Substance use disorders (SUDs) do not discriminate. Anyone can develop an addiction to alcohol and other substances or behaviors. Addiction is a chronic disease that can affect anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or social status. Struggling with addiction does not make you any less of a person or insinuate a lack of judgment or willpower. Multiple factors play a role in one’s susceptibility to developing an addiction. The important thing to remember is that recovery is possible. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in your ability to recover.

5 Factors in the Development of Addiction

While there are multiple factors relative to the development of addiction, scientists and practitioners have explained that the following five factors are very important in one’s susceptibility to developing an addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors.

#1. Biology

Our biology plays a powerful role in everything we do and who we are. Our genetics put us at risk for diabetes and cancer; doesn’t it make sense that our genetics also put us at a higher risk for developing addiction? Biology is why we react in certain ways to our environment, and our biology puts us at greater risk for developing certain disorders. Researchers are still trying to understand how genetics plays a role in the development of certain diseases, but it is clear from current studies that genetics play a role in whether or not we are likely to develop an addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors.

#2. Environment

Our environment shapes us, from what we decide to eat to how we organize our days. Depending on our environment and with whom we surround ourselves, we can be at greater risk of developing an addiction. When we surround ourselves with healthier people, we tend to engage in healthier activities. When we surround ourselves with negative influences, we are more likely to succumb to peer pressure and engage in less healthy activities.

A key component of this aspect of the development of addiction is also tied to our genetics. Epigenetics relates to how our biology is impacted by our surroundings. Our biology puts us at specific risk of the development of certain diseases. Our environment also impacts whether or not certain genetic sequences are “turned on,” putting us more at risk.

#3. Development

Risk-taking behaviors occur primarily in our youth. The younger we are when we start using substances, the more likely we are to continue engaging in dangerous behaviors. As teens and young adults, the brain is not fully developed, and making decisions about what is best for us is difficult. It is not uncommon, and unfortunately, the younger a person is when introduced to substance use, the more likely they are to develop an addiction.

#4. Trauma

Another critical component to the development of an addiction is the experience of trauma. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize how trauma can play a critical role in your struggles, which is why we offer individual therapy as a part of your treatment program. Trauma changes a person’s ability to see themselves clearly and impacts nearly all aspects of an individual’s life. Trauma can enact certain genetic markers, making one more prone to developing addictive behaviors and playing a role in the development of addiction as a result of epigenetics.

#5. Co-Occurring Diagnoses

At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize how your addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors did not occur in a vacuum. We also acknowledge that other diagnoses may have played a role in your struggles with various behaviors. A co-occurring diagnosis, such as anxiety, bipolar, depression, or PTSD, can play a role in the development of any addiction. Learning how to cope with triggers and symptoms is difficult, and many people have used alcohol and other substances or behaviors to cope with unpleasant symptoms. In truth, people want to feel “normal,” and the use of substances has been a coping strategy, which is how some people develop an addiction in relation to a co-occurring diagnosis.

You Are Not Your Diagnosis

A critical thing to remember as you begin your battle against addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors is that you are not your diagnosis, and your struggles do not define you. Instead, remember that you are a unique individual with a special purpose on this planet. At Enlightened Solutions, we see you as full of possibility. A part of your treatment will be to get you to see the many possibilities and strengths you have and can bring to the world. You are an amazing person. Shouldn’t your best life start now?

Addiction is an equal opportunity disease and doesn’t discriminate between race, gender, occupation, or social standing. You are not alone in your struggle with alcohol or other substances or behaviors. Remember that help is available. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize your intrinsic value and want to see you succeed in recovery, which is why we offer honest solutions to your struggles. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use disorder, we are here to help. We believe in your ability to recover and offer treatment for every step of your recovery process, whether it be detox or if you need assistance on an outpatient basis. We are here to help you recover from addiction. Contact Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-LIVE and learn how we can help you overcome your struggles with drugs or alcohol and embrace the life and recovery you want and deserve. We are here to help you.