No single factor underscores whether an individual will be addicted to drugs. Increased risk factors result in the likelihood of abuse
and addiction. Addiction is reduced by the presence of protective factors. These factors may be environmental or biological. Some of the risk factors are lack of parental supervision, experimenting with drugs, inadequate social skills, poverty and availability of drugs. Protective factors encompass positive relationships, success in academics, parental monitoring, and strict anti-drug policies.
The home environment during childhood may determine one’s susceptibility to consumption of drugs. Also, members of the family who abuse drugs or are involved in criminal activities may result in children having a drug problem in the future. During adolescence, acquaintances and friends may have a strong influence on each other. It is possible for drug-using peers to sway their friends to try drugs. Also, failure in academics and poor social abilities may cause a child to start consuming drugs.
Scientists approximate that 40% to 60% of individuals susceptibility to addiction is caused by genetic factors. Other biological factors are a history of medical conditions and individuals stage of development. People diagnosed with mental disorders and adolescents have a higher risk of addiction relative to the general population.
Other Factors that Enhance the Risk of Addiction
The earlier an individual starts to consume drugs, the higher is the likelihood of developing serious problems. The drugs may begin damaging the developing brain. Broken families, physical abuses, genetics and mental illnesses may trigger the use of drugs at an early age.
The addictive potential is catalyzed by smoking and injecting drugs into the veins. This way, the effects of the drugs get into the brain quickly. Scientists believe that people continue to take drugs repeatedly to enjoy the pleasurable state for a more extended period.
Brain Development During Adolescence and Into Adulthood
The prefrontal cortex is a crucial part of the brain that allows individuals to control desires and emotions, assess situations, and make informed decisions. This region continues to mature during adolescence. Adolescents may make poor choices, as the prefrontal cortex is not fully mature. Introduction of drugs before the cortex is fully mature may result in brain changes. These changes may have profound consequences on an individual.