Addiction is a complicated disease that affects people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. Chances are, you may know someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
It is hard to understand what causes some people to be more prone to addiction than others. Usually, a number of factors contribute to the disease. These can include genetics, environmental stress and personality traits.
Groups that are More Vulnerable to Addiction
While there are some basic contributing factors to addiction such as home and family problems, mental health illness, friends or family who abuse drugs and genetics, there are some groups that are at higher risk for addiction. These include Caucasians, people who have high IQs and those suffering from mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or ADHD.
Young Men and Caucasians
Young people aged 18-24, especially young men, are more likely to abuse drugs. Also, Caucasians are more likely to abuse drugs compared to African Americans.
Children of Addicts
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), children of alcoholics and drug addicts are at a higher risk for becoming addicted themselves. Children of parents who abuse are 45% to 79% more likely to abuse drugs when compared to the general population. This leads researchers to believe that there is a genetic link to addiction. However, the environment that the child grows up in may also be a factor.
People Suffering from Mental Health Problems
Individuals suffering from mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD are more likely abuse substances. According to DualDiagnosis.org, “[o]ne reason for this phenomenon is that a large percentage of individuals attempt to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol in an effort to numb the painful symptoms of their bipolar disorder.”
People with High IQs
Some of the most successful professions – doctors, lawyers, and investment bankers – are riddled with cocaine and hard drug abuse and dependency. It is believed that stress drives high achievers to turn to drugs. Though there appears to be a strong correlation, doctors have been unable to determine a medical reason.
Factors that Increase Vulnerability
There are many contributing factors for alcohol and substance abuse and addiction.
As discussed earlier, genetics are a factor in addiction. However, the exact link between genetics and addiction is not known. While there is an incidence of children of addicts being addicted as well, the addiction isn’t necessarily being passed down in the family. Some doctors believe that there is some genetic factor that may cause some people to be more prone to drug and alcohol addiction.
Many people who work in stressful jobs, or have otherwise stressful lives, will find themselves turning to alcohol or drugs to relax at the end of the day. What often starts out as one drink or one line of a substance can quickly turn into an addiction. The only way to resist this is by being mindful of your personal consumption of drugs and alcohol, and not using it as a crutch to help deal with stress.
Peer Pressure & Experimentation
Young adults often place a lot of value in what people think about them. As a result, peer pressure can result in drugs and alcohol experimentation. Dependencies oftentimes form from a combination of age and peer pressure. Consequently, young adults are more likely to try new drugs and alcohol combinations.
Children who are brought up in homes with drug abuse or other types of chaos often find themselves turning towards drugs or alcohol later in life. Whether the reason for this is a “normalization” of the addiction, or whether this stems from a psychological issue, is unknown.
Addiction is a very complex disease, and it is difficult to point out specific reasons why some people are more vulnerable than others. If you feel someone you love is at risk for developing an addiction, reach out to us to find out what you can do to help them begin the recovery process.