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Published on March 13, 2024

5 Groups of People that Tend to be More Vulnerable to Addiction

Addiction is a multifaceted phenomenon that appears to know no boundaries as it affects individuals from all walks of life. However, research and observation have consistently shown that certain groups within our society are more vulnerable to developing addictive behaviors than others. 

Understanding the unique challenges and factors that contribute to this increased vulnerability is crucial in tailoring interventions and support systems to meet the needs of specific sections of the population that are particularly impacted.

The fact that there is a  Los Angeles LGBTQ rehab, for instance, is a clear pointer that the LGBTQ community is one of the groups of people who tend to be more vulnerable to addiction.

Let’s take a look at some of the sections of our communities that can have a higher propensity toward experiencing addiction problems.


Your formative years represent a critical period of development that is often characterized by exploration and identity formation. 

Unfortunately, it is also a time when many become exposed to drugs and alcohol. Peer pressure, the desire for social acceptance, and a lack of fully developed decision-making abilities can lead young people to experiment with substances. 

Early exposure increases the risk of developing addiction later in life. This is because young brains are more susceptible to the neurochemical changes caused by drugs and alcohol. 

Preventive education and early intervention strategies are key in helping adolescents navigate these challenges.

The LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community faces a myriad of challenges that contribute to a higher susceptibility to addiction. These include discrimination, social stigma, and often, a lack of supportive social networks. 

These societal pressures can lead to higher rates of emotional distress, anxiety, and depression, which in turn, increase the likelihood of substance abuse as a coping mechanism. 

In addition, LGBTQ individuals might find themselves in environments where drug and alcohol use is more prevalent, such as clubs or social gatherings that serve as safe havens from discrimination but also pose risks for developing addiction. 

Tailored support services that are sensitive to the unique experiences of LGBTQ persons are crucial in addressing this vulnerability.

Individuals with Mental Health Disorders

There is a well-documented link between mental health disorders and addiction, often referred to as dual diagnosis. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can drive individuals to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in an attempt to alleviate their symptoms. 

This self-medication can quickly spiral into dependence and addiction. The treatment for individuals facing dual diagnosis requires an integrated approach that addresses both the mental health disorder and the addiction in order to be effective.

People Exposed to Poverty and Social Deprivation

Economic hardship and poverty create an environment where drugs and alcohol can seem like an escape from daily struggles. 

Limited access to healthcare and mental health services further exacerbates this issue, leaving individuals with few resources to cope with the stressors of poverty. 

A lack of education and awareness about the risks of substance abuse, coupled with the higher availability of drugs in impoverished neighborhoods, also contributes to the increased vulnerability of these individuals to addiction.


Veterans are uniquely at risk for developing addiction. This is often a result of trying to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other mental health issues stemming from their service. 

The high-stress environments and traumatic experiences encountered by military personnel can lead to substance use as a coping mechanism. Additionally, physical injuries and the chronic pain associated with them can lead to dependence on prescription pain medications. 

Providing veterans with comprehensive mental health care and support services is essential in addressing their heightened risk of addiction.

Understanding the unique vulnerabilities of these groups allows for the development of targeted strategies and support systems to combat addiction. This strategic approach should be a critical step towards fostering a more inclusive and supportive society for all individuals struggling with substance abuse.

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