Why Do Some People Get Addicted But Others Dont
Substance use alone doesnt cause addiction. Addiction is a complex illness that arises in a person based on their unique circumstances. These are the most commonly identified risk factors for addiction:
Biology: Scientific research has shown that 4060% of the likelihood that a person will develop addiction comes from genetics. This includes both a family history of the illness as well as epigenetics, which are “the effects environmental factors have on a person’s gene expression.” Plus, if you have a behavioral health disorder like depression or anxiety, your risk of addiction also increases.
Environment: Exposure to traumatic experiences has been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing a substance use disorder. These experiences could happen at school, at home, or out in the community.
Using drugs for the first time at a youngage can also increase addiction risk. Also, snorting or injecting drugs can increase the risk of becoming addicted to those drugs, due to the extreme way the drug is delivered into the body .
So, why do some people become addicted when others dont? Ultimately, the answer lies in a persons unique brain chemistry and lived experiences. Most people who develop addiction are looking to heal or soothe themselves in some way. Its crucial to understand why that is, and work to address it, as part of a persons treatment plan and journey to recovery.
Why Do Some Get Addicted While Others Dont
Generally, the more a person uses drugs, the more he risks precipitating the changes in the brains Reward System that result in addiction. Addictive drugs produce a high that results from dopamine spikes in the Reward Center at much higher concentrations than normal rewards. Over time, drug abuse causes the dopamine system to react defensively to all that excess dopamine by building up tolerance, which requires more drugs to achieve the desired high. This defensive process can ultimately trigger genetic change that renders addiction irreversible.
An individuals risk of addiction, however, varies depending on ones genetic makeup and environment.
Neuroscientists say theres a spectrum of genetic risk from very high to very low. Those who come from families with a multi-generational history of addiction, for example, have a significantly higher risk. At the other end of the spectrum, some have genetic make ups that may protect against addiction, making the risk very small. .
Environment also plays a role. For example, studies show that teens who start using drugs before the age of 14 are at much higher risk of addiction than those who wait until their late teens or twenties. Thus, children who grow up in an environment where drugs or alcohol are readily available are more likely to develop addiction later in life than those who dont.
What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
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.
Read Also: How To Break Meth Addiction
Why Do Some People Become Addicted To Drugs And Alcohol While Others Dont
Abstaining from drugs and alcohol is the best way to prevent addiction because no one knows for sure whether or not a person will become addicted to these substances. That being said, there are some factors that influence a persons risk of addiction.
Factors that lead to someone becoming addicted:
- Genetics and biology
We dive deeper into each category below:
When Is It Time To Go To Drug Treatment
At the end of the day, most people go to drug treatment because they know they have to. They have tried to quit on their own and failed many times over. Its not just a matter of willpower. When used on a daily basis, drugs such as opioids and alcohol cause profound changes in the brain. The brain can no longer function without the presence of the drug of choice. Withdrawal symptoms are painful. In the case of alcohol, withdrawal without medical intervention can kill. While opioid withdrawal isnt typically life-threatening, still, its painful and distressing enough to force someone to use the opioid drug again just to get relief.
Its easier to withdraw in a treatment facility. For one thing, you know you cant get your drug there. You dont obsess on it as much. Medical withdrawal treatment will keep you pretty comfortable. Everyone is different, but the drugs used to ease withdrawal almost always eliminate the worst symptoms. Some people find near complete relief. An alcoholic who has tried to withdraw alone before may attend drug treatment out of fear of death. They know that a treatment facility is the safest way to withdraw.
Don’t Miss: Can Drug Addiction Cause Narcissism
Risk Factors For Addiction
Understanding the risk factors for addiction is the first step to understanding why some people will become addicts, and others can continue to use drugs and alcohol recreationally. Essentially, the risk factors are broken down into three main categories:
Are There Risk Factors For Addiction
There are many risk factors for addiction, from individual factors such as stress tolerance and personality makeup to social factors such as friendships and educational and job opportunities. They interact in dynamic ways unique to each person. But what addiction may come down to for everyone is the emotional and physical appeal of a substance at a particular moment in a persons life. The effects of drugs are pleasurable and rewarding only in relation to how a person feels emotionally and physically in the context of his or her relationships and social life and other opportunities for development and reward.
