One of the first things that scientists study is how to identify drug addiction. Why? Because they want to find ways to prevent it, of course! They soon discovered that there are different risk factors for drug addiction. Let’s take a look at these risk factors!
There are many risk factors associated with developing an addiction or substance use disorder (SUD). Some of the most common risk factors include genetics, environment, and social influences. Researchers have identified various specific risk factors that can be separated into four main categories: biological/genetic, environmental/peer-related, mental health disorders related to drug abuse, and drug availability.
Since drug addiction runs in families, a genetic predisposition to the disorder might exist. People who have a parent or sibling with a history of drug abuse are more likely to develop an addiction themselves. Researchers suggest a more significant risk if the relative has another mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Evidence suggests that exposure to drugs in the uterus can lead to an increased risk of addiction. It also appears that the age when a person tries drugs for the first time could play a role in developing an addiction. Those who start using between ages 15 and 25 are more likely to become addicted, while those who begin after age 25 may be at increased risk because it takes longer for their brain to mature.
Peer-related/ Environmental factors
This is another risk factor that is there in drug addiction. Learning how to get along with friends and family members is an essential part of human development. Teenagers are particularly susceptible to peer pressure because their identities are still being formed. The desire to have friends, fit in, or feel included can lead them to try alcohol or drugs, putting them at risk of developing a substance use disorder later. Even if a friend or family member doesn’t have an addiction, simply being around people who use drugs increases the risk of becoming a user. This can also happen in the workplace or at school.
For some people, particular social settings are hazardous—even if their environment is generally safe. A study of 654 youths living in high-risk neighborhoods found that those exposed to violence regularly were five times more likely to develop an addiction than others. Being victimized or witnessing violence is also linked to substance abuse.
Mental Health Disorders Related to Drug Abuse
Mental illness is a vital factor present among those struggling with a substance use disorder. People who have drug addiction may get mental disorders such as; Bipolar disorder and other mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety and Schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders.
It is estimated that 50 to 80 percent of bipolar disorder also have a substance use disorder. Similarly, the risk for developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or an anxiety disorder is increased with drug abuse.
The fourth risk factor in drug addiction is drug availability or exposure. Drugs become available because of the proliferation of illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin and legal drugs, such as alcohol and prescription medications. For example, teenagers often get their hands on pills prescribed to someone else in the family. These are risky behaviors since they increase the likelihood of drug exposure, leading to an addiction.
Drugs are available illegally in many ways. The drugs come into the country across land borders, smuggled through airports and seaports, or produced domestically by organized crime groups. Drug availability can vary within a city or state depending on how well local authorities manage the problem.
The more available drugs in a community, the likelier it is for drug use to become prevalent. Since many people have easy access to alcohol and cigarettes, these substances are far more likely to become addictions than illicit drugs such as opioids or marijuana, even though they may be just as dangerous.
In conclusion, these are the factors present in drug addiction. There are many risk factors for developing a substance use disorder, and it’s essential to understand these and take steps to reduce them. If you or someone else may be struggling with a substance use disorder. Call 833-364-0736, Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to get help immediately before the problem worsens.