Addiction is an illness that causes affected individuals to become dependent on a particular substance or activity. Many people in the UK suffer from addictions to drugs or alcohol, and a growing number are becoming addicted to gambling. Many other types of addiction, such as sex addiction and shopping addiction, cause harm to the person suffering. As well as physical and mental harm, many addictions have wider implications, affecting other family members by way of financial hardship and relationship breakdowns.
However, not everyone who drinks alcohol or uses drugs will become addicted, in the same way that that not everyone who gambles will develop a gambling addiction. So what makes some individuals more prone to addiction than others?
Risk Factors for Addiction
There are a number of risk factors that make some more likely to become addicted than others. While addiction can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender, or social status, some factors make it more likely.
Scientists have recently discovered that the children of addicts are more likely to develop an addiction than the children of non-addicts are. Over half of those with an alcohol addiction have a family history of addiction.
While both men and women can become addicted to substances or activities, research suggests that there are more male addicts than female. In fact, men are twice as likely to develop drug addictions as women are.
Mental Health Problems
Early Use of Substances
Those who drink alcohol, take drugs, or smoke nicotine at a young age are more likely to develop addictions than those who start in later life.
The social environment can affect whether or not a person uses particular substances and develops an addiction. Those living in areas in which drug and alcohol use is prevalent, ultimately have a higher risk of using themselves. Similarly, those whose work colleagues tend to drink heavily are more likely to join in and develop addictions.
Peer pressure is a major factor for young children, who will want to be accepted. Many youngsters will only begin drinking or using drugs because of pressure from their peers while some of these youngsters will go on to develop an addiction.
Where alcohol and drugs are used at home, there is a higher risk that children will see these substances as acceptable. They may begin to drink or take drugs themselves at an earlier age than they would have if they had not been exposed. Many will then develop addictions in later life.
Low Self Esteem
Many youngsters with low self-esteem will feel lonely and isolated, finding that certain substances give them more confidence. Certain drugs such as cocaine and heroin can make users feel energetic and outgoing, and may help to mask the pain they feel when not under the influence. These drugs are highly addictive and tend to result in addiction.
Many individuals find that stress is relieved when they take certain substances. If they have particularly stressful lives, they may begin taking more and more of these substances and then become dependent.
Help for Addiction
Addiction is an illness that requires treatment. Thankfully, there are many treatment providers working closely with addicts and their families. Rehab Helper is a free service available to those suffering from addiction. We provide advice and support as well as information on where these treatments are available. For more information, contact Rehab Helper today.