Risk Factors for Addiction

Updated on July 20, 2021

People from any background or belief may suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. However, it may be difficult to understand why some individuals are more prone to others to experience this problem. Despite your moral code or upbringing, various factors may increase your risk of suffering from alcohol or substance addiction. For instance, your medical history, genetics, environment, or age may play a vital role. Besides, some drugs and ways of using them are more addictive than others. The following are some risk factors for addiction.


Drug or alcohol addiction is not necessarily a matter of lack of moral or weak willpower. The chemical processes in a person’s brain when they are suffering from addiction are quite different from sober or people without addiction. The http://oceansrecovery.com/ explains why a person may smoke cigarettes frequently for pleasure while another cannot carry out their daily activity without them.

Genetics plays a vital role in addiction. For instance, approximately half of a person’s risk of addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or other substances depends on their genes. Therefore, if you have a family member who has encountered this problem, you are more likely to experience it.


Environmental factors can also make you more prone to addiction. For teens and kids, lack of parental guidance can increase their likelihood of abusing alcohol or other substances. Young individuals who experience abuse or abandonment from parents may also abuse drugs or take alcohol to cope with their mental state.

Additionally, peer pressure is another risk factor for drug or alcohol addiction, particularly among young individuals. Many young people abuse drugs to fit in a certain group or as an experiment. Eventually, this may lead to addiction. Finally, the availability of drugs in your social setting can increase the likelihood of becoming an addict. For instance, alcohol is available at social events that are common among college students.

Dual Diagnoses

Dual diagnosis refers to a condition where you have an addictive disorder plus a mental health problem like depression. Prevailing mental issues can increase your addiction risks. Consequently, an addict can also increase the severity of other mental health issues. This develops a vicious cycle whereby your addiction worsens quickly and with severe impacts. For example, although you may feel like drugs or alcohol lowers your depression levels for a short time, addiction may worsen.

Early Use

The age at which a person starts to abuse drugs is another addiction risk factor. Young adults are more likely to suffer from alcohol and drug addictions. The addictive habits when a person is young can also affect their brain development. This makes a person more prone to mental health issues as they age while their addiction progresses.

Substance of Abuse

Although some addictions progress at a lower rate, others move faster. The substance of addiction can play a role. Substances like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines are more physically addictive than marijuana and alcohol. If you abuse heroin or cocaine, withdrawal symptoms are more painful. This may force you to abuse the drugs more frequently in higher doses to avoid withdrawals. This may increase the addiction process and raise a person’s risk of severe complications such as overdose.

Method of Use

Just like specific substances may be more addictive than others, the usage method can also increase the addiction risk. For example, substances injected or smoked into a person’s body tend to be more addictive than swallowed drugs. This is because when a person smokes or injects a drug, it goes straight to their brain and bloodstream instead of passing via their liver and other body organs, where they are filtered first.

Fortunately, it is never too late to seek treatment if you are suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. There are various forms of treatment that aim to restore a person to a normal and sober life. 

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