woman on park bench has a drug addictionDrug addiction only affects a very small portion of the population, and there are reasons why it only affects some people. There are different risk factors associated with addiction, but many people don’t know about them. When more individuals become aware of the different risk factors, it’ll be easier to stop addiction before it starts. Aside from awareness and prevention, understanding the risk factors can help people accept their addiction.

A major part of the treatment process is educating people about what causes addiction. When people who develop addictions can look back and acknowledge what led them to drugs, it helps them heal. The first step in getting sober is surrendering to the fact that you suffer from this illness. Once you understand this, then and only then is it possible to begin on the road to recovery.

Age Plays a Role in Drug Addiction

A person’s age is one of the biggest determining risk factors when it comes to someone becoming addicted to drugs. The prefrontal cortex of the brain is the part of the brain that’s not functioning properly in addiction. This part of the brain doesn’t fully develop until a person is in their mid- to late-20s. Some of the responsibilities of the prefrontal cortex include:

  • Logical decision making
  • Fear modulation
  • Emotional regulation
  • Impulse control
  • Attunement

The late development of this part of the brain is largely why the legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Young people who begin experimenting with drugs at a young age hinder the development of their prefrontal cortex. The brain also begins to associate drugs with the person’s primary source of dopamine, which is a pleasure chemical in the body. The problem can be much worse when a person has a mental illness.

Drug Addiction Often Stems from Mental Illness

Two of the leading causes of addiction are when a person has an undiagnosed mental illness or an untreated mental illness. Symptoms of mental illness can develop at any age, but they are more prone to happen during teenage years. Mental disorders like PTSD can also occur at any point in life. The problem is that many people don’t know how to deal with mental illness.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much education about mental illnesses, so individuals may feel scared, confused and isolated. When the symptoms arise, the person often feels different and alone in the world. They can’t understand how others seem to deal with life so effortlessly. When a person with a mental illness finds comfort in drugs, the brain begins to develop a dependency. This is where dual diagnosis treatment is necessary.

Genetics Can Lead to Drug Addiction

Another risk factor for drug addiction is a person’s genetic predisposition to the disease. In recent years, scientists discovered a gene that they’ve linked with addiction. If a person has family members who have had substance abuse issues, the person’s chances are much higher. This gene may not affect everyone in the family.

There are some people who develop addictions the first time they try a drug or take a narcotic medication. Additionally, there’s is also a possibility that the gene is inactive until the person goes through some type of traumatic event. There may be siblings who come from the same bloodline, but only one of the children developed a problem with drugs. No matter what the case is, recovery is possible.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, San Antonio Recovery Center can help. As one of the top drug rehab centers in Texas, we have addiction rehab programs that help heal the mind, body, and soul. We believe in 12-step programs and encourage a strong aftercare plan for discharge. Our facility accepts many different major insurance policies, and we’re affordable for private pay clients. Call us today at 866-957-7865 for more information.