Drug and Alcohol

Am I at Risk for Drug and Alcohol Addiction?


Addiction can affect anyone, but certain factors could increase your risk of getting addicted. Call The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more!

Substance use disorders can be incredibly debilitating diseases that can affect anyone. While certain images may come to mind when discussing “addiction,” like an individual stumbling drunk in the morning or looking for the next source of drugs, the reality is that these are highly stigmatized notions, and this disorder can manifest in a variety of different ways, often invisible to the casual observer.

Nobody is naturally completely immune to substance abuse, regardless of their race, education, sex, age, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic. However, it is possible that an individual can be at an increased risk of developing substance use disorder, and knowing the risks can help individuals better monitor their use and relationship with addictive substances to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Stress and Mental Health

Stress is a universal experience. Between the stresses of personal life, relationships, or the stresses of the professional workplace, it is near impossible to escape at least some stress. Social media, financial concerns, and more can compound these feelings. Similarly, mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, and much more can have a massive impact on how an individual functions within their daily routine. Left unchecked, these feelings can fundamentally change how one approaches each day, and these intense feelings can make one seek a release or a way to cope. High-stress workplaces or one’s personal life are a common bridge to drug and alcohol use. For those without the time or means to process these stresses healthily, drugs and alcohol may be an enticing prospect for immediate relief despite the dangers they present. 

Drugs and alcohol are not just easily available but are incredibly fast-acting, quickly distracting a person and numbing difficult emotions for a time. This provides mental and emotional distance from the stresses that one faces. Using drugs after a long day of work or spiking a drink to prepare for stress ahead can indicate an incredibly dangerous relationship with addictive substances. Their use may become a core coping strategy and can cause the user to view their use as creating a positive and desired effect. However, this relationship can quickly develop into abuse and addiction as one’s continued use of these substances to cope with stress becomes more common, even creating a cyclic pattern where the lack of drugs or alcohol itself becomes a stressor. Acknowledging the stress of one’s situation is paramount to objectively measure one’s relationship with these substances. 

The Power of Environment

One’s environment plays a large role in daily life. “Environment” here refers to the people and places one frequently interacts with. There are several ways that one’s environment can promote unhealthy habits. For example, the level of access to drugs or alcohol in one’s environment can present a dangerous situation. If one’s parents, spouse, or roommates have alcohol in the kitchen or other places or keep prescribed medications on counters—especially without providing proper warning and education regarding such substances — this can be tempting to those predisposed to substance use issues or those looking for something to alter their mental state. Not only can this make obtaining alcohol for any given reason much easier, but it also introduces these substances as a normal thing to keep on hand, further dismissing the dangers that come with the use of these substances.

Even if an individual does not interact with these substances frequently, having a roommate or family member who regularly engages with drugs or alcohol can impact an individual when it is a part of one’s everyday environment. Seeing regular use normalized can alter one’s perception of addictive substances, not only making them seem less dangerous but also creating unrealistic ideas surrounding drugs or alcohol and what constitutes “safe” or “unsafe” use. 

One’s environment can also be made up of several places. While one’s residence is the most common environment, school or the workplace can be sites where one is exposed to drugs or alcohol as well. For example, regularly talking about alcohol use at work or coworkers frequenting a bar at the end of a shift can create a dangerous misconception about alcohol or drugs, increasing the chance of alcohol use, abuse, and addiction as one’s use goes unchecked or moderated. 

Looking at the Family History

Lastly, one’s familial history has a major impact on one’s predisposition to developing substance use disorder. Having a blood relative who has suffered from such a disorder can greatly increase one’s chances of developing it themselves. While this doesn’t mean that every member of a family will develop a substance use disorder, it does mean that an individual may develop a physical or emotional dependency quicker than someone without a genetic predisposition, inviting the dangerous effects of substance abuse into one’s life more easily if not moderated. Discussing with family members about one’s familial history can help each individual remain informed and prepared for the dangers that may be presented with when it comes to the genetic side of substance use disorder.

Substance Use Disorders Can Affect Anyone

Being aware of the different factors that influence it can help you be more aware of your risk for substance use disorder. If you or a loved one is ready to take your first step towards a healthy, sober future, The Edge Treatment Center can help you today. We offer an array of programs designed to meet you at any stage of the recovery process, from detox and inpatient treatment to sober living and continued outpatient support.

For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a staff member about your situation, call us today.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

January 13, 2022