Risk Factors In Addiction: Psychology
The characteristics that make a person more likely to consume certain substances, and thus suffer from an addiction disorder, are called risk factors. The risk factors for addiction that psychological research has identified are genetic vulnerability, stress, personality and family and peer Influences.
Coping With Substance Abuse
It is important to separate substance abuse from addiction. Although addiction is considered treatable but incurable, substance abuse is not an actual condition. Rather, it may serve as a pathway toward addiction. This means that by taking the appropriate course of action, one may remain on the right track while living a healthier life.
Common ways to live a healthy life while facing concerns with substance abuse include:
- Abstaining from substance use all together
- Minimizing and monitoring substance use
- Avoid using substances known to cause dependence and have the risk of addiction such as controlled prescription medications, nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, and heroin
- Socializing with people and at places where substances are not being used
- Engaging in healthy habits and activities
- Building and maintaining a positive support group
- Becoming educated on substance abuse and addiction
- Talking about problems with trusted others and/or professionals
Though relatively general and straightforward, consistently following these recommendations will help minimize risks associated with substance abuse. Note that continued motivation to remain on track is of utmost importance. Whenever one begins struggling, professional intervention is always recommended.
Gender Increases Or Decreases Odds
Generally speaking,men are more prone to the development of substance use disorder than women at a rate of 11.5% to 6.4%, respectively. The fruition of addiction in both men and women can be attributed to both biology and sociology. It is believed that societal impact and pressures are partly related to these gender differences. And while men are more susceptible to addiction, women are more likely to overdose as a result of substance abuse.
Gender differences and addiction risk factors extend across all subsectors of drugs and alcohol. Men are typically more likely to fall prey to peer pressure that can quickly lead to addiction. Women are more likely to quickly transition from substance abuse to addiction, as well as to use illicit substances as a way to self-medicate. The types of substances each gender abuses are also different today than in the past, such as men now abuse prescription opioids more frequently and women now abuse most substances at the same rates as men
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S To Take If Someone Is Struggling With Addiction
If you spot signs of addiction and suspect that a loved one is struggling, find a calm and safe time to have a conversation with them about it. Do this when they are not actively under the influence of drugs or alcohol or coming down from their effects.
It is important to be supportive, show them you love them, and encourage them to get professional help.
If they are not receptive to the conversation, this is normal. Try to have the conversation again later. It can take a few times to really be heard.
Stop enabling behaviors, such as making excuses for their behaviors or cleaning up after them. Set clear and concise boundaries, and be consistent in your expectations.
A professional intervention, led by a trained interventionist, can be beneficial. This is a structured meeting between loved ones with the goal of helping the person get into a treatment program for recovery.
What Are Some Of The Risk Factors Of Addiction
Jun 2, 2021 | Blog
Like many other illnesses, addiction is influenced by a wide range of underlying factors. Many of these factors, such as genetic makeup and environment, may make some people more prone to addiction than others. Its important to recognize that the risk factors for addiction occur regardless of a persons upbringing, personal beliefs or moral code. As a result, many of these influences are outside of a persons control.
Understanding the various circumstances that contribute to addiction can help you better understand the nature of addictive illness. Here are some of the most common risk factors for addiction that are worth considering.
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Environmental Risk Factors For Developing An Addiction
Substance use disorder is a complex disease often caused by a combination of factors. While nature vs. nurture remains an ongoing debate in addiction research, experts are beginning to believe that the situation is far more complicated. For instance, research suggests that external factors might have the same impact on addiction development as genetic predisposition.
Environments that might impact substance use disorders can include peer pressure from friends or family members and the influence of social media. Stressful life changes might also cause people to turn to substances to cope. Learn about the role of environmental factors in addiction and how to get help if you or a loved one is struggling.
Associated Risk Factors Of Addiction
Although addiction is a common disorder, impacting 35 million people across the globe, its unpredictable and highly complicated.
Its unpredictable as it can affect people from all backgrounds, walks of life, exposure levels to drugs and alcohol, and upbringings. Its a non-discriminatory condition, which can develop for a multitude of reasons. Addiction is recognised as complicated, as various stimuli, triggers, experiences, and outcomes can amount through its development. No two diagnoses are alike, showing how unique and personal an experience is.
