it easily shows up in some people while others seem immune to the illness. However, experts realize that there are certain factors that can contribute to addiction, making some more vulnerable than others.
In fact, there is no single factor that can predict addiction in a person. It is a combination of certain factors that can create the right inner environment of an individual, such that an addiction develops. Risk factors that influence whether someone will develop an addiction include:
- A person’s biology or genes – About one half of a person’s vulnerability to addiction is made up by a person’s genes as well as their social environment. For instance, if someone in the family has struggled with addiction, then it’s more likely for a person to develop their own addiction. This combined with social factors can strongly influence one’s tendency towards developing an addiction.
- One’s social environment – Examples of social factors include who one spends time with, what is given value in one’s particular group of friends – such as drinking at parties, peer pressure, socioeconomic status, work stress, and physical or sexual abuse. As mentioned above, social factors combined with genetics plays a strong role in the development of addiction.
- Age and maturity – One’s age can play a role in whether an addiction develops. For instance, teens tend to be more impulsive and rely less on their logical brain. Impulsivity and a lack of patience when meeting one’s desires can lead to risky behavior, including regular substance use. Also, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the earlier one begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will develop an addiction. Although an addiction can begin at any age, the younger someone is, the more vulnerable they are to addiction.
- One’s developmental stage – It’s common to experiment with drugs during adolescence. This alone can prompt regular use of a drug and later lead to addiction.
- The presence of other mental illnesses – It’s very common for men and women to turn to drugs and alcohol when they are feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, or loss in their lives. Escaping emotional pain is a primary reason people end up using substances on a regular basis.
What’s great about knowing these factors is that it helps to prevent against addiction. In fact, addiction is a preventable disease. Prevention programs that involve family, friends, schools, and communities can make a significant difference in the lives of those who are vulnerable.
If you feel that you might be prone to developing addiction, or if you are already using substances on a regular basis, contact a mental health provider in your community. He or she might be able to put you in touch with a prevention program. At the very least, that person can assist you with resources to either prevent addiction or achieve sobriety.
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