Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early drug exposure, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person's likelihood of using drugs and being addicted. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages of a person's life to affect addiction risk. The link between genetics and addiction continues to be a topic of strong debate. Reports have found that between 40% and 60% of addiction predisposition is the result of genetics and, in addition, that children of people suffering from addiction are 25% more likely to also develop addiction compared to children of non-addicted parents.
Researchers are actively looking for an addiction gene, but family tendencies toward addiction seem more likely to be the result of environmental factors such as exposure and normalization of drug use. The nurturing argument is also relevant to addiction. While genetic predisposition is possible even if it has not been conclusively determined, the environment in which we grow up and in which we continue to thrive has a huge impact on mental and physical well-being and, therefore, is a major cause of addiction. So far we have discussed several genetic, environmental and social influences that may contribute to the causes of addiction, but we cannot ignore the role that the brain and body play in the disease of addiction.
Every time you eat, have sex, or participate in any activity that contributes to survival, your brain is flooded with dopamine. The most common roots of addiction are chronic stress, a history of trauma, mental illness, and a family history of addiction. Understanding how this can lead to chronic substance abuse and addiction will help lower your risk of becoming an addict. Next, we'll look at addiction and its roots, and discuss practical ways you can reduce your risk of developing a drug or alcohol addiction.
Another factor that clearly contributes to addiction is the type of substance a person takes. For example, opioids are highly addictive, since they target receptors in the brain directly.