4 Reasons Your Loved One Struggles with Addiction, but Others Don’t
Drug addiction is a complex disease that starts in the brain. When your loved one is struggling with a drug addiction, you may find the fact that some people seem immune to addiction quite perplexing.
If drugs have such a strong pull, why is your family member struggling, but others who have used the same drug are not? Understanding these three factors of drug addiction will help you understand why your loved one is struggling, even while someone else who tried the drug is not.
1. Drug Addiction Starts with Biology
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, some people are genetically wired to be prone to addiction. Genetics in combination with the influences of the individual’s environment account for 50 percent of an individual’s tendency toward addiction.
In other words, it may simply be the way the person’s brain is wired that makes them more likely to become addicted if they choose to use an addictive substance.
Genetics, particularly as it affects brain pathways, may show why some people do not enjoy a drug the first time they use it, while others are instantly addicted.
For example, researchers at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry found that nicotine’s interaction with neuropathways in the brain causes some people to get pleasure from the use of cigarettes the first time, while others found the smell and taste distasteful.
The same fact applies to other addictive substances, and appears to have a genetic connection.
2. Mental Disorders Play a Role
People who have mental disorders, including depression and anxiety, are at a higher risk for addiction, according to the U.S. Department of Health.
Co-occurring mental illness makes it harder to practice impulse control and increases the appeal of the drug’s effects, which may provide temporary relief from the mental disorder.
3. Adding Environment to the Mix
Environment and genetics are closely entwined, but they can be distinct influences that make someone more prone to addiction. If your loved one has surrounded themselves with friends who enjoy drugs or alcohol, then the addiction becomes socially acceptable.
In contrast, those who have friends who view addiction in a negative light will be less likely to continue addictive behavior.
Quality of life can also play a role. People who have a difficult life and are looking for a way out are more likely to turn to controlled substances for that escape.
4. Consider the Age Drug Use Begins
Finally, the age at which drug use begins can play a role in how prone someone is to becoming addicted. The earlier an individual begins using drugs, the more likely it is to develop into a problem with addiction.
This is due to the way the brain’s impulse control develops. For this reason, if your loved one started using drugs in their twenties, they are at higher risk for addiction than someone who tries a drug in their thirties.