Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
What are some factors that encourage individuals to abuse drugs

Drug addiction can happen to absolutely any of us at any time within our lives. Drug addiction does not discriminate; it doesn’t matter your background, social status, gender, or race. However, certain risk factors increase the risk of an individual developing a drug or alcohol addiction later on in life. It can often be seen to fall into four categories which include:

  • Genetics
  • Mental health
  • Environmental factors

Various factors play their part in influencing an individual risk of addiction. Drug addiction is a disease in the brain that can completely rewrite an individual’s brain structure. The same way other diseases attack specific organs of the body, drug addiction strikes the regular function of the brain.

Drugs are known to severely impact the brain in various ways, from causing interference with how the nerve cells communicate to increasing the amount of dopamine released in the body. There is a staggering amount of individual addiction to drugs; around 22 million individuals are classified as drug addicts, with 7 million of those being addicted to illegal drugs.

Below, we dive deeper into an individual’s risk factors for becoming a drug addict.


Many individuals who do not understand the power or severity of a drug addiction think that addicts are just weak-minded people. This could not be further from the truth. The chemical reaction in your brain when you are suffering from addiction is quite different from those of someone who does not suffer.

Heredity is a significant risk factor for addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, up to half of your risk of addiction to alcohol, nicotine, or other drugs is based on genetics. If you have unfortunately grown-up or been around a family member who has struggled with addiction, you are significantly more at risk to experience it too.

Furthermore, if you are known to have an ‘addictive personality,’ you may be at additional risk of developing a range of addictions. For example, you may have a parent who is addicted to smoking. Now you may not pick up that addition, but you may become addicted to alcohol and gambling.

Mental Illness

There is, unfortunately, a solid correlation between mental illnesses and addiction. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than half of the drug abusers will most likely also be suffering from a form of mental illness. More often than not, many drug addicts abusing either prescribed or illegal drugs help calm their mental health symptoms. For others, drug abuse triggers aeries of events that will subsequently cause a mental illness.


Environmental factors play a significant part in an individual’s life, especially when young. Children and teenagers who suffer from a lack of parental involvement in their young lives are often at the most significant risk of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Young people who have experienced neglect and abuse from parents or caregivers are also at considerable risk of turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with their intense emotions.

Peer pressure

Peer pressure is an additional risk factor for addiction especially amount young individuals. Pressure from friends to fit in with the group can create an experimentation environment with illegal substances, quickly leading to addiction.

Are there ways to reduce the risk factors

If you believe you have a lot of risk factors when it comes to developing an addiction, speak to your doctor. They will be able to help you learn more about addiction, the type of risks you specifically have of developing it, and strategies to avoid becoming an addict. Medical professionals will often recommend abstinence, avoid drinking or drug use of any kind and limit any form of addictive behaviors.

If you suspect that you may be developing an addiction, you can give Shoreline Sober Living a call to speak to one of our team members today. Our medical professionals will be able to assess your current state and recommend medication, counseling, or other treatment options that are available and suit you.

It is always possible to recover from addiction and live a healthy, adventurous life.

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