Risk Factors for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and dependency can happen to anyone, but certain factors may put you at higher risk than the general populati

Dec 7

Substance abuse and dependency can happen to anyone, but certain factors may put you at higher risk than the general population. These factors may not only affect the likelihood of addiction, but also the speed by which a user might become dependent. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we are committed to helping people educate themselves about addiction in order to prevent and effectively treat substance abuse disorders.


A family history of drug or alcohol abuse is a strong risk factor for dependency in the generations to follow. In fact, people with alcohol dependency are six times more likely to have family members with the same disorder.

Age and Gender

Males are more likely than females to develop a substance dependency, although females tend to become addicted more quickly than males when they do develop a disorder. The younger a person is when they begin using a substance, the more likely they will develop a dependency problem as well.


People that are around drugs and alcohol at home or in their community are often more likely to use themselves. This may be due to the fact that substance use and abuse is normalized in these situations. In addition, a stressful home or work environment can contribute to substance abuse, which may lead to dependency over time.

Mental Illness

The incidence of mental illness and a substance abuse disorder is very high. Known as a dual diagnosis, a person dealing with both of these conditions will benefit from finding treatment that will address the mental illness and the dependency problem simultaneously.

Past Trauma

Accidents, natural disasters, and physical and sexual abuse can all lead to substance dependency. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network estimates that one in four children will experience a traumatic event prior to turning 16, necessitating effective treatment options that will lessen the likelihood the victim will turn to substances as a way to cope.

Substance Used

Some substances, and the methods by which they are commonly taken, can increase the risk for addiction. For example, drugs that are injected or smoked tend to produce the most powerful “highs,” which can increase cravings for the drug soon after the effects wear off. Also, drugs like heroin and methamphetamine are highly addictive by nature, increasing the odds of dependency even after just one use.

While these risk factors may increase the likelihood of an addiction, there are many people with one or more of these factors that never develop a substance dependency. At the same time, people without risk factors may still be vulnerable to substance abuse at some point during their lives. If you are struggling with substance abuse, help is available. Contact Pasadena Recovery Center today at 866-663-3030.

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