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What Are Key Risk Factors for Substance Use?

What Are Key Risk Factors for Substance Use?

Addiction doesn’t discriminate, but it’s important to know the risk factors for substance use that may lead to an addiction problem.

Overall drug use is on the rise across the nation, evidenced by the fact that we’re facing the most serious opioid crisis in our current history. When someone develops an addiction problem, being able to provide them with the care they need is important for the recovery process. However, our approach to combating this problem needs to be broader and include measures to identify those who exhibit the most risk factors for substance use.

While there are no hard and fast rules about when an addiction problem can strike, there are certain situations that put a person more at risk. For instance, we know that 90 percent of addictive behaviors start during the teen years. This statistic means that parents and other influential adults in a teen’s life need to be acutely aware of the risk factors and how to identify them.

Why People Use Drugs and Alcohol

Understanding why people use drugs and alcohol is a very complex process. We have to take into consideration that many people are able to drink socially or use marijuana recreationally without concern of a pattern of addiction forming. In most cases, the reason that someone with an addiction problem uses drugs or alcohol is completely different from someone who consumes these substances socially or recreationally.

While some people might use these substances occasionally as a way to relax or socialize, other people may have a predisposition to use drugs and alcohol for reasons that can lead to an addiction problem. Examples include social expectations, a family background that normalizes drug or alcohol use, or as a method of escape.

Understanding the “why” of substance use is an important part of the recovery process for someone with an addiction problem. For this reason, so much research has been devoted over the past few decades to looking at not only where the seed is planted for substance use, but also what contributes to its growth.

Common Addiction Triggers

Occasionally, a person’s predisposition to develop an addiction problem is obvious. It could be that an existing family history of drug use, along with a person who has also been known to engage in risky behaviors from a young age. While no less devastating, it can be easier to spot an addiction problem when you’re aware of the possibility of it. Other times, discovering someone you care about has a problem can catch you completely off guard, which makes it important for everyone to be aware of the most common addiction triggers.

Of the known risk factors for substance misuse, the most common triggers of addiction include:

  • A genetic predisposition, including a family background with a demonstrated pattern of addictive behaviors
  • A tendency to engage in risky, impulsive or thrill-seeking behaviors
  • Having diagnosed or undiagnosed anxiety, depression or any other personality or psychiatric disorder
  • Environmental influences, including peer pressure from friends who are engaging in substance or alcohol use
  • Experimentation with drugs, alcohol or tobacco at a young age
  • Sudden stressful change, such as starting a high-pressure job, going away to college, or a major change in family dynamics
  • Easy access to drugs, whether pharmaceuticals or street drugs
  • Putting in long hours at work, for academics or sports
  • Someone who appears to have lost control of their life in some way

Addiction Treatment in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Understanding the risk factors for substance use is only part of the solution. If you or someone you care about is at risk of developing an addiction problem or is already suffering from the effects of addictive substance use, it’s crucial that you seek out addiction treatment in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

An experienced, compassionate addiction recovery center can help you understand what addiction is and how to overcome it. This process isn’t one that you have to go through alone. Contact a Life of Purpose treatment center today to receive the help and care you need.


Media Contact:

Life of Purpose Treatment

(T): 732-421-5955




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