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What Are The Risk Factors Of Addiction

Addiction And Mental Health Disorders

Risk factors for drug use and drug abuse

Mental health has the potential to be a significant risk factor for addiction, particularly if a persons environment triggers predispositions toward mental health conditions.5 People who have mental health disorders may be at increased risk for using drugs and developing an addiction.15

When someone is diagnosed with both a mental health and substance use disorder, they are considered to have co-occurring disorders.7 Research has shown that as many as half of all people who are diagnosed with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health disorder.7

There is significant evidence that exposure to trauma can be a predictor of developing substance misuse later in life. Although trauma is considered an environmental factor, it can potentially lead to the development of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, acute stress disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A 2020 report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shared that roughly 1 in 5 veterans diagnosed with PTSD also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.7

A strong link between mental illness and SUDs has emerged through years of research and study. These two elements can influence human behavior in several ways: 7, 8

Barriers That Can Get In The Way Of A Persons Journey To Sobriety

Denial: Part of the reason why addiction is so challenging to overcome is that oftentimes, the person affected may not accept that they have a problem. It can be frustrating and devastating for friends and relatives to see their loved one participate in self-destructive behaviors, only to become aggressive when confronted.

Avoidance: A person addicted to drugs may avoid their friends and family because they may think they will be attacked every time they communicate. Sadly, avoidance can lead to the deterioration of many otherwise healthy relationships.

Anger: When confronted, a person struggling with addiction will naturally react with anger. Defensiveness can turn into aggressiveness when the issue is raised, and even the nicest approach may be met with an outburst.

It is easy to see that addiction also impacts an addicts family and friends, especially when they are being spoken to in an aggressive manner. At some point, an addicts loved ones may choose to stage an intervention.

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
  • Family management problems
  • Family conflict, abuse or neglect
  • Favorable parental attitudes or approval of substance use
  • Family history of substance use/misuse
  • Poor grades in school, lack of commitment to school
  • High availability of substances
  • Normalization of alcohol and drug use in the community
  • Low socioeconomic status

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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Risk Factors Of Addiction Are Reduced With Treatment

Substance use disorder is a complex mixture of risk factors. From the biological aspects of addiction to the environmental factors, you may feel like you are destined to struggle with addiction.

However, if you relate to any of the risk factors for addiction, comprehensive treatment can help. Even if you havent used drugs or alcohol but meet many of the risk factors of addiction, therapy can reduce the risk. Substance use disorder treatment helps you understand your addiction, prevent relapse, and manages co-occurring mental health issues.

Risk Factors In Drug Addiction

17 Best images about Addiction, General on Pinterest

Certain risk factors exist that exacerbate the risk of developing a drug addiction. These include genetic risk factors, stress and PTSD , personality risk factors, and family and peer influences.

Some can be addicted to nicotine, for example, and consume it regularly. The person will most likely develop a dependency on the substance, which will evoke withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not consumed.

Psychological dependence can evoke withdrawal symptoms such as anger, frustration, difficulty concentrating, depression and restlessness. Physical dependence can evoke withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, coughing, constipation and dizziness.

The DSM-V contains a substance use disorder diagnosis. The diagnosis is used to assess whether an individual presents a disorder, as well as how severely. The 11 diagnostic criteria fall under the categories of impaired control, physical dependence, social problems and risky use.

Although it may be tempting to state that individuals freely choose to start consuming substances, psychological research has established that there are risk factors for addiction. Let’s take a closer look at this.

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Using Highly Addictive Substances

Although any substance has a potential for addiction, some are more addictive than others. Research has consistently found nicotine, barbiturates, cocaine, alcohol, and heroin to be among the top of the list.6 This is due to their euphoric response along the reward pathway and ability to bind with those receptors in our brain that provide the most pleasure and/or alleviate pain. Because the euphoric effect of using any of these even once is so strong for first time users, it is likely they will try it again. Continued use may ultimately lead to addiction.

Risk Factors For Addiction

Risk factors for addiction

People of all backgrounds and beliefs can experience addiction. It can be hard to understand why some people are more prone to it than others. Regardless of your upbringing or moral code, many factors can raise your risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Your genetics, environment, medical history, and age all play a role. Certain types of drugs, and methods of using them, are also more addictive than others.

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Family History And Genetics

For someone with a family member who combats an addiction, or a running history of alcoholism or substance use disorder in the family, the risk of developing an addiction in their own life is increased. Certain genes may predispose one to struggling with substance use, but the right prevention can keep you aware and healthy.

Additionally, families with a parent or relative struggling with substance use exposes other family members to addiction, most likely at an early age. This exposure may also increase risk factors, especially if educational conversations about the dangers of substance use are not had.

Vertava Health Massachusetts: Evidence

What are the Risk Factors for Co Occurring Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

At Vertava Health Massachusetts, we help men and women from all walks of life who are struggling with addiction to heroin, alcohol, or other substances. We can identify risk factors for addiction and teach you healthy coping skills for managing your symptoms and triggers. Our treatment center has a full range of programs to treat all types of addiction, including:

  • Inpatient treatment program

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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.

Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.

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Why Is Cdc Addressing Youth High

Although most youth are in good health, some youth are at an increased risk for behaviors that can lead to poor health outcomes, such as high-risk substance use. The majority of adults who meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder started using substances during their teen and young adult years.5

Youth with substance use disorders also experience higher rates of physical and mental illnesses, diminished overall health and well-being, and potential progression to addiction.

Availability Of Drugs At School

Factors Leading To Addiction Stock Illustration

Peers and school significantly impact an individuals risk of developing drug addiction later in life. A students friends and peers have a major influence on them during their teenage years, especially people who have low self-esteem or are socially insecure. Their peers may pressure them to try drugs at a young age. When these substances are widely available in a school environment, students at this vulnerable age are more likely to try them and develop an addiction. A 2021 study identified high school as a critical risk period for drug addiction and substance abuse.

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A Weak Network Of Friendships

We depend on our friendships to steer us in the right direction and to help us deal with the problems in our personal lives. We also use our friendships to blow off steam, whether its through going out to dance at a concert or playing a sport together.

These kinds of healthy expressions of our emotions and our energy keep us from focusing and obsessing on negative issues. A strong network of friends sees when someone in their circle is having a problem and can intervene when they feel the friend needs someone to listen.

While our friends shouldnt take the place of a therapist, they do play a therapeutic role in everyday life.

People who lack a strong network of friends to call or text when things get hard will find themselves vulnerable to addiction. They could find comfort in food, in negative thinking, illicit substances, or even a combination of the three.

This is a cocktail that good friends can help you from steering yourself into. They will speak up or tell you when they think youre off the track you want to be on.

Behavioral Or Impulse Control Problems

Children who frequently take risks and have difficulty controlling impulses or following rules are at higher risk for substance use problems. While most teens understand the dangers of taking risks, some have particular difficulty resisting impulses to engage in risky behavior. The term addictive personality is often used to describe the characteristics of people with this set of behavior traits.

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Discover A New Beginning At Kingsway Recovery

Combatting the influences of substance use can be tricky. Avoiding certain friend groups and coming to terms with your internal wars requires inner strength. Addiction is a disease that spreads from yourself to your loved ones.

One moment, youre binge drinking after stressful days at work, then sooner or later, you begin to lose track of your habits. Kingsway Recovery channels the resources necessary to treat substance use. If you or a loved one could use some help overcoming binge drinking problems, contact us today.

Substance Abuse Risk Factors

Most Common Addiction Risk Factors | Addictions

Many risk factors can lead to a greater chance that a young person will become involved in drug abuse or suffer from mental illnesses as they grow older.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, such risk factors include:

  • Early aggressive behavior by the individual
  • Lack of parental supervision
  • Drug availability among classmates and friends
  • Financial disadvantage
  • Family history of substance abuse

There are both risk and protective factors, but lets look at the risk factors first.

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Family History Of Addiction

If there is a history of addiction in your family, you should discuss it with your child. These conversations can take place in the same way you would discuss a family history of diabetes or other medical conditions, and should happen no later than the early teen years.

Descriptive Data And Inter

First, one-way ANOVAs were used to investigate effects of age and gender on SMA in the total sample. Univariate analyses indicated that there is no significant difference by age but that the samples differed by gender . Females are more likely than males to be addicted to social media. Thus, the first step was to control for the effects of gender in the regression analyses. Next, a correlation analysis was performed on the influencing factors of SMA in the total sample. Bivariate correlations between variables are presented in Table 1.

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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.

What Are Lifestyle Diseases Caused By Substance Abuse

Drug Abuse and Addiction

Diseases and illnesses are ultimately the long-term effects of addiction. No kind of substance abuse yields positive health benefits. Anything consumed in excess is always harmful to the body.

As a substance abuse addict, here are some of the most prominent lifestyle diseases that you may get if you dont turn your life around:

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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.

Risk And Protective Factors

Research shows that the risk for substance abuse and other adverse behaviors increases as the number of risk factors increases, and that protective factors may reduce the risk of youth engaging in substance use that can lead to substance abuse. This interactive effect of risk and protective factors has substantial implications for the design and implementation of successful preventive interventions. The more a program reduces risk factors and increases protective factors, the more it is likely to succeed in preventing substance abuse among children and youth.1 Learn more about critical components and principles of effective adolescent substance abuse prevention programs.

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Factors That Impact Addiction And Problematic Substance Use

The experience of addiction or substance use is different for each individual, and often there is a combination of biological, psychological and social factors that can contribute to why a person may be struggling with an addiction or substance use. For example, some of the risk factors for addiction include: a persons genes, the way a persons brain functions, previous experiences of trauma, cultural influences, or social issues such as poverty and other barriers to accessing the social determinants of health. The social determinants of health are the social and economic conditions in a persons life that can play a significant role on a persons overall wellness and can impact addiction and substance use related issues. Some of the social determinants of health that are particularly significant:

  • Freedom from discrimination and violence
  • Social inclusion
  • Access to economic resources

While the social determinants of health may contribute to addiction/substance use, there is no single set of factors that represents the complex causes of addiction.i Click here for more information about the Social Determinants of Health.


i Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. . Why do people develop addictions? Retrieved from:

iii Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario. . Stigma and Discrimination. Retrieve from:

What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline

Addiction 2 A Level AQA: risk factor 1: genetic vulnerability

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

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High Risk Substance Use Decrease

The CDC survey of high school students showed decided downward trends in youth substance use by students who said they had taken or injected illegal drugs.

The misuse of prescription opioids, however remained steady at about 14 percent and number reporting recent misuse of prescription opioids was about 7 percent,

Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results

The Center for Disease Control published Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 20092019 which provides the most recent data on health behaviors and experiences among high school students related to four priority areas

  • Sexual Behavior
  • Experiencing Violence
  • Mental Health and Suicide.

The Center for Disease Control notes that consequences of these risk factors extend beyond health. Negative impact on academic achievement, in turn, ruins future occupational and income opportunities.

The survey reported that the number of high school students engaging in sexual risk behaviors and high-risk substance use, such as prescription opioids and other drugs, had fallen for the period.

On the negative side, experiences of violence, such as bullying and forced sex, remained high, and there is an increased risk factor of sexually transmitted diseases.

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