Drug overdoses claimed the lives of over 63,000 Americans in 2016 alone, making it one of the leading causes of death in this country. This was coupled with over 21,000 alcoholic liver disease deaths the same year. 1
It is clear, the disease of alcoholism and addiction are a major problem affecting someone in nearly every extended family in this country. Alcoholism and addiction, however, are not pre-ordained diseases.
Therefore, there exist factors that may increase the likelihood in which someone will develop an addiction and/or alcoholism down the road. Here we break down some of these factors.
1) Experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol at a young age
The adolescent brain is still at a critical developing point in neurodevelopment, making it highly susceptible to damage from drug and alcohol use. Substance use has been correlated with alterations in the brain’s structure, function, and cognition. 2
Genetics plays a major role in the development of alcoholism and/or addiction related disorders. Studies have even succeeded in specifically identifying some of these genes and the function in which they play in addiction/alcoholism. 3
While genetics does not guarantee one develops alcoholism/addiction, it does play a major role in susceptibility to the
3) Mental health
Mental health illnesses have shown to have a strong correlation with the development of alcoholism/addiction disorders. Often times alcoholism/addiction is simply one trying to self-medicate for a legitimate mental illness. One study found that 60% of adolescents involved in a treatment program also met the diagnostic standard for another mental illness.
4) Home environment
The home life of an adolescent youth also plays a major factor in the future development of addiction and alcoholism-related disorders. Those brought up in homes where a family member was in active addiction were more likely to develop addictions later on in their own lives.
Another major factor in the development of addiction or alcoholism-related disorders are the people in which the adolescent associates with. Those whose close friends experiment with drug and alcohol use are themselves likely to develop an addiction/alcoholism disorder down the road.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of
drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking
help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at
(844) 744-8783 or visit us online.
Sources: 1 http://drugwarfacts.org/chapter/causes_of_death 2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2827693/ 3 https://www.nature.com/articles/nrg2536 4 https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common- comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use- disorders-mental-illness