Recommended Reading: How Strong Is Nicotine Addiction
Addiction: Why Do Some People Become Addicted While Others Do Not
- 4 minute read
Guest Blog by Dr. Helen Nasser / Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Institute of Health
Drinking a glass of scotch or eating a piece of cake these are the types of behaviors many of us take enjoyment in. The vast majority indulge in these behaviors on occasion. For some of us, these behaviors become more than casual indulgences and can develop into alcoholism or overeating.
Addiction itself is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes the compulsion of seeking, despite harmful consequences. We are still dont understand why and how addiction develops, and why some of us become addicted while others dont.
Does Alcohol Addictiveness Arise In Some People But Not Others
There are fewer people in the world who struggle with how much they drink versus not. However, some people end up alcoholics, and others dont because the influencers that cause alcoholism must be present for someone to be at risk of developing drinking problems.
The research that has been established about the causes of alcoholism is based on science and can be verified medically. People who become alcoholics have a disease of the brain and emotions that change their behaviors.
Recommended Reading: What To Do If You Are Addicted To Drugs
Who Can Become Addicted To Drugs
The short answer is that anyone can become an addict. However, there are some factors that can make certain individuals more susceptible than others. Drugabuse.gov states that three of these factors are biology, environment, and development.
Biology and environment go hand in hand, in a way.
According to a study in PubMed Central, Both genetic and environmental variables contribute to the initiation of use of addictive agents and to the transition from use to addiction. Addictions are moderately to highly heritable. Family, adoption and twin studies reveal that an individuals risk tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relativeThe moderate to high heritabilities of addictive disorders are paradoxical, because addictions initially depend on the availability of the addictive agent and the individuals choice to use it.
In other words, addiction can be genetic but is also affected by the environment in which one is raised. If drugs and alcohol are not readily available and are not considered the norm as someone is growing up, they are less likely to begin using the substances.
However, if substance abuse is common in the home they are raised in, they may be more prone to considering it normal and partaking in it themselves, leading to addiction.
This is where development also comes into the picture.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
Read Also: What Is Holistic Addiction Treatment
Why Do Some People Become Addicted While Others Dont
Lets suppose that two people consume alcohol at the same rate over time. One person may become addicted while the other does not, but why? The simple answer to this question is: there is no straightforward answer. Some may find this response frustrating, as it may not satiate their need for certainty. One thing we have learned from advancements in technology and subsequent findings in neurobiology is that addiction is a much more intricate and convoluted condition than we once thought. There are, however, some clues that can help us anticipate who may become addicted.
What Programs Are Available At Evoke Wellness
The alcohol use disorder treatment programs that we provide rely on evidence-based forms of therapy proven to help a person stop drinking and remain sober and in active recovery long term. The evidence-based forms of treatment that are most effective for treating alcoholism as AUD are cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and individual counseling. We also provide holistic treatments, small group therapy, and regular in-depth psychoanalysis completed by psychiatric experts.
Also Check: Is Morphine Addictive When Used For Pain
How Does Addiction Affect The Body
It has a lot to do with brain chemistry.
The human brain is wired to reward us when we do something pleasurable. Exercising, eating, and other behaviors that are directly linked to our survival trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
This not only makes us feel good, but it encourages us to keep doing what were doing. It teaches our brains to repeat the behavior.
Drugs trigger that same part of the brain: the reward system. When someone uses a substancebe it marijuana, opioids, cocaine, or other drugstheir brain releases lots of dopamine. This process tells the brain that this is a behavior that should be remembered and repeated.
Not everyone who uses substances becomes addicted by this process, but if youre already at risk, this is where the cycle of addiction can begin. Thats because, according to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse , large surges of dopamine teach the brain to seek drugs at the expense of other, healthier goals and activities.
Once someone is addicted, theyre not using drugs to feel good theyre using drugs to feel normal.
How Dopamine Plays A Role In Addiction
Although there isnt any medical test to determine who might develop an addiction, there are personality traits that can make a person more liable to develop an addiction. A common factor beneath every addiction is the feeling of reward. Your brain registers all pleasures in the same way, no matter where they come from. It could be a glass of wine, a casino environment, a shopping spree, or a delicious meal.
