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What Makes a Person Prone to Substance Abuse?

There aren’t many certainties with addiction, but the indiscriminate nature of this issue is undeniable. From high up in the business world down to kids struggling to make ends meet, drug addiction can make itself known at any stage and shape of life. Yet, as psychologists and researchers are still very much discovering, specific indicators can increase how prone an individual is to substance abuse, and its impacts. Here, we’re going to demystify this still often overlooked or misunderstood aspect of understanding addictions by considering precisely what makes a person prone to substance abuse according to the latest studies. 

Personal Experiences

As many as seven million children under the age of seventeen have at least one parent with a substance use disorder (SUD). Early exposure and the lifestyles that these children lead make them as much as twice as likely as children from the homes of non-addicts to develop abuse problems as early as their teen years. Consider that parents with SUD are three times more likely to sexually or physically abuse their children, a fact that furthers the risk of developing addiction by as much as 25%. Admittedly, these high figures aren’t as prevalent with parents who are open about their quest for treatment, especially if they’re able to succeed. Still, ongoing addiction problems in the home undeniably make individuals far more prone to copycat issues.

Societal Impact

With visible drug sales as much as 6.3 times more likely to be reported in disadvantaged areas, the societies in which we live undeniably have an impact on the development of addiction. Of course, this isn’t the straight-cut issue that it might seem, as there’s no telling whether drugs simply aren’t reported in the same ways across affluent areas. Openly drug-heavy societies certainly create a more self-perpetuating cycle of addiction, especially considering that intensive treatments can be far harder to achieve in many of these locations. For young people, especially, everyday drug occurrences drastically increase the risks of ‘falling in with the wrong crowd’ by being offered and accepting substances regularly.

Does Mental Health Play A Role?

Evidence is also emerging to suggest links between mental illness and drug addiction. Admittedly, it’s difficult to determine whether mental illness causes, or is caused by, addiction. However, studies reveal that as well as being perpetuated by abuse, conditions including bipolar disorder and depression can drastically increase the likelihood of addiction as a coping mechanism. 
While lifestyle and personality can all impact the likelihood of developing addictions in the first place, the power of treatment is universal. Whether individuals have grown up watching their parents take drugs, or are simply looking for a break from crippling depression, hospitalization or outpatient treatment services can provide a path to recovery that everyone’s prone to responding to. Treatment services offer a range of future coping mechanisms, even if the odds are stacked against them, individuals who are ‘prone’ to addiction can continue to keep their heads above the water.

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