What Are the Risk Factors for Addiction?

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What Are the Risk Factors for Addiction

Regardless of race or background, people can become addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Addiction, like any other disease, has risk factors, signs, and symptoms. While it can be hard to understand, some people are at a higher risk of getting addicted compared to others.

If you’re curious why some people are more prone to addiction, we’ve gathered the information you need to know. We’ve prepared a list of the risk factors for addiction along with the signs to look out for.

Risk Factors for Addiction

There are many risk factors for drug addiction and alcoholism, including the following:

1. Biological Factors


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost half of a person’s risk factors for addiction depend on genetics.

Those with family members who have dealt with alcohol and drug addiction are at an increased risk of getting addicted. Although it can run in families, it doesn’t mean that everyone is destined to experience the same. It would still depend on people’s choices and decisions.

Developmental Stage

Studies show that the developmental stage is also one of the risk factors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

People who started using drugs during their teenage years are at a higher risk of developing an addiction when they become adults. The main explanation for this is that the adolescence stage is where the brain undergoes the process of maturity. Using drugs and alcohol can have long-term impacts during these years.

Drug Sensitivity

The way the body reacts to substances is among the drug addiction and alcoholism risk factors as well.

Some people can tolerate the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol, while some cannot. This makes drug sensitivity one of the risk factors for addiction. Have you ever seen a friend or loved one drink three cups of coffee and experience no palpitations at all? It’s because their body can tolerate too much caffeine, while some cannot sleep after drinking just one cup of coffee.


Although gender appears to be a much less pronounced risk factor for addiction, it should not be neglected.

Back then, research showed that there were higher rates of addiction among men. In recent years, however, the gap in the rates has gotten closer and closer. There’s an almost equal number of men and women suffering from drug addiction nowadays. Another gender-related risk factor for addiction that you need to know is that men are more likely to abuse marijuana and alcohol, while women are more likely to do the same with drugs for sleeplessness and anxiety.

Mental Health Status

One of the major drug addiction and alcoholism risk factors is a co-existing mental health disorder.

Those with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental illnesses abuse substances for different reasons. Some think that drugs can relieve the symptoms of their illness, while some think that drugs can help them forget their problems. No matter the reason, it increases the risk of addiction.

2. Environmental Factors


The environment parents make at home is a risk factor for addiction.

Teens living in chaotic environments are more likely to turn to drug abuse, especially those who receive little to no supervision from their parents. Family problems are often one of the causes of mental disorders, which are also among the risk factors for addiction, and teens exposed to such issues tend to resort to using drugs and alcohol.

Drug Availability

According to research, drug availability in homes, schools, and communities is one of the proven risk factors for addiction.

In the past few years, the number of people getting addicted to medical prescriptions has increased due to the availability of such drugs. In fact, there are places where prescription drugs are even easier to get compared to street drugs.


There are many stressors considered to be risk factors for addiction, such as sexual abuse, trauma, and poverty.

These things cause people to look for ways, such as using drugs and alcohol, to relieve their emotions somehow and forget their issues in life, even for just a short period of time. Without knowing that addiction adds up to their problems sooner or later, many people continue using substances of abuse to deal with stress.


The influence that people get from their peers is also a risk factor for addiction.

Those who associate with other people engaged in substance abuse are at risk of getting influenced sooner or later. They might give in to peer pressure or curiosity when they continue to hang out with addicts.

Signs of Drug Addiction

Like the risk factors for addiction, the signs vary from every person as well. The common ones that you need to look out for include:

  • Tremors and Seizures
  • Impairment in Physical Coordination
  • Lethargy
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Changes in Eating Habits, Appetite, and Weight
  • Poor Hygiene
  • Jaw Clenching
  • Changes in Hobbies, Daily Routine, and Social Circles
  • Withdrawal from Family Activities
  • Isolation
  • Poor Academic or Work Performance
  • Irresponsibility

Haven House is Here to Help

If you or a loved one needs help when it comes to dealing with substance abuse, Haven House Recovery Center is here to help.

We provide a faith-based residential program at our drug rehab near Murfreesboro. We fight the risk factors for addiction and the underlying causes to help men overcome substance abuse. Contact us if you have any inquiries!

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