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What are the risk factors for developing addiction?

Both nature (genetics) and nurture (environment) play a role in answering this question. The following factors increase the risk of addiction. In another article we will discuss protective factors.

1. Having one or both parents, and/or siblings who are addicted. About 50% of the risk is genetic.
2. Aggressive behavior or the diagnosis of a conduct disorder, indicating lack of control of behavior.
3. Untreated hyperactivity disorder or untreated attention deficit disorder.
4. Being depressed or anxious.
5. Experience of trauma, whether exposure to sexual, physical abuse or violence
6. Undergoing stressful life transition or loss such as divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, best friend moving, perhaps leaving home for the first time.
7. Home conflict with parents, children, or spouse.
8. Exposure and peer pressure to use drugs and/or alcohol.
9. Starting use of drugs and alcohol before age 15.
10. Children with low parental supervision and support, and high level of inconsistent discipline, abuse and rejection.

Acknowledging that there are nature and nurture factors does not imply that we can do nothing to change this. We may need acceptance of our genetic risk factors, but we can change and address all of the other items on the list. There is hope, treatment is available, and recovery is well worth the effort. Watch