Why Do Some People Develop Addiction While Others Do Not?
What Makes Some People More Likely to Develop Addiction?
Unlike other diseases, addiction does not have one set cause. Each person will have their own story of alcohol or drug abuse that has resulted from their own history, predisposing risk factors, and environmental factors. However, one thing remains true about alcohol addiction or drug addiction, it can happen to anyone despite their age, race, socioeconomic background, gender, intelligence, or sexual orientation. Although the individual reasons why a person develops addiction will vary from one person to the next, the impacts that substance abuse has on a person’s life can create significant emotional, relational, and physical damage to their overall health and wellbeing.
While addiction can happen to anyone, there are some factors within a person’s life that can influence risk factors that can lead to addiction. Depending on a person’s family history, environmental influences, personality traits, and stressors that are present within your life can all have an impact and influence you to develop an addiction. Having an understanding of what the signs of addiction are and what can be a contributing factor to substance abuse will help protect individuals from entering into a life of drugs and alcohol abuse. While there are some cases where people can engage in drug and alcohol use without it leading to dependence, for others engaging in recreational use of substances can open up a world of problems and concerns with alcohol or drug abuse. Understanding your own coping mechanisms and healthy outlets for stress including having a positive support system can help to safeguard you from entering into a substance abuse disorder.
Having an addiction to drugs or alcohol does not reflect on who you are as a person or your own values or belief systems. No one decides to become a drug addict overnight or on a whim one day. Most of the time, many understand the devastating nature of their substance abuse but despite harmful consequences find themselves unable to stop their use of drugs and alcohol even though deep down they know that they do not want to live a life of substance abuse. This uncontrollable urge and inability to walk away from drugs or alcohol is the exact nature of addiction and will often tie back to the reasons and risk factors for addiction that have contributed to a person’s life of substance abuse. In order to effectively address and heal from these risk factors for addiction, drug addicts or alcoholics are encouraged to attend an alcohol rehab or drug rehab program that will allow them to safely discuss and heal from these predisposing influences that led to addiction.
4 Risk Factors for Developing Addiction
Below are some common risk factors that can make some people more likely to develop an addiction.
There is often a misconception about substance abuse that if a person wanted to quit taking drugs they would stop. Unfortunately, for many alcoholics and drug addicts, there is a genetic component within their bodies that works to prevent this from happening. The chemical reactions within a person’s brain that have an addiction to drugs or alcohol are different compared to a person who has not struggled with addiction. If you have a biological history within your family of drug or alcohol addiction, it increases and influences the risk of a person developing an addiction due to the chemical makeup and DNA within the family that is being passed down from generation to generation. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over half of your chances of developing a drug or alcohol addiction are based on your genetics. Being susceptible to substance abuse or having an “addictive personality” means that you have family members that have engaged in drug abuse and alcohol abuse and although you may not be using the same substance as your family member, you are able to turn a mood-altering substance, experience, or emotion into an addictive pattern without being able to regulate it.
2. Dual Diagnosis
For an individual living with a presenting mental health condition, there is often a higher risk for addiction. When you are experiencing negative side effects or symptoms from a mental health condition, it can produce unpleasant and, sometimes, debilitating symptoms making it hard to function throughout your day-to-day life. Often individuals will turn to substance abuse as a treatment method to maintain the severity of symptoms felt from their co-occurring disorder which ultimately begins a vicious cycle of substance abuse to self-medicate for mental health conditions which leads to an increase in the severity and instability within the mental health conditions.
3. Environmental factors
If you are a person that has experienced peer pressure from families and friends to engage in substance abuse, it is a predominant factor in increasing the person’s risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Usually, it begins by experimenting with drugs and alcohol which then leads to addiction afterward the longer that the experimentation continues. Children that have grown up with parents who use drugs or alcohol are often more susceptible to addiction. This is due to the normalization of drugs and alcohol and the example that substance use is a coping mechanism for dealing with stress. Children of alcoholics and addicts may also experience feelings of neglect or abandonment and turn to substance abuse as a method of coping.
4. Nature of Substance Abuse
The history and specifics of a person’s alcohol or drug abuse can greatly impact their life and increase the risk for addiction. Your specific drug of choice can influence risk as some may change the chemical makeup of your brain more than others. For example, heroin addiction can create a strong physical dependency quickly which causes significant drug detox side effects, whereas a marijuana addiction does not cause the same intensity of drug dependence making it easier to overcome. The method of use will also play a role in your drug or alcohol addiction such as injecting, ingesting, snorting, or smoking will all create different experiences and shift biological makeup and responses.
Can You Prevent Addiction?
There is no set cure for addiction or method to prevent it entirely as it can happen to anyone under their own specific circumstances. However, there are methods of protecting yourself and your loved ones through early recognition of the risk factors for addiction. Understanding the signs of addiction and how it impacts a person’s life can help to provide insight on when your alcohol or drug abuse has begun to become an area of concern. Learning how to mitigate the risk factors and put in place proper support in addiction recovery will help to ensure that a person is able to get help and support before the spiral of addiction to drugs and alcohol takes over.
Addiction Treatment Programs
When you are ready to address your substance abuse within an addiction treatment program, there are varying options for methods of treatment that will meet the individual needs of each patient.
Residential inpatient drug and alcohol rehab is an excellent option for someone with a significant addiction who can benefit from a highly structured program with many safeguards in place. Inpatient rehab allows you to remove yourself from triggers and distractions at home so you can focus on your needs and fully engage in addiction treatment.
Others may benefit more from a flexible option for drug or alcohol treatment programs. Choosing an outpatient rehab program allows patients with less severe addictions to continue with their day-to-day responsibilities of work, school, and loved ones while also being invited to attend the treatment center during the day or evening for addiction therapy methods.
Individual and Family Therapy for Addiction
Addiction is a chronic disease that impacts the addicted person’s life along with having a ripple effect on family and friends that are close to you. Throughout addiction treatment, you will have the opportunity to focus on healing from within through individual therapy sessions along with understanding the impacts that your alcohol and drug addiction have had on your loved ones with the support of family therapy. Having a family together to discuss their experiences of substance abuse within the family allows for the family unit to begin to build trust and have open communication with one another again.
Muse Treatment Center for Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Los Angeles
Los Angeles residents choose Muse for their healing journey from the high levels of care placed upon each and every patient that enters the recovery program. Through a variety of evidence-based therapy methods, patients will be able to have their feelings and experiences validated and processed while also developing and learning the skills for relapse prevention and effective life skills for addiction recovery. At Muse, we offer patients a continuum of care that will support them in every step they take towards a life of sobriety, peace, and happiness. Contact Muse today to have any questions about risk factors for addiction answered so that you can make the courageous and bold decision to enter into addiction treatment programs. Call (800) 426-1818.