Whilst it is unpredictable and complicated, there are some risk factors that can increase the susceptibility of addictive behaviours and stimuli. From personality types and mental illness to social pressures and early use, some behaviours, choices, outlooks, and conditions can increase the likelihood of substance use and habitual disorders.
Here are some associated risk factors of addiction, known to increase the risk of abuse and dependence. If youre experiencing high risks or already show the signs and symptoms of addiction, reach out here at Action Rehab.
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Negative Or Traumatic Life Events
Most studies examining the association between negative and traumatic life events in childhood and adolescence and risk for developing addiction in adulthood have relied on retrospective reports . Studies examining prospectively-substantiated childhood maltreatment demonstrated that any childhood maltreatment, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect predicted cannabis dependence in young adulthood . Given the evidence that retrospective self-reports of childhood maltreatment might be better predictors of substance use disorders than prospective substantiated-reports , it is worth noting that longitudinal studies beginning in childhood or adolescence have found associations between retrospective self-report of childhood adversity or physical abuse before the age of 18 and substance use disorders in adulthood.
Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation
The Dawns first pillar focuses on rehabilitation by giving clients the vital tools that can help them overcome their negative behaviour and encourage them to become independent by giving them the tools they need to live a sober life after rehab. Essential elements of our drug and alcohol rehab programme includes MBCT, which encourages the awareness of the present moment and motivates people to handle situations without judgment, as well as the secular 12 Steps, which is world famous group therapy model that gives our clients a safe environment to discuss issues with their peers and gain social support.
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Parental Substance Use And Behavior
There is also research suggesting that subclinical parental substance use and behavior can influence personal risk for addiction later in life. A recent meta-analysis of longitudinal studies examined which modifiable parenting factors measured in adolescence were associated with future alcohol misuse in their children. The study determined that subclinical levels of parental alcohol use, favorable attitudes toward alcohol use, and parental provision of alcohol use were associated future alcohol misuse by their children . Furthermore, lack of parental involvement, monitoring, support and parent-child relationship quality were associated with increased risk for alcohol misuse later in life.
Domestic Violence And Addiction
Defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a pattern of coercive behavior, including acts or threatened acts, that are used by a perpetrator to gain power, the effects of domestic violence impact not only a persons environment and stress level but their physical and mental health as well.9 Domestic violence can include:9
- Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse.
- Other forms of coercion and control, which maintain the perpetrators power over the victim.
Perpetrators of domestic violence can be a persons current romantic partner, former partner, someone they share a child with, a family member, or a household member.9
Research has shown that people who have suffered domestic violence by an intimate partner are at higher risk for substance use disorders , depression, post-traumatic stress disorder , and other mental health conditions.9 They may also be more at risk for being controlled by an abusive partner if they already have a substance use or mental health disorder.9
People experiencing domestic violence may find that their perpetrator is using substances to control them either by forcing them to take a substance or preventing them from seeking necessary treatment.9
Some people may also use substances to cope with the physical or emotional pain of domestic violence, sometimes called numbing by mental health professionals.9 Coping or numbing emotional pain with substances could be a risk factor for addiction, especially with continued substance use.
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Presence Of Mental Health Conditions
When addiction is present with another diagnosable mental health disorder, its known as a dual diagnosis and requires additional support during addiction treatment. Conditions such as PTSD, ADHD, depression and anxiety are all commonly found in those also facing addiction. More often than not, substance abuse starts in these individuals as a means of self-medicating for their symptoms rather than seeking out professional help.
On top of forming addictions more easily, those with mental health conditions often make their conditions worse. Attempting to cover up symptoms with drugs or alcohol is only a temporary bandage with lifelong consequences. Addiction forms and the symptoms being covered up come back even stronger once the substance being used is no longer available.
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 relapseeven 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 persons teenage years, so it is no surprise that many young people are at risk of folding to peer pressure.
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Drug & Alcohol Addictions: What Are 5 Risk Factors For Addiction
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.
Risk And Protective Factors For Substance Use
Risk factors increase the likelihood of beginning substance use and of regular and harmful use. Protective factors decrease the likelihood of substance use or reduce the impact of risk factors. Not everyone who experiences a risk factor will use alcohol or drugs. The goal in prevention is to reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors.
