Why do some people become addicted to drugs and alcohol while others don’t? There is no single definitive answer to this question as it depends on many factors, including genetics, environment, and development. Some may even argue that a factor that may attribute to addiction depends on the individual’s personality. For example, some people are born risk-takers and may be more prone to engaging in risky behaviors such as abusing drugs or alcohol. Regardless of a person’s personality, whenever anyone uses drugs or alcohol, they are putting themselves at risk to changing the reward system in their brains, and thus developing an addiction.
Genetics can play a large role in determining why someone may develop an addiction. Neuroscientists arrange people on a spectrum from very low to very high risk for addiction. Individuals that have histories of multi-generational addiction are at very high risk of developing an addiction. Neuroscientists also note that genetics can account for 40 percent to 60 percent of our addiction risk. Keep in mind, however, that there is no concrete evidence that suggest genetics alone will determine whether an individual will develop an addiction or not. Many factors go into whether an individual develops an addiction or not.
On the other end of the spectrum, individuals without a family history of addiction may have a lower risk than others. Other factors that may affect a person’s addiction risk are gender, ethnicity, and the existence of other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or mood disorders. Those suffering from a mental illness may seek to self-medicate which can lead to addiction.
We all have different environments that we grew up in or to which we were exposed. Many environmental factors can contribute to addiction. Environmental influences such as family and friends, peer pressure, socioeconomic status, physical or sexual abuse, parent involvement, and stress can all factor into addiction. If a child grew up in a home environment that abused drugs or alcohol, they are at more risk to develop their own addiction later on in life. Or if a teenager is shy and desires to fit in, they may be more likely to cave to peer pressure and experiment with drugs or alcohol. In fact, studies show that teens who abuse drugs or alcohol before age 14 are at a greater risk to develop an addiction than those who are in their late teens or twenties.
Environment and genetics can also interact with a person’s development. For example, adolescents are still developing the judgment, decision making, and self-control parts of their brains. Because these areas of their brains are not fully developed, they may be at more risk for developing an addiction. Abusing drugs or alcohol can turn into an addiction regardless of age, but the earlier one abuses drugs or alcohol, the more likely it is for them to develop an addiction.
Many Factors, One Individual
Many factors go into why some people develop drug or alcohol addictions while others do not. We are all unique individuals who have different genetics, environments, and developmental stages. What none of us can escape, however, is how drugs and alcohol can affect us. Abusing drugs and alcohol is a serious problem that needs immediate professional attention.
You do not have to struggle with your addiction a minute longer. You do not have to suffer alone. We’re here for you. Contact us at DrugRehab.org and our friendly and knowledgeable staff will answer any questions you might have or guide you in the next steps towards your recovery. It’s the age of technology and many of you reading this blog post have a smartphone in your hands or nearby. Call us today at 888-957-3422. Start a new life. Start the new you.