Addiction is a disorder that is often characterized by constant impulse use and total reliance on substances for pleasure or survival despite fatal consequences.
Addiction is a disorder because it affects the brain and a person’s willpower or sense of control. This implies that often people who get addicted to substances do not have control over their desire to use.
It often begins with the voluntary use of substances due to certain reasons like peer pressure, or to achieve a goal such as relieving stress.
However, the use of these substances sends a signal to the brain and reduces the level of dopamine in the brain. It affects the ability to control the use of drugs which leads to compulsive reliance on drugs.
People get addicted to substances due to various factors referred to as “risk factors”. Risk factors comprise biological, environmental, psychological, and developmental factors. They are those factors that put a person at a greater risk of becoming addicted to substances than another.
- Biological factors:
Factors relating to genetics, gender, ethnicity, or mental disorders can contribute to why people get addicted to substances. The genetic makeup of a person and the effects environmental factors have on a gene expression constitutes 40 to 60 percent of the risk of addiction.
- Environmental factors:
The family, school, and neighborhood are environmental factors that can increase the risk of substance addiction.
If a child grows up with parents who use substances, he will likely suffer addiction in the future. Also, having friends who are into substance use can influence a person to start using too.
- Developmental factors:
A person will be at a high risk of getting addicted to substances if he starts using them early in life before age 18-25. The drugs can harm the brain as it is still developing.