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Risk Factors for Addiction

Alcoholism can happen to anyone regardless of their background, economic status, or beliefs. Although it is difficult to pinpoint a single link to substance abuse, risk factors for addiction are fairly common. Many of these factors include the environment, genetics, hereditary traits, medical history, or age.

In addition, certain types of substances do carry a higher level of addictive substances. These substances affect brain function and create brain dependency upon the drug. Let’s take a closer look at the risk factors for addiction and why they cause long-term substance abuse.


Regardless of popular opinion, addiction doesn’t happen due to a lack of willpower. Genetics can play a role in the chemical reaction between the brain and the substance. This explains why a user can drink on occasion, while another user has to drink every day. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, genetics is a significant determiner in whether or not a person is going to abuse drugs or alcohol. The term “addictive personality” is largely based on genetics.


When we think of the environment, we naturally think of home life. However, a person’s environment may include:

  • Extended family
  • Friends at school
  • Coworkers
  • Bars, clubs, or similar places
  • Neighborhood

Common factors include abuse, neglect, stress at work, peers, and overall attitude toward drinking or taking drugs in the immediate community. How a person is raised and what they are exposed to at various stages of their lie can contribute to an addiction.

Co-Occurring Disorders

The connection between a mental disorder and addiction is well documented. A person may take prescription medication, drink alcohol, or use illicit drugs to self-medicate and ease the symptoms of a mental disorder. Ironically, prolonged drug use only makes the mental condition worse. Common mental disorders associated with addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD

Co-occurring disorders often require a dual diagnosis. The therapist develops a strategy for treating both the disorder and addiction.

Use at an Early Age

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adults in their late teens and early twenties are likely to develop patterns that can take years to unravel. Addiction to drugs or alcohol can affect both physical and psychological development, hindering the user’s ability to function.

Early teens often start using because of problems in the home. They may feel the negative effects of neglect, abuse, or other problems and seek drugs or alcohol as a form of escape. The earlier a person starts to use a substance, the more difficult it becomes to quit once they become an adult.

Learn About the Risk Factors for Addiction

If you are currently suffering from an addiction or a mental disorder, there is help available. Recovery Ranch Tennessee offers comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment for all types of substance abuse. Regardless of the risk factors for addiction, you can get the help you need to get on the road to recovery. Contact us today at 1.844.876.7680 to get started with your treatment.

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