Why do some people become addicted to drugs or alcohol?

Why do some people become addicted to drugs or alcohol?

Over the years the thinking about addiction has evolved.  Today science has informed our thinking to include biological and environmental factors.  If you are interested in knowing more, we recommend this HBO resource on addiction that identifies the following:

Drugs and the brain

Source:  https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain

“Widely recognized risk factors include:

  • Genes: Genetics play a significant role: having parents with alcoholism, for instance, makes you four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics. More than 60 percent of alcoholics have family histories of alcoholism.
  • Mental illness: Many addicted people also suffer from mental health disorders, especially anxiety, depression or mood illnesses.
  • Early use of drugs: The earlier a person begins to use drugs the more likely they are to progress to more serious abuse.
  • Social environment: People who live, work or go to school in an environment in which the use of alcohol and other drugs is common – such as a workplace in which people see heavy drinking as an important way to bond with coworkers – are more likely to abuse drugs.
  • Childhood trauma: Scientists know that abuse or neglect of children, persistent conflict in the family, sexual abuse and other traumatic childhood experiences can shape a child’s brain chemistry and subsequent vulnerability to addiction.”