Even though people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs can experience addiction, there are some personal and biological factors that can increase an individual’s risk of substance abuse. Research shows that these factors can help explain why some people seem more prone to addiction than others. Luckily, knowing, recognizing, and changing these risk factors, if possible, can help decrease an individual’s use of addictive substances, which can help protect them from the vicious cycle of addiction.
Here are 3 key risk factors that have been shown to increase the risk of addiction.
1. Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences
Research shows that experiencing trauma and adverse childhood experiences can increase our risk of addiction. A study conducted by insurance provider Kaiser shows that children who experience 4 or more traumatic events are 5 times more likely to become an alcoholic and 46 times more likely to use drugs. Data published by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that more than 46% of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, also grapple with addiction. Luckily, professional therapy and counseling can help minimize our risk of addiction despite experiencing trauma and living through adverse childhood experiences.
Our home environment can also raise our risk of addiction. Children and teens living in chaotic homes with little parent or adult supervision have a greater risk of developing an addiction later in life. Environments riddled with abuse and neglect can also make us more likely to use addictive substances as a way of coping with painful emotions. School and other social settings that may contain harmful influences and peer pressure can also increase the risk of addiction. The wrong work environment and coworkers can increase our risk of addiction as well. The good news is that spending time in a healthy, productive, and nurturing environment can help mitigate this risk factor.
3. Genetics and Family History of Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), genetics can help determine our risk of addiction. In fact, NIDA reports that up to 50% of our risk of addiction can be determined by our family history. This means that if we’ve had family members who have experienced addiction, we’re more likely to face addiction challenges as well. This inherited “addictive personality” can increase our risk of a wide range of addictions. Having an alcoholic parent, for example, may motivate us to avoid drinking but can still make us vulnerable to other addictions such as smoking, gambling, or using drugs. Fortunately, knowing our family history of addiction can help us avoid addictive behaviors and motivate us to strengthen our ability to control our impulses.
Treatment That Can Increase Your Chance Of Sobriety
There are a number of factors that can increase our risk of addiction, but that doesn’t mean hope is lost. If you’re grappling with addiction, our flexible outpatient treatment programs can help increase your chance of sobriety. The majority of our team members have overcome addiction and are in active recovery. We can help you live a substance-free life in the greater Boston area. Contact a member of our team today if you’re interested in learning more.