6 Risk Factors for Addiction

Virtually anyone can become addicted to self-harming behavior. However, there are certain factors that increase the likelihood of getting sucked into addiction. While drug detox is the first step to recovery, understanding these risk factors will make it easier to arrest a bad habit before it descends into full blown addiction. We look at these risk factors below.


  • Losing a Job


Working is not just a means to make money and have a higher quality of life. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment that your daily actions have an impact on the world. Conversely, getting fired can crush your self-esteem especially if you are unable to find a decent and stable job several months later.

To escape the frustration, shame and despair, drugs and alcohol may provide the solace you crave for. One study found that unemployed adults are twice as likely to struggle with addiction or substance abuse when compared to the average working adult.


  • Traumatic Incident


Whether it’s a protracted divorce, a death in the family, a crippling personal injury or sexual assault, trauma can have you seeking a way to shield yourself from this unbearable persistent pain. Alcohol, drugs, gaming and risky sexual behavior are some of the things traumatized individuals will be pulled into.

Unfortunately, what may start of as a way to deal with the anger, resentment and depression can spiral into an addiction that is beyond your control.


  • Dysfunctional Homes


Children raised in dysfunctional homes are nearly three times as likely to suffer addiction compared to those raised in stable supportive families. Since the kids will not receive the level of oversight and wise counsel they need, they’ll be at greater risk of experimenting with drugs and succumbing to peer pressure.

Children in troubled homes will have a sad childhood and this alone can push them into substance abuse in the hope of forgetting these disturbing memories.


  • Limited Education


It may seem pretty obvious that substance abuse is detrimental to one’s well being. However, people come to this realization at different stages in their lives. Since the age at which someone takes alcohol or drugs for the first time determines how likely they are to be addicted later, the earlier one learns about the risks of addiction the better.

This is where good quality education comes in. Kids who grow up listening to messages emphasizing the dangers of substance abuse are less likely to fall into substance addiction. Even better is if these anti-drug messages are further reinforced at home.


  • Family History


We all know of a family where a person, their child and grandchild all seemed to struggle with substance addiction. Initially, people assumed that the children and grandchildren became addicted because they were raised in an environment where substance abuse was normal.

While easy access to drugs and alcohol around the home is definitely a trigger, research has shown there’s a genetic angle to addiction. Even when they are raised in a clean sober environment, certain people carry genes that predispose them to addiction more than the average person.


  • Mental Illness


Mental illness is a difficult challenging condition that many have to battle throughout their lives. Worse still, some of the drugs used to treat mental illness impair the person’s ability to perform their everyday tasks. Drugs and alcohol can feel like a more convenient and tolerable path out of the dark spaces mental illness patients regularly find themselves in.

It’s no coincidence that many people who struggle with mental health conditions also grapple with substance abuse.


Note that just because these risk factors are present in your life doesn’t mean that you are inevitably destined for addiction. They just make you more vulnerable so be careful.