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What Social Factors Contribute to Addiction?

Addictions is a complex disease influences by a variety of factors. There are biological components, such as hereditary genes that contribute to the development of addiction, but there are also social factors that can influence someone to become addicted to substances. Someone who does not have a genetic predisposition for addiction can still become addicted to drugs and alcohol as a result of the social factors influencing them.

Social factors related to addiction can either increase one’s risk of drug use or protect against it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “As with any other disease, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person, and no single factor determines whether a person will become addicted to drugs. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs will lead to abuse and addiction. Protective factors, on the other hand, reduce a person’s risk of developing addiction. Risk and protective factors may be either environmental (such as conditions at home, at school, and in the neighborhood) or biological (for instance, a person’s genes, their stage of development, and even their gender or ethnicity).” Home, family, peer, and school environments can cause one to become exposed to drugs at a younger age and increase their risk of developing addiction.

Recent research into the nature of addiction shows that social factors may outweigh biological factors influencing addiction. A 1999 article for the Psychiatric Clinics of North America entitled The Role of Cultural and Social Factors in the Cause of Addictive Disorders, explains, “Although addiction to drugs and alcohol had been well known for centuries, widespread addiction has occurred only in recent centuries. Because the human gene pool or human biochemistry did not likely change suddenly to produce this result, social and cultural factors likely have produced widespread addiction. From another perspective, the sociocultural factors that once protected our societies against widespread addiction may have become weakened or inoperative. Our social institutions–our families, schools, religions, neighborhoods, and governments–no longer protect us and our young from addiction as they once did.” Warning signs of social risk factors include family history of addiction, peer pressure, lack of family involvement, early exposure and use of drugs, and lack of education about drug consequences.

Your life doesn’t have to be controlled by addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Resilient House, located in Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a beautiful and convenient location where clients can safely explore issues and trauma that may have contributed to the onset of the addiction and work toward a full life of recovery and long-term sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431