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Published on May 3, 2023

6 Factors That Affect How Likely it is That Someone Will Develop a Substance Abuse Problem 

by Psych Times Staff

According to the latest survey results from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a staggering 61.2 million people aged twelve or older in the US used illicit drugs in 2021.

That is more than a fifth of the population.

Why do so many people continue to take illegal drugs and become dependent on them?

There are multiple different factors that can affect how likely it is that someone will develop a substance abuse disorder. Let us take a look at six of the key ones.

1. A Family History of Addiction

People who grow up in households in which family members are dependent on drugs are more likely to become addicted themselves. That is due to both genetic and environmental factors.

2. A Lack of Family Involvement 

It is not only families with a history of addiction that is a factor in the likelihood of someone developing an addiction problem. Growing up in challenging family situations that cause a lack of bond with parents and siblings can also increase the likelihood of drug addiction. 

3. Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often a leading factor that causes people to begin experimenting with drugs

That is especially true for teenagers and young adults, as the pressure to fit in is much greater than it is in social circles as an adult. Once young people begin using drugs, they are likely to become dependent on them.

4. Availability

In some areas, drugs are commonly available, such as in deprived neighborhoods. When drugs are more commonly available, it is more likely that people in the area will start using them.

Again, when people begin taking drugs, they are more likely to develop an addiction.

5. A Mental Health Disorder

Many people who have mental health disorders take drugs, often in the belief that they are self-medicating to help ease their physical and psychological symptoms. People with conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD, and PTSD are particularly more likely to develop a substance abuse problem.

While many people with mental health disorders take drugs to cope with painful feelings like anxiety and loneliness, the drugs can actually make those problems worse.

6. Taking Drugs That Are Highly Addictive

While some people are able to take drugs recreationally just every now and then, most people who try drugs end up taking them regularly. In turn, they develop substance abuse problems. But the type of drug that someone takes is also a factor in how likely he or she is to become addicted. Some drugs are more addictive than others.

For instance, marijuana is nowhere near as addictive as heroin. Cocaine and opioid painkillers are also known for being highly addictive. Furthermore, if someone smokes or injects drugs rather than consuming them orally, they increase the potential for addiction.

Treatment Options for Substance Abuse

The good news is, there are effective treatments available for drug addiction. If you have developed a substance use disorder or if you have a loved one who has become addicted to drugs, withdrawal therapy could be the best treatment option. It involves detoxing gradually while also getting other treatments like talk therapy and counseling sessions. Sometimes, detoxing can involve temporarily substituting drugs with other substances.

Before beginning any form of treatment, it’s very important to have a substance abuse evaluation carried out by an addiction professional. Detox or other types of substance abuse therapy may be the best course of action, which is determined by the results of this evaluation. As there is no one-size-fits-all approach to detox, it must always be customized to each person’s unique requirements and circumstances. It is crucial that anyone seeking therapy does so with the assistance of a qualified professional in order to ensure safety and success, regardless of the sort of cleansing procedure they choose.

Spending time at a trusted addiction treatment center that utilizes evidence-based substance abuse treatment, such as Allendale Treatment, is often the best way to detox and get the support and resources required for overcoming addiction. Other treatment options include behavior therapy, self-help groups, and medicine. If you have developed a dependency on drugs, visit your doctor to find out which treatment options are available and which would be best for you.

Summing Up

There are various reasons why someone can become addicted to drugs, such as having a family history of addiction, having a lack of family involvement, peer pressure, easy availability, having a mental health disorder, and taking drugs that are highly addictive.

If you have developed a substance abuse problem, make sure you take back control. The first step is to talk to a professional about your problem.


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