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  • What are the Most Common Risk Factors for Developing an Addiction?

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  • Category: Mental Stress
  • Published Date: February 15, 2023
  • Modified Date: February 15, 2023
  • Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Featured Image Caption: A Woman Smoking a Cigarette

Addiction may affect people of various ages and backgrounds. Sometimes, it can be challenging to comprehend why some individuals are more susceptible to it than others. No matter your background or moral code, several things might make you more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol or other substances. Your age, environment, medical history, genetics, and environment can all have an impact. Additionally, some types of drugs, substances, and practices can be more addictive than others. In the rest of this article, that’s why we’ll cover the most common risk factors for developing an addiction.


Believe it or not, genetics can make up to 40 or even 60% of the risk factors for developing an addiction. This means you are more prone to develop an addiction if you have close relatives who are addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other substances.

When you have an addiction, your brain’s chemical processes change significantly from those of a person who doesn’t. That explains why one individual might be able to sometimes smoke cigarettes for enjoyment while another requires them every day to survive. You may be susceptible to a variety of addictions if you have an “addictive personality.” For instance, if your dad is an alcoholic, you can decide not to drink but still develop gambling or vaping addiction.


Compared to women, men are more prone to struggle with drug use. However, it is recognized that females proceed through addiction diseases more quickly. Women are also more prone to relapse and have cravings, both of which are signs of addiction.


The risk of addiction can also be increased by environmental variables. When teens have parents who don’t spend enough time with their kids, this may encourage them to take greater chances and try drugs and alcohol. Moreover, some teens may use alcohol or drugs to deal with their feelings if their parents ignore them or mistreat them.

Peer pressure is another risk factor for addiction, particularly for young individuals. Even if the pressure is not harsh or overt, peer pressure exists. Peer pressure from classmates and friends to fit in can lead people to experiment with drugs which can lead to addiction. The availability of substances in one’s social circle might also raise the risk factors for addiction. For instance, college students and the popular social situations they frequent frequently have access to enormous amounts of alcohol.

Environmental triggers, which might be persons, activities, or locations, must be avoided by someone who is trying to recover from an addiction. For instance, they might have to take extra steps to enforce their sober lifestyle and avoid others who they used to take drugs with. They could also have cravings in particular circumstances or social settings, which would raise their risk of relapsing. Even when a person has been clean for a long time, this might still happen.

Personality Traits

According to the University of Montreal program, four major personality features put people at risk for addiction. Those are sensation-seeking, impulsiveness, sensitivity to anxiety, and hopelessness.

Except for sensation-seeking, all these characteristics are connected to mental health illnesses. The program seeks to identify each student’s features and provides them with coping mechanisms to deal with these traits. In some cases, speaking to a therapist can help deal with these traits and work on them, lowering the risk factors for developing an addiction.

Mental Health and General Health

Mental health concerns can also cause substance misuse and addiction problems. Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression are some of the most common triggers. To cope, many people turn to drugs and alcohol, yet some of these substances can make depression and anxiety worse.

However, addiction isn’t common only to people with mental health problems. For example, opioid addiction can also occur in chronic pain patients. This drug is typically administered to people following an illness or accident to help them control their pain and recuperate. One issue with painkillers is that some individuals get dependent on them. A person can develop an addiction at any moment, even if they don’t have any risk factors. It gets more challenging to stop taking a specific medication the longer someone is on it.

Culture and Media

The environment in which you were raised, cultural norms, shame-related lessons, and participation in or exclusion from religious activities are just a few examples of how culture and religion can cause addictive behaviors. For instance, in certain societies, males are permitted to drink, but women are not.

People who use social media run the danger of seeing marketing and promotions for drugs. Even with age limitations in place, it can be challenging for teenagers to avoid exposure. This is especially true, for example, when alcohol goods are aggressively pushed on social media sites. Younger viewers run the danger of participating in particular actions or gaining negative self-perceptions only by witnessing them in the media, whether in movies or television programs.

Getaway Drugs

One of the greatest risks for addiction in our society today is early exposure to drugs and alcohol. When teens use a gateway drug, such as cannabis or alcohol, they are first exposed to the euphoric effects, or “high,” of the drug. They could become more at ease using different, possibly harder substances in the future.

Method of Use

Some drug use practices might make someone more susceptible to developing an addiction. Drugs that are inhaled or injected into the body are frequently more addictive than medicines. When a person smokes or injects drugs, they swiftly enter the circulation and brain rather than first being filtered by the liver and other organs.

Final Thoughts: Risk Factors and Treatments

Risk factors for developing an addiction are numerous and complicated. You could feel predisposed to battle addiction due to both the biological and environmental elements of addiction. Comprehensive therapy, however, might be beneficial if you connect it to any of the risk factors for addiction. Therapy can lower the chance of addiction even if you have never used drugs or alcohol but fulfill many of the risk criteria. Treatment for substance use disorders handles co-occurring mental health conditions as well as your addiction and helps you avoid relapse.

Daniel Carter

By Daniel Carter
who is a former addict working for Bright Futures Treatment Center. His goal in life is to help people who’ve been struggling with similar problems build a better life for themselves. He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Member since February, 2023
View all the articles of Daniel Carter.

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