Addictive Behavior Risk Factors

Addictive Behavior Risk Factors

Talking About Substance Abuse

Risk factors are described as anything that increases the likelihood of developing a condition or disease, and in this case, we’re talking about risk factors for addiction.

Although the questions as to why some become addicted and others can use drugs substances recreationally without succumbing to the addictive behaviors of others is often contested, we do know – when it comes to drugs and alcohol – that there are certain risk factors involved that may contribute to addiction and the presence of multiple risk factors could indicate a significantly higher risk of addictive behavior.

Many things contribute to the facilitation of addiction, and these are merely tools used to help attempt to predict a risk assessment for at-risk persons in the future.

Each risk factor for addiction can be broken down into one of three categories:

Genetic Factors

Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a single genetic link between addict parents and children. That said, neither the presence nor the absence of this genetic link ensures that children who grow up with one or more addicted family members, or no family history of addiction, will go on to be addicts – or sober – themselves. It should also be noted that even though this link has yet to be found, it doesn’t necessarily preclude its existence in the form of multiple genes (rather than a single “addict” gene) that could contribute to higher risk.

Essentially, we aren’t yet sure if there is one true genetic “addiction” link, or if other genes, such as those associated with the ability to cope with other societal factors such as stress, trauma, or mental illness are truly the underlying cause. Although a single link hasn’t been found, there is plenty of available information arguing that family history does play a key part in our genetic response to addictive substances.

Another genetic risk factor – and one that might be quite surprising – is gender. According to the Mayo Clinic, males are twice as likely to have problems with addiction than females.


We also know that economics play a huge factor when assigning potential risk factors to addictive behavior. Factors such as: perceived connection to community, rapid changes in population, high unemployment, living at or below the poverty level, lack of social institutions, or inconsistent enforcement – issues that commonly plague low income neighborhoods – have all been shown to be risk factors that lead to higher instances of drug and alcohol abuse.


Psychosocial risk factors relate to the development and environment – as well as interaction within that environment – during your developing years.  Upbringing plays a huge part when attempting to assign risk factors to addiction and abuse, neglect, family history, early exposure, stress, peer pressure, societal messages and mental illness are all major players when assessing psychosocial risk factors.

In addition to the well-studied environmental factors mentioned above, recent studies are starting to draw a closer link between overall health and disability and showing that those suffering from a disability, such as mental illness, back or spinal cord injury, learning disabilities, brain injuries, or hearing or visual impairment are all significant risk factors for addiction. A cross-disability study of 900 disabled women reported that patterns of drug use were more common in those with the following risk factors: age, drug use by close friend, and being victims of drug abuse-related violence were all significant risk factors for personal drug use.

How Prescott House Can Help

No matter what factors led to your addiction, Prescott House is known to our residents as a safe and sober living environment that helps to empower the men that enter our doors to leave as better versions of themselves. Sobriety – much like addiction itself – depends on getting to the core of each individual’s addiction. Our qualified addiction professionals will help you or your loved one to identify these factors and behaviors that are associated with addiction. Prescott House can help with a wide variety of factors that men are faced with, from addiction to mental health disorders. In addition, we provide the support you need not only to deal with the addiction but the cause as well. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Contact our Admissions Team Today
See how we can help you or your loved one continue their journey in recovery.

Zach Lindley—Admissions Team

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