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Predisposition to Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss

Published: 2012-02-11

Synopsis and Key Points:

Society needs to bear in mind the potential for predisposition to drug addiction when a person becomes addicted to drugs.

Main Digest

The perception of people who become addicted to illegal or legal forms of drugs as people who have chosen to become addicted, are weak, or who have chosen addiction as a lifestyle may be incorrect. Addiction to drugs may be a predisposition based upon a number of different factors, some of which a person is unable to control, and some of which they are not.

Addiction - A condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, even health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

Organizations, health care workers, family members, friends, and individuals in society need to bear in mind the potential for predisposition to drug addiction when a person becomes addicted to drugs.

Everyone is the product of their parents. If a person's parents experience issues with drug addiction, the person's chances of being more susceptible to addiction are increased. Drug addiction is more common in some families than in others. If, for example, a person's parents smoke, the person's chances of becoming a smoker are increased. The same is true in regards to alcohol consumption. People whose parents are or were alcoholics experience a predisposition to abusing alcohol. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is passed from one generation to another in this manner.

Predisposition to Drug Addiction Based on Personality

In addition to potential inherited factors, some people may have a personality that increases their potential to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. People seek pleasure and desire to relax. We are curious - something which of itself may lead a person to try a drug. Experimentation is something some people do.

Everyone wants to feel good, and some people are more impatient than others. Drugs provide some people with the instant gratification they do not find to be available with other things. Drugs provide some people with a good feeling for a moment, an hour, or another frame of time. People as a whole want the things they want.

People who are at greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol include those who have been diagnosed with depression, hyperactivity, or attention deficit disorder. A person may have experienced stress in their life, or anxiety - both of which are contributing factors to drug or alcohol addiction. Common personality characteristics such as aggression might be a factor, while children who lack healthy self-esteem and confidence can be at risk of reaching for drugs or alcohol to fill a perceived void. Addiction to drugs or alcohol causes negative changes to a person's personality which may lead to further, more destructive behaviors.

Drug/Alcohol Addiction Predisposition Due to Social or Peer Pressure

People are interested in having relationships and at times the relationships people pursue cause them to also pursue things they might otherwise have avoided in order to maintain the relationship. Peer pressure is a heavy influence and is also at its greatest while we are in our teenage years. During this time in our lives we want to be perceived as, 'cool.' Drug addiction during this time of people's lives starts as a social action, the taking of drugs in order to be a part of the group and be accepted.

Peer pressure does not involve only teenagers, it also takes other forms. Social etiquette suggests a person consume a drink while at a party, for example. Many people identify themselves as, 'social drinkers,' a term that is common. Others believe that addiction to drugs actually causes them to be accepted as a part of a popular group of people.

Additional Predispositions to Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Predisposition to drug or alcohol addiction may also involve various other things. Anxiety, depression, and loneliness are among the things that may predispose people to addiction. Additional things that may predispose people to addiction include the ease with which a person may access drugs or alcohol, or a person's race or ethnicity.

Anxiety: At times, people may need some assistance when it comes to coping with life. A person may experience difficulties when even simpl/ things become too hard to manage and reach for drugs or alcohol in order to deal with their difficulties. People who have been diagnosed with anxiety can lead good lives, as well as receive treatment through a doctor if needed. Some people with anxiety choose drugs or alcohol as a means of escape instead of reaching for assistance from the medical community or other constructive sources of help.

Depression and Loneliness: People sometimes reach for drugs or alcohol as a substitute for positive physical or emotional health. A person who is experiencing pain may desire to numb the pain they are feeling. A drug or alcohol may numb the person's pain for a period of time so they do not feel as badly. The person may perceive the drug or alcohol as an escape.

Ease of Access: People who want to obtain drugs or alcohol do not have to look very far; they are nearly everywhere in society today. Students in high school are very aware of this fact. Addiction to drugs or alcohol causes people to sell drugs as well, many times to the children, a very vulnerable population. Drugs and alcohol can be found in every type of community, from very poor communities in cities, to rural areas, suburbs, and other areas. Drugs are sold in schools, job locations, and additional places where people gather.

Race and Ethnicity: A person's particular racial background or ethnicity has no bearing on their predisposition to drug or alcohol addiction. No specific cultural group is more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol than any other. The fact is that drug and alcohol addiction crosses every boundary and is an issue humanity must face.

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