Addiction is complicated and there are many factors that increase your risk of developing a substance use disorder. Genetics is perhaps the biggest factor. If you have close family members such as parents, grandparents, or siblings with substance use issues, you already have a greater risk. Mental health issues are another major risk factor. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, OCD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and others are all common mental health issues that significantly increase your risk of substance use disorders. A third major factor is your environment. Any of the following environmental factors can increase your risk of addiction.
Being in an abusive relationship
People in abusive relationships are at much greater risk for anxiety, depression, and addiction. Living with a constant threat of emotional or physical abuse understandably makes people anxious. Abuse victims also frequently blame themselves for their abuse, adding self-criticism and low self-esteem to the mix. Children who grow up in abusive households are especially vulnerable to developing substance use disorders later on. It’s not only abusive relationships that increase your risk of addiction. Codependent relationships are also a risk. These kinds of relationships are typically more exploitive than abusive. Having a partner who has substance use issues increases your own risk, especially for women, who are less likely than men to use illicit drugs with their friends and more likely to use with a partner.
Having friends who drink or use drugs heavily
Having friends who use drugs heavily increases your exposure to more potent drugs over a longer period of time. For younger people, peer pressure is a significant risk factor. Drug and alcohol use is expected. Since you often judge the degree of your substance use by your peers, you may think your use is about average, when in fact you just have an extremely high baseline.
Having a very stressful job
A stressful or dangerous job is a major risk factor for developing addiction. Jobs that are physically demanding, such as mining, timbering, and construction, have very high rates of substance use. Some jobs combine high stress with easy access to drugs and alcohol. Food service jobs and healthcare jobs are good examples of these. Lawyers have an especially high rate of substance use, depression, and suicide. Practicing law often entails long hours, high pressure, and representing people and companies you don’t like.
Loneliness is a problem that often goes unnoticed, but lonely people face several big challenges. Lacking social support can increase your stress levels, as you have fewer resources to deal with adversity. We also just need a certain amount of human contact to be emotionally healthy. Too much isolation can lead to anxiety and depression. It can also lead to boredom. When you have nothing to do, no one to see, and you already feel slightly depressed, drugs or alcohol seem like a decent way to pass the time.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.