Three Things That Increase Your Risk of Addiction, According to Science

With more public awareness and education surrounding the substance use epidemic, more people than ever before are digging deep into their relationship with drugs and alcohol. Recognizing the signs of a substance abuse disorder can lead someone to get the help they need for a healthier future. However, a proactive approach can help prevent drug or alcohol use disorders from developing in the first place. While no one is truly immune from the risk of developing an addiction, there are some markers that may increase one’s likelihood of experiencing a substance use disorder. 

Here are three things that may increase your risk of addiction, according to science!

Genetic Predisposition

Science has suggested that addiction may have genetic factors. Studies show one is more likely to experience addiction if there is a prior family history of drug or alcohol abuse. While the exact gene responsible for this increase has not yet been identified, one genome-wide study has narrowed found a correlation between a specific genetic locus on chromosome 8 with cannabis use disorder. This locus controls the expression of CHRNA 2, low levels of which have been associated with marijuana addiction. 

While not definitive, these findings have provided potential blueprints for future studies and potential preventive measures. As researchers learn more about the genetic factors of addiction they may also be able to develop more targeted treatment methods.

Environmental Exposure and Social Attitudes Toward Substance Use

One of the most prominent factors in drug and alcohol abuse is environmental exposure and social attitudes around substance use. Early exposure to illicit substances in the home or because of lax social attitudes toward drug use or drinking increases the risk of developing addiction. This includes things like having a parent or sibling who drinks heavily or engages in drug use, being raised around drug dealing activity, or being given access to drugs or alcohol by a close family member. Despite the common belief that it’s better to allow a teen to experiment in the home is safest, this practice may open the door to future issues with substance use disorders.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Substance abuse is often rooted in past trauma and unaddressed mental health disorders. People are drawn to drug and alcohol misuse as a means of self-medication or distraction. They may use drugs or alcohol to numb, distract, or escape the pain, thus becoming mentally dependent on them to cope with life’s challenges. Commonly co-occurring mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD and C-PTSD, and Schizophrenia. There is also a large overlap between substance use and eating disorders. When addiction is coupled with another behavioral health condition, recovery requires simultaneous treatment of both for lasting success.

If you are experiencing drug or alcohol addiction and you’re ready to turn your life around, Hope Canyon is here to help. Our team has the knowledge and experience to help guide you on your path of recovery. Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve your goals through recovery. 

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