What Are The Risk Factors For Addiction?
Continued from our last article What are some signs of addiction?
Just to clarify, a risk factor (or risks to addiction) is something that raises the chance of a person beginning or continuing a trend toward advancing or establishing a condition or disease. For example, many tests have shown that lung cancer is a risk factor for long term cigarette smokers.
Addiction has no regard for people. It could happen to anybody regardless of their status, age, or sex, but there are some instances that the chance of addiction can increase.
Any person could try a substance, but certain temperaments are prone to addiction. Many times, counselors will treat their patients incorrectly just because they don’t know what their temperament is. This is why it is vital to have a temperament counselor help you.
Their are others who may not have the “addiction temperament”, but do have the temperament to give in to peer pressure. They will try to fit in and gain acceptance sometimes by any means necessary, thus end up becoming addicted. This applies especially to youth and teenagers.
The temperament who gives into peer pressure can also become addicted from loneliness. The lack of social activity in their life causes stress, thus the quick fix would be to numb themselves with drugs or alcohol.
The substance itself
Studies show that some substances have a much higher chance of bringing about risks to addiction. Some obvious ones are crack, heroin, and cocaine.
Hereditary and Family History
Think of the people in your family. Can you think of anyone who is an addict? Well, a child of an addict is 8 times more likely to develop an addiction. Many argue that the highest risks to addiction come from those who bond most with the addict. Children of alcoholics are 6 times more likely to develop problems with alcoholism. Some studies show that this can be passed down genetically. Studies have also shown similarities to cigarette smoking. Some may try smoking, yet never care for it, while others become addicted. The gene’s inherited have much to do with that as the response to the nerves vary between genes.
Studies have shown that depending on what age the user was exposed to the substance will give a greater indication on its addiction. For example, some alcoholics may have been exposed to alcohol at a very young age, thus created a pattern early on in life to drink, and eventually becoming full on addicts. This is not all people and all cases, but it should still be noted that the risks to addiction is raised if one is exposed at an early age.
People from broken and divorced homes have the highest of risks to addiction. The imbalance especially of lacking a father in the home increases the risks dramatically. The disconnection of a parent to their child has become devastating to our nation and culture.
Most addicts are male and in the US, male drug addiction beats out women 2 to 1.
The persons temperament will tell us their stress threshold and what they will do to attempt to create balance in their lives. Some temperaments have a lower threshold and will most likely resort to anything to numb their minds. Some stress hormones have shown to be linked to alcoholism.
Over time, the user will need higher doses to create the same effect they experienced when they first started using. This will eventually change the way the body metabolizes a substance and will begin to change the body’s chemistry. That will usually be the beginning of the addiction. The higher the frequency and dosage, the higher the risks to addiction.
Mental illness or special condition(s)
Those who suffer from clinical depression or any other similar illness have a higher chance of becoming addicted. Many times it will be because of doctor or psychiatrist prescribes drugs that may have the side effect of habit formation or addiction. Other times, the user will attempt to numb their depression or anxiety “self-medicating” without a professionals supervision. They tend to have a higher chance of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The next section we’ll deal with “What causes addiction?”
What is an addiction? | The fine line between addiction and habit | What are some signs of addiction? | Are there risks to addiction? | What could be the causes of addiction? | Can my addiction be diagnosed? | Criteria for Substance Abuse for Dependency | Can addiction be treated?