Risk factors for alcohol and substance use:
- Engaging in alcohol or drug use at a young age
- Early and persistent problem behavior
- Positive attitudes towards alcohol or drug use, low perception of risk
- Genetic susceptibility
Protective factors for alcohol and substance use
- Strong bonds with family, school, community
- High self-esteem and problem-solving skills
- Parent involvement
- Opportunities for positive social involvement
- Recognition for positive behavior and achievements
- Clear and consistent expectations from family, school and community about not using alcohol and drugs
Risk factors for tobacco use
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Other Risk Factors That Increase The Risk Of Addiction
Mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety are also factors that contribute to substance abuse and addiction issues. People use drugs and alcohol to cope, but certain substances actually increase depression and anxiety.
People who have chronic pain conditions can also get addicted to opioids. Individuals usually get prescribed this medication after an illness, injury, or surgery to manage a persons pain and recovery. One problem with painkillers is that some people develop an addiction to them. A person without any of the risk factors can also become addicted at any time. The longer someone is on a certain painkiller, the harder it becomes to get off it.
The factors that contribute to substance abuse are hard to overcome. But with the proper care and mindset, anyone who suffers from substance abuse and addiction can overcome their obstacles. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, do not be afraid to get help. Addiction is complicated but is also treatable. Get help today.
Child Welfare System Involvement
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway , parental substance use impacts many families and children benefiting from services of the child welfare system.
Unfortunately, this may result in increased risk for maltreatment of children as it adversely affects a parents ability as a caregiver and provider.
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Prevention And Treatment For Addiction
While addiction is a chronic condition, it is highly treatable. Early identification and treatment of addiction has been shown to decrease risk factors for addiction. This is especially true for youth and adolescents, who may benefit greatly from additional support as they transition into a new stage of life.7 In recent years, some middle and high schools have begun offering prevention programs for students and families to help identify the warning signs of addiction.13
There is evidence suggesting that identifying risk factors can be highly effective in preventing the development of drug addiction.18 Protective factors are those aspects of a persons life that can play an important role in preventing addiction.13 Protective factors might include strong parent/child relationships and adequate supervision, healthy coping skills, or good impulse control.13 For some people, these protective factors might be more innate, and for others, they can be taught through prevention and early intervention strategies.
If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, it may be helpful to seek treatment. Treatment types and intensity vary depending on each persons needs however, any form of treatment should address the whole person with an individualized plan that is adjusted as needed.
How Does Addiction Affect A Persons Health
Addiction destroys the body in many ways. A person with addiction often develops several chronic illnesses due to addictive behavior. These chronic illnesses include but are not limited to physical pain, lung diseases, liver diseases, cancer, and mental health diseases. For example, chain smokers are at a high risk of developing lung cancer in the long term. Alcoholics may develop liver diseases such as fatty liver disease due to the harmful effects of alcohol on the liver.
Drug addicts fond of injecting drugs using unsterilized needles may contract hepatitis infection. Moreover, sharing needles with other people can cause the spread of HIV, for which there is still no cure. If left untreated with antiretroviral drugs, HIV can progress to AIDS in opportunistic infections like tuberculosis.
Diseases caused by addiction can prevent you from living normally or, worse, result in premature death. Once you have these diseases, youll be taking expensive medications for life . Youll also have limitations on what you can eat or do because your health is already fragile.
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Early Age Substance Abuse Has Risks
The age at which one begins to abuse substances is another influence in the development of substance abuse, dependency, and addiction. While anyone is prone to addiction at any point in their life, young people are particularly vulnerable during adolescence. This is the time when mental illness begins to appear. The brain of a young person is still developing. And it is the period in oneâs life when they begin to form relationships with lifestyle choices whether good or bad.
Just like adults, young people can experience high levels of stress and other factors that leave them vulnerable to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the challenges in life, such as sexual abuse, violence, bullying, academics, sports, and many more. Without a solid support system, healthy relationships and open communication with adult figures, young people are at risk. Unfortunately, most kids do not want to talk to their parents about their problems. And in some cases, parents are the source of the childâs distress that leads to substance abuse.
At Mission Harbor, we are a Southern California rehab outpatient treatment center withprograms specifically designed for teens and young adults. Our services center around mental health issues most common in young people, as well as substance abuse and family healing. Visit our website or call us today to learn more.