Risks of Developing a Substance Use Disorder
Each person who struggles with a substance use disorder (SUD) can get treatment tailored to their own specific needs to get the best results in recovery. To focus on recovery, first understanding what possibly contributed to SUD can help identify the best treatment options. Addiction does not discriminate and can happen to anyone from any background, social status, race, age, and gender. However, some factors put some people at higher risk of developing SUD.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "no single factor determines whether a person will become addicted to drugs." It also states, "the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs will lead to drug use and addiction."
Genetics, family history, mental health, and environment are some of the reasons why some people are more susceptible to addiction. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol, so they do not have to feel stressed, lonely, scared, depressed, anxious, or hurt. Some may suffer from an underlying mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD, and try to self-medicate.
Genes and Family History
Addiction has an inherited component, often runs in families, and can be passed down through generations. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states, "Like other complex diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, and AIDS, the addictions are strongly influenced by genetic background and also profoundly influenced by lifestyle and individual choices."
Genetics makes each person respond in a different way to drugs and medication. For example, one person can take a prescription, and it works well for them, but another takes the same medication, and it does not work for them or makes them sick. Metabolism is another factor in genetic predisposition. Each person absorbs and processes compounds differently and can determine the effect a drug will have on the body.
Environmental factors can contribute to a person developing SUD. In the early years of life, a person develops strategies to cope with stress. Family dynamics, parenting styles, and supervision levels play a fundamental role in developing mental health difficulties, including substance use. Young adolescents who lack parental involvement or live in an abusive home might turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their emotions. Teens are faced with peer pressure and can be easily influenced to experiment with drugs or alcohol to feel accepted among friend groups.
Social interactions and the sense of belonging to a group of friends who use drugs or alcohol can heighten the risk of engaging in the same self-destructive and life-threatening behavior. The habits of friends can affect everyone in the group as they experience peer pressure.
When behaviors are repeated, they can be accustomed to a particular place or situation, and learned habits can be challenging to break. Enjoyable actions can make the brain release a chemical known as dopamine. If you do something repeatedly, and dopamine is released when you’re doing it, the habit is strengthened even more.
Mental health conditions, such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety, can increase the risk of developing SUD. Some individuals use drugs or alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms, but certain substances actually increase depression and anxiety symptoms.
In current times with COVID-19 safety protocol, social distancing, isolation, and quarantine can significantly impact the lives of those already suffering from mental health disorders. The fear and uncertainty of life getting back to pre-pandemic conditions can exacerbate feelings of despair, loneliness, overwhelming sadness, and paralyzing grief. When mental health disorders co-occur with addiction, both must be treated simultaneously as a dual diagnosis for the best outcome in recovery.
Misusing Prescription Medication
Pain medications are often prescribed after an illness, injury, or surgery to manage pain temporarily. Painkillers can be addictive but are generally safe when taken as prescribed. A person without any of the risk factors for SUD can also become addicted to prescription medication at any time.
Adderall is prescribed for specific medical conditions, such as ADHD and narcolepsy. Adderall is an amphetamine, a potent stimulant. It is sometimes abused by people who do not have a prescription—taking prescription medication other than prescribed can cause severe health problems, overdose, and death.
Treatment is Available
You deserve to live a healthy, fulfilling life in recovery. At Achieve Medical, we work as a team to assist a medical-behavioral model focusing on your biological, psychological, and social aspects tailored to your unique needs. If you or someone you know is struggling with SUD, you are not alone. We take a mind, body, spirit approach to deliver a total wellness experience.
Take the first step toward a healthy, fulfilling, new life in sobriety and get help today. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Do not let stigma prevent you from getting the help you need to get better.
Getting to the root cause of substance use disorder (SUD) can help determine the best treatment for each person's needs. There is no one cause for developing SUD, but there are risk factors. Genetics, environment, mental health disorders, and family history all play a role in whether a person may become addicted to drugs or alcohol. At Achieve Medical, we offer individualized support to help you cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorder symptoms. If you or a loved one struggles with a SUD or mental health complication, make the life-saving decision to get help. We believe in a holistic approach to treatment that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. Achieve Medical provides comprehensive and compassionate care to children, adolescents, and adults. We offer same-day appointments as well as telemedicine appointments. To learn more about your treatment options and how to get help today, call Achieve Medical at (619) 375-3977.