What Are The Risk Factors For Addiction?
A risk factor is something which increases the likelihood of developing a condition or disease. For example, obesity significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes type 2. Therefore, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes type 2.
Although anybody, regardless of age, sex or social status can potentially become addicted to some substances, there are certain factors which may increase the risk
Genetics (family history)
Gender A significantly higher percentage of people addicted to a substance are male. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, males are twice as likely as females to have problems with drugs.
Having a mental illness/condition People with depression, ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and several other mental conditions/illnesses have a higher risk of eventually becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol or nicotine.
Peer pressure Trying to conform with other members of a group and gain acceptance can encourage people to take up the use of potentially addictive substances, and eventually become addicted to them. Peer pressure is an especially strong factor for young people.
Family behavior Young people who do not have a strong attachment to their parents and siblings have a higher risk of becoming addicted to something one day, compared to people with deep family attachments.
Loneliness Being alone and feeling lonely can lead to the consumption of substances as a way of copying; resulting in a higher risk of addiction.
The nature of the substance Some substances, such as crack, heroin or cocaine can bring about addiction more rapidly than others. For example, if a group of people were to take crack every day for six months, and another identical group of people were to drink alcohol every day for the same period, the number of crack addicts at the end of the six months would be a lot higher than the number of alcoholics. For some people trying a substance even once can be enough to spark an addiction. Crack, also known as crack cocaine or rock, is a freebase form of cocaine that can be smoked.
Age when substance was first consumed Studies of alcoholism have shown that people who start consuming a drug earlier in life have a higher risk of eventually becoming addicted, than those who started later. Many experts say this also applies to nicotine and drugs.
Stress f a person’s stress levels are high there is a greater chance a substance, such as alcohol may be used in an attempt to blank out the upheaval. Some stress hormones are linked to alcoholism.
How the body metabolizes (processes) the substance In cases of alcohol, for example, individuals who need a higher dose to achieve an effect have a higher risk of eventually becoming addicted
Abusing any of these chemicals can cause ill-health Affecting the well-being of the body, mind, emotion, spirit (values) and relationships with concerned individuals, family and society.