10 Factors That Increase the Risk of Addiction

Addiction can happen to anyone, but there are certain factors that increase drug addiction risks — whether they’re genetic, circumstantial or completely beyond your control.

Being aware of these risk factors can help you identify and fight addiction, whether it’s you or a loved one who has developed a problem. Of course, these risk factors don’t necessarily mean you’re destined to become an addict. They just increase your likelihood.

Read on to discover 10 major factors that increase the risk of drug addiction:


Losing a job can hurt your pride as much as your pocketbook, especially if you spend months trying to find new employment without any luck. When your pride suffers, you may turn to alcohol or drugs for solace and to help you forget the frustrations of job hunting.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that one in six unemployed Americans struggle with substance abuse or addiction. That’s compared to one in twelve working Americans.

Traumatic Events

When something traumatic happens, whether it’s a death in the family or a painful divorce, it’s only natural to want to escape that unbearable pain. Sometimes those who are experiencing trauma turn to drugs and alcohol as an escape. Unfortunately, that can quickly spiral into addiction.

Limited Education

Education is key to preventing drug abuse. When kids grow up hearing anti-drug messages that thoroughly explain the health risks of abusing these substances, they are less likely to use them.

If those ideas are reinforced at home with educational support, kids absorb the serious problems that can develop with drug and alcohol abuse. But when kids aren’t warned about the dangers of drugs early on, they’re vulnerable to peer pressure and curiosity about what getting drunk or high feels like.

Broken Homes

Kids from broken homes are almost three times more likely to be addicted to drugs. Divorce can increase the risk of drug and alcohol addiction in young people in several ways, including:

  • Lack of oversight — Kids may be shuffled between caregivers who don’t monitor signs of drug or alcohol experimentation.
  • Changing family dynamics — New homes and new influences can lead to experimentation.
  • Unhappiness — Kids trying to cope with divorce or separation may use drugs and alcohol to escape.


Men are twice as likely as women to suffer from drug addiction. While that doesn’t mean women are immune from addiction, it does mean that you’re more at risk if you’re a man.


Relationship Problems

Nothing can put your life in turmoil quite as quickly as relationship problems. Whether you were dumped by a long-term boyfriend or your marriage is on the rocks, relationship woes put a great deal of stress on you. And stress is one of the factors that increase the risk of drug addiction.

You may choose to drink or get high to mask the anger and sadness you feel when a relationship is in trouble, instead of picking healthier coping mechanisms such as exercise.

Family History

If you have a parent or grandparent who suffered from addiction, you’re more likely to become an addict yourself. Not only are children of drug and alcohol addicts genetically predisposed to addiction, but they also sometimes have the means to begin abusing the substances themselves. For example, there may be drugs or drug paraphernalia in the house.

Using Highly Addictive Drugs

Many highly addictive drugs can result in a speedier path to addiction. They include:

When you abuse these drugs, you may develop addiction symptoms quickly. However, you can also become addicted to other substances — it may just take longer.

Mental Illness

Mental illness is an extremely challenging condition. It’s a battle you’re fighting every single day, which makes it tempting to try to numb your pain by using alcohol or drugs. These substances become a way to escape the pain of mental illness.

Individuals with mental illnesses are more likely to become addicts compared to those without a mental illness. In fact, 8 million people in the United States who suffer from mental illness also have a substance abuse problem.

History of Abuse

Suffering through any form of abuse, including sexual, domestic, physical or emotional, can trigger a need for escape. Drugs and alcohol may dull the guilt and strain of not just the abuse itself but the aftermath of abuse. It’s tempting to get high and forget that pain rather than deal with the realities of your situation.

Are You at Risk for Addiction?

Perhaps you have one or more of these risk factors, and you worry you may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. 12 Keys Rehab can help. Contact us today at 1-800-338-5770 to start on the path to sobriety.

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