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Risk Factors for Addiction

Addiction occurs when you no longer have the ability to stop consuming a substance or participating in behaviors that lead to substance abuse. The medical field now widely accepts addiction as a disease and a disorder. Furthermore, therapists and counselors identify risk factors for addiction.

While many of the risk factors for addiction center around genetics or psychological makeup, experts also recognize the environment, method of use, and age, as contributing factors. Below, we explore some of the reasons why a person may become addicted to drugs or alcohol. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact Right Step Houston.

Genetic Risk Factors for Addiction

Much research still has yet to be done to discover the link between genetics and addiction. However, scientists suggest that hereditary traits play a significant role in whether or not a person will develop an addiction to a substance. If several members of your family have an addiction to alcohol, prescription medication, or illicit drugs, genetics could be the reason why.

The Substance

Drugs have chemical properties that affect brain function, which is one of the main risk factors for addiction. For instance, they create euphoric feelings, act as a stimulant, or slow the central nervous system down. Repeated substance use cause the brain to become attached to the effects of the drug. Over time, the brain and the body become dependent on the drug. This is how addiction slowly develops. Some of the most addictive drugs include:

  • Alcohol
  • Heroin
  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Prescription opioids
  • Marijuana

Once a person develops a fixation with the drug, it becomes increasingly difficult to put it down.


When we think of environmental risk factors for addiction, we often defer to a family environment. However, exposure to friends, coworkers, or social environments can also influence a person’s behavior. If a person grows up with peers or family who are heavy drinkers, they may become a heavy drinker, as this may be perceived as ‘normal’.

Mental Disorders

Addiction treatment specialists often discover a link between mental disorder and addiction. Some of the most common disorders associated with substance abuse include:

When a person suffers from a mental disorder, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Mental health disorders are common and significant risk factors for addiction. This can lead to a long-term dependency that lasts for several months or years. Through therapy, a user can learn to manage their mental disorder without depending on an addictive substance.


Some people who become addicted to a substance, start using at an early age – typically in their teenage years. What this means is that they may use the drug for ten years into adulthood before they finally decide to stop. Unfortunately, it becomes difficult to stop and they may need to turn to an addiction treatment center in Texas.

Learn More About Risk Factors for Addiction

If you would like to learn more about risk factors for addiction or have questions about your addiction, then contact Right Step Houston. We offer comprehensive treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Contact us at 1.844.768.0169 to get started with your treatment.

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