Across the world, there’s a real crisis when it comes to addiction. From opioids to alcohol, news of rising addiction rates is rarely out of the news, and it’s having a huge impact on the health and well-being of the world’s population.
Addiction treatment clinics are seeing more and more people come through the doors seeking treatment, in many cases as a result of the pandemic, but how do people become hooked on a substance or develop a form of addiction?
You’ll often hear people talk about “addictive personalities”, which many professionals have looked to quash, with the development of addictions more down to a number of different things, from your genetic make-up to the environment you surround yourself in.
What exactly are the main risks of developing an addiction?
Everyone inherits a unique combination of gene variations and there are certain traits that you can develop from parents or further down the family tree that can leave you more susceptible to addiction. It’s always a good idea to trace your family history and uncover if anyone suffered from addiction to keep you more aware of your risk.
Scientists have been able to isolate gene sequences that come with a heightened risk of addiction, so a DNA test can be really helpful in identifying your risk.
This is the study of how your environment can affect genes and is another factor in developing an addiction. A large factor, in fact. Experts in the field believe that it may determine up to 60% of a person’s risk of addiction.
Social circles make up a large part of your environmental surroundings and it can have a huge impact on your attitude towards the likes of drugs and alcohol, which can then follow on to a pathway of addiction. For example, if you grew up in an environment with parents that drank heavily, you’re more likely to drink heavily yourself as it’s normalized.
Equally, you may be more likely to be pressured into trying substances from friendship groups, which can increase the risks of addiction early on.
That early use can be significant in developing an addiction as a person’s brain is still growing and developing at this point, with particular substances able to influence this.
Many people turn to alcohol and drugs during difficult times to number the pain of certain events or circumstances that are causing stress and trauma. However, this will make matters worse as not only does that person then need to deal with the stress of such an event, whether it be abuse, bullying, crime, or anything that may lead to a negative impact on mental health, but you’ve also then got the side effects of drugs, and later addiction.
Alongside stress, negative emotions can also have an impact, which does happen in life and is uncontrollable. These instances, especially when coming out of nowhere can see the temptation to appear, so it’s important to develop a support network and have a solid support network rather than hitting the bottle to cope with them.