Factors That Can Contribute to Addictive Behaviors

To contribute means to add something or to cause something, so when we say factors that can contribute to addictive behaviors, it basically means the things that make a person addicted or can cause a person to become addicted to certain behaviors or substances. That being said, it is important to know what these factors are so you know for certain if you or one of your friends, family, or loved ones are prone to addictive behaviors. 

Fear the Factors

We define addiction as the inability to cease consumption of a substance (drugs, alcohol) or engagement in a particular behavior, regardless of social and health consequences. However, there are also some medical and personal factors that could put anyone at risk of addiction. There is a complex structure of risk factors that can contribute to addiction. Here are a few:

  1. Your family history – one of the very first factors that can contribute to your addiction is your family history. According to studies, genetics play a big role in molding the addiction of a person. In fact, about 40-60% of your genes are a contributing factor to your addictions. If you have a parent who has an addiction then chances are, you might develop another form of addiction without even knowing that your family history is a big reason why you became an addict. 
  2. Your home setting or family life – whatever happens in a person’s home, makes them the person that they are. If you have a healthy, loving home environment, then there’s little chance that you will be an addict. For those individuals who are not as lucky, family members and authority figures in the family that are users can play a big role in whether or not the person develops addictive behaviors. This kind of home can cause future generations to develop a substance use disorder. 
  3. Your circle of friends and peer pressure – there are people who have no addictions whatsoever. In fact, their family life can be great, but peers can contribute to addiction especially they are in a less than desirable crowd. Children and teenagers who suffer from peer pressure are most likely going to develop an addiction, especially if they are struggling to fit in socially. Sometimes it’s peer pressure and the urge to fit in that drives these people to addiction.
  4. High levels of stress – some people can be put under a lot of stress in life. Some may come out okay, but not everyone feels everyone does. Although it is rare to find a person who became an addict due to stress, it does happen. People who are often exposed to or have high levels of stress are more prone to taking substances like alcohol or marijuana to help reduce it. When a person becomes reliant on those substances to rid themselves of stress, they’ll start to rely on them in order to cope with stress anytime they get it.

Why People Turn to Substances

There is a question that lingers among many of us when it comes to addictive behaviors: Why do people turn to substance abuse? To answer, there are several reasons why some people start to experiment with substances and become addicted. Here are some of the reasons why people turn to substance abuse:

  1. Due to curiosity – some people, most often teenagers, will try a substance just once in order to say that they have tried it. Keep in mind that decision-making skills are still developing during the teenage years and once it is altered, it could cause a higher risk of developing addictive behaviors in the future.
  2. It helps relieve stress or elevate moods – depression, anxiety, and stress are often experienced by a lot of people these days and they can lead a person to addiction quite quickly. People who have poor coping mechanisms are more likely to turn to substance abuse when they feel under pressure. Stressful situations encourage these people to find ways of dealing with them and can often lead to disastrous coping skills. 
  3. Because it makes them feel good – if you ask an addict as to why they do drugs or drink alcohol, they may simply tell you that it makes them “feel good”. Substances cause a person to feel numb and euphoric, something they believe they could not feel without using. The euphoric state that makes them feel relaxed numb to worldly consequences/events can be highly desirable to people that want to “escape”. Most drugs are stimulants and can, therefore, make a person feel good even if they are at their lowest points in life. 
  4. Helps in enhancing their performance – if you are involved in sports, academics and other forms of performance, the stress levels can be immense. The pressure can be overwhelming at times for athletes, students, or even people working at high-risk jobs. Enhancers and stimulants become something relied on by these kinds of people. However, while these are helpful in short terms, using them over and over again can cause a bigger problem in the future and could even affect your entire performance in general.  

So, now what? 

You are probably wondering how you can avoid all of this as these factors if some may already be present in your life? Well, it all comes down to choice. Keep in mind that even if you have a family history of addiction, you can still choose not to be like your past family members. Even if you have an entire group of friends pressuring you to take drugs, you can still say no. Even if you have a very stressful career choice, you can still say no. YOU CAN SAY NO, it is not impossible. You just have to train yourself to avoid these factors and live a healthy, happy life. If by chance, you are already addicted, you can still turn your life around. There are a lot of treatment programs that can help you and can pull you out of the gutter if you seek the healing that you are looking for. After all, you only have one life, make sure you do everything you can to make sure it is not destroyed by addictive behaviors.