Risk Factors in Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Risk Factors in Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Overcoming addiction is hard enough — and without a strong support system, it can leave someone feeling hopeless and defeated. No matter what has caused an individual’s addiction, people who want to recover and get better deserve to have full support and encouragement from their loved ones along the way. Here are some risk factors to look out for, why men are more prone to developing an addiction, and the common warning signs.

Why are Men More at Risk?

Over the years, there have been countless studies conducted on the risk factors of drug and alcohol addiction. Despite all of the research, information, and facts on how someone becomes an addict, it’s still a prevalent problem — and unfortunately, men with an addiction problem are less likely to seek treatment. Men may procrastinate or avoid getting help altogether for fear they may be viewed as a weak and emotional individual — and fear of being labeled as such only perpetuates the addiction cycle.

Here are some common risk factors that can lead to substance addiction:

  • History of depression
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative living environment
  • Sexual abuse
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Eating disorders
  • Peer substance abuse
  • Aggressive behavior as a child
  • Lack of parental supervision

The Tell-Tale Signs

There are many red flags that could point to substance addiction. If you notice any of the following signs in your loved one, it’s vital to get them help.

  • Self-Medicating and Prescription Drugs
    Individuals who struggle with depression may look for anything that will help relieve the pain, as well as boost their mood. Unfortunately, many turn to drugs or alcohol, which only provides a temporary fix. Self-medication is especially concerning for two reasons: one, it’s easy to obtain and two, an individual “feels better” while using, thus making it harder to stop. Not only does this vicious cycle worsen the depression, but it also creates a strong dependency on the drug and many individuals struggle to function without it.
  • Depression
    The link between depression and substance abuse is not surprising. For many, low energy levels and sadness due to depression can be debilitating — and it’s not uncommon for anxiety to accompany depression as well. Seeking out drugs and alcohol when depressed is a way to dull pain and anxiousness. If you find your loved one more withdrawn or are no longer interested in the activities that they once loved, it may be time to get them help before the addiction roots even deeper.
  • Mood Swings
    If your loved one seems to be going through mood swings lately that is out of character, this could be a tell-tale signal of substance abuse and addiction. When one moment they are upbeat and the next they are irritable and angry, this can be concerning.
  • Unhealthy Sleeping Patterns
    Consistently staying up all night and sleeping all day can be an indicator of alcohol and drug addiction. Both alcohol and drugs can be disruptive to REM sleep which could lead to sleep deprivation. Unhealthy sleeping patterns can cause a person to be fatigued with poor concentration during the day.
  • Isolation or Newly Formed Unhealthy Social Circles
    Many addicts hide the fact that they are abusing drugs and alcohol. Covering up or being in denial of an alcohol or drug addiction problem allows the individual to avoid being labeled by the stigmas that come along with addiction.
  • Engaging in Criminal Activity and Legal Problems
    Drug and alcohol addiction can lead someone to feel invincible and more daring when under the influence. For example, someone may “feel fine” and decide to drive while intoxicated or vandalize property as another way of acting out. Young adults and college students may be more inclined to display this type of behavior.
  • Ignoring Responsibilities
    Individuals with an alcohol or drug addiction may shirk off everyday responsibilities like not going to work or school, missing important appointments, and leaving bills unpaid.
  • Financial problems
    If your loved one is receiving bill collection notices or never seems to have money, this could be another red flag. Allowing an addict to borrow money is enabling the addiction. It’s imperative that you don’t do this so they can fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Contact a drug and alcohol treatment center for advice on how to approach your loved one if you notice any of the above warning signs. Not knowing how to approach them about their addiction could trigger a negative response or denial from the person who is addicted.

Why Prescription Drug Addiction is Especially Concerning

Prescription drug addiction is concerning due to the ease in which an addict can obtain substances to keep the cycle going. Some risk factors that can trigger prescription drug abuse and addiction are:

  • Prior drug addiction
  • A family history of substance abuse
  • Chronic pain
  • Peer pressure
  • Alcohol or tobacco use
  • Easy access to prescription drugs
  • Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety or PTSD

How to Spot a Relapse

An individual may have completed an addiction treatment, but that doesn’t mean they are completely out of the woods. For someone who has struggled with substance abuse in the past, maintaining sobriety can be an everyday challenge. While relapses are common, it’s important for family and friends to understand the stages and warning signs so they can proactively help their loved one from falling back into addiction.

The Three Stages of a Relapse

  • Emotional - The person is thinking about using again.
  • Mental - The person wants to remain sober but is struggling to resist using.
  • Physical - The person begins using again.

The Warning Signs

  • Depression
  • Negative emotions (anger, irritability)
  • Anxiety
  • Unhealthy sleeping patterns
  • Bad eating habits
  • General lack of self-care

Someone who is relapsing may also fall back into their old patterns such as leaving home without an explanation or hanging out with friends who are known to be a bad influence.

Where to Get Help

An addiction rehabilitation program is the best way to help someone who struggles with substance addiction. A good treatment center understands that each individual has their own journey to recovery and a tailored addiction recovery plan can provide numerous physical and mental benefits.

The following are therapies offered by Blueprints for Recovery:

Often patients come to us with dual diagnoses, so it’s important for our team to have all the therapies available to assist them with a successful recovery. We encourage our residents to look at the recovery experience differently — as an adventure that can open doors to even more exciting experiences at the end of their treatment journey.

Choosing a drug and alcohol treatment center should not be taken lightly. It’s crucial to find the right rehab program to fit you or your loved one’s needs. Blueprints for Recovery provides long-term rehabilitation for men between the ages of 18 and 30. We offer a distraction-free way for young men to overcome the difficulties they face while developing long-lasting, meaningful connections with other young men who are facing the same struggles. Contact us today to learn more about how we’ve helped many along the road to recovery.

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