People of any age, sex or economic status can become addicted to a drug. However, certain factors can affect the likelihood and speed of developing an addiction:

  • Family history of addiction. Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves genetic predisposition. If you have a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with alcohol or drug problems, you're at greater risk of developing a drug addiction.
  • Being male. Men are more likely to have problems with drugs than women are. However, progression of addictive disorders is known to be faster in females.
  • Having another mental health disorder. If you have a mental health disorder such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or post-traumatic stress disorder, you're more likely to become dependent on drugs.
  • Peer pressure. Peer pressure is a strong factor in starting to use and abuse drugs, particularly for young people.
  • Lack of family involvement. Difficult family situations or lack of a bond with your parents or siblings may increase the risk of addiction, as can a lack of parental supervision.
  • Anxiety, depression and loneliness. Using drugs can become a way of coping with these painful psychological feelings and can make these problems even worse.
  • Taking a highly addictive drug. Some drugs, such as stimulants, cocaine or painkillers, may result in faster development of addiction than other drugs. However, taking drugs considered less addicting — so-called "light drugs" — can start you on a pathway of drug use and addiction.
Oct. 15, 2014

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