Risk Factors that Contribute Substance Abuse and Addiction

Posted on May 6, 2020 by Cheryl K, LCSW, CEO, Co-founder and Partner
A young man struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

Addiction can happen to anyone from any background, social status, race, or gender. However, it is scientifically proven that many people have higher risk factors for substance abuse and addiction than others. There are certain factors that increase the risk of a person developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Genetics, family history, mental health, and the environment are some of the risk factors for addiction susceptibility. 

 

 

Risk Factors For Addiction

The connection between substance abuse and addiction has an inherited component, often runs in families, and can be passed down from parent to child. Deni Carise, chief scientific officer at Recovery Centers of America says, “The science is clear: (genetics) play a very real role in the development of alcohol or drug disorders. If you have any family members who currently have or have had alcohol or drug problems, you are likely to be at higher risk (for addiction).” In addition, some genes may make it harder for someone to quit once he or she starts using a drug. They may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit. Family history plays an important part in determining who develops an addiction.  Corner Canyon clients each do a DNA test for addiction upon admission.

Addiction can also affect your metabolism. Each person absorbs and processes compounds differently and can determine the effect a drug will have on the body. For example, the body can’t store alcohol very well because it doesn’t store any nutrients. If an individual consumes a large amount of alcohol, the substance will start to damage the intestinal tract. As a result, the body will have a lot harder time absorbing and utilizing vitamins, minerals and other nutrition provided by foods. 

The effects of these substances come from the chemicals found in the substance. Each has a different chemical structure that makes them unique. For instance, heroin stimulates activity in the brain more than morphine.

Environmental Risk Factors For Addiction

An individual’s environment is also one of the prominent risk factors for substance abuse. Environmental factors are those related to the family, school, and neighborhood. Factors that can increase a person’s risk include the following:

  • Home and Family– A teen who lacks parental involvement or lives in an abusive home often will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their emotions
  • Peers and School- Friends and other peers can have an increasingly strong influence during the teen years. Teens who use drugs can sway even those without risk factors to try drugs for the first time.Teens are faced with peer pressure and can easily be influenced to experiment with substances to fit in.

An individual’s environment is also one of the prominent risk factors for substance abuse. A teen who lacks parental involvement or lives in an abusive home often will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their emotions. Teens are faced with peer pressure and can easily be influenced to experiment with substances to fit in. 

Social Risk Factors Of Substance Abuse

Social Factors that increase risk for adolescent substance use can include popularity, bullying, peer relationships, and association with gangs. Other possible factors are social and familial influences are often present simultaneously.

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 person’s 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.

Corner Canyon Health Centers Are Here For You

At Corner Canyon, our doors are open to adult clients seeking healing and transformation to put their lives on the path of recovery. Our residential treatment centers offers a warm and welcoming home environment paired with exceptional individualized clinical care utilizing the latest in scientific advancement for treating both mental health and addiction treatment. For information on our program outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, call us today.

inpatient drug and alcohol treatments

Contact Us