People of all backgrounds and beliefs can experience addiction. It can be difficult to understand why some people are more prone to it than others. Regardless of your education or moral code, many factors can increase your risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Your genetics, environment, medical history and age play an important role.
Certain types of drugs, and the methods of using them, are also more addictive than others. One of the main risk factors for addiction is heredity. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that up to half of a person's risk of being addicted to alcohol, drugs, or nicotine is reduced to genetics. That's why it's common for those with family members who have experienced addiction to become addicts themselves.
The most obvious risk factor is taking an illicit or mood-altering substance, but a complex network of risk factors can contribute to addiction. Many substances that form the basis of addiction are not chemically addictive. This means that other elements can cause substance use disorders. Many people with no other risk factors try drugs for the first time to connect with a peer group.
Children and teens who struggle with homework or feel socially excluded may be at increased risk of trying drugs and developing substance use disorder. While there are a wide range of risk factors that can lead to addiction, the first use of an addictive substance or participation in behavior that could become addictive often begins after the first experience. Any combination of risk factors can contribute to addiction. Sometimes, substance or behavior dependence doesn't require any risk factors to develop.
Family history and home environment contribute greatly to a person's use of a substance. Just as certain drugs may be more addictive than others, the method of drug use can also increase the risk of addiction. If a doctor has prescribed opioid pain relievers and you want to reduce the risk of the brain becoming addicted to the effects, talk to your doctor about less addictive drug options. You've probably heard of addictive personality traits and how they can increase a person's risk of addiction.