When a person receives the feeling of reward, the brain is flooded with the neurotransmitter dopamine. Among other things, dopamine plays a part in controlling a persons emotions. And the right balance of dopamine is important for both physical and mental wellbeing.
You May Like: How To Beat Sugar Addiction
Can Someone Get Addicted By Using A Substance Once
A person cannot get addicted to a substance without exposure to the substance, but exposure alone does not lead to addiction. Addiction develops only after repeated use of a substance. One use of a substance can produce a pleasurable effect that motivates interest in repeating the experience. But the experience of pleasure is relative it hinges in part on biology and very much on what else there is going on in a persons life that is meaningful or rewarding.
Individualized Treatment Is Essential
The question of why some become addicted and others dont isnt easy to answer, because everyone develops an addiction differently. The most important thing to note is that professional help is essential for long-term recovery, and since no two individuals addictions are alike, no two individuals treatment plans should be the same.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that just as there is no single pathway to addiction, there is no single pathway to recovery. Regardless of why someone becomes addicted, an individualized treatment plan is essential for the best possible outcome of treatment.
NA/AA DISCLAIMER: This Site is not affiliated with Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. The information on this Site is provided for informational purposes only. If there are any discrepancies of times, dates, or locations of meetings, please contact us so we can update the information as we strive to keep the information as current as possible.
Read Also: How Do Meth Addicts Act
The Effects Of Drugs And Alcohol On The Brain
The brains prefrontal cortex is responsible for helping us maintain self-control, assess situations, and make good decisions. Because the prefrontal cortex of an adolescents brain is still developing, teenagers are at a higher risk of making poor decisions to begin with, and the changes to the brain that result from taking drugs during this critical period of development can have lasting consequences.
When teens use drugs or alcohol for the first time and experience the pleasurable effects of the unnaturally high levels of dopamine unleashed, the brains reward circuitry remembers the association between drugs and pleasant feelings, leading to addiction. Over time, the brain responds to the drug-induced flood of dopamine by reducing the amount of dopamine it produces or reducing the number of dopamine receptors. As a result, it can become difficult for a young person to feel pleasure without the presence of drugs. Also, due to these changes, it will begin to take higher doses of the drugs or alcohol to get the desired effect. This is known as tolerance, and eventually, it may lead to physical dependence on the drug, marked by withdrawal symptoms when its withheld from the body, according to NIDA.
Not everyone who takes drugs will become addicted, though. Whether an addiction develops is determined by a persons genetic makeup and various environmental factors.
Environmental And Genetic Risks For Addiction
The more genetic and environmental risk factors your teen has regarding substance abuse, the higher the risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Environmental risk factors include:
- The presence of adults or older teens in the household abuse drugs or alcohol or engage in criminal behavior.
- Having friends who abuse drugs or alcohol. Peer pressure is a powerful environmental factor for using drugs and becoming addicted to them.
- Poor social skills. Many teens use drugs or alcohol as a social lubricant to reduce feelings of anxiety or shyness.
- The availability of drugs at school.
- Lack of parental supervision.
According to NIDA, biological risk factors and the effects of environmental factors on particular genes account for up to 60 percent of a persons risk of becoming addicted to drugs. The biological risk factors for addiction include having a medical condition or mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, and having a close family member who is or has been addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Recommended Reading: Why Am I Addicted To Food
What Causes A Person To Become Addicted To Something Psychologically
Heightened desire to re-experience use of the substance or behavior, potentially influenced by psychological , social , and environmental factors can lead to regular use/exposure, with chronic
What do I do if my friend is addicted to drugs?
Ways to Help a Friend Struggling with Drug Addiction
Why Do We Care In The First Place
Its natural for us as human beings to be curious about the underlying causes of health issues so we can treatand when possible, preventnegative outcomes. With new studies in addiction literature being published all the time, the way we conceptualize and understand the condition needs to be adaptive and flexible in order to remain relevant. Different theories come and go as our collective understanding of addiction becomes more comprehensive and integrative. Scholars who study addiction have taken particular interest in etiologythe study of cause, or manner of causation of a disease or conditionas this dictates the direction of future treatment methods, allowing us to effectively reach more people in need.
Read Also: Are All Drugs Addictive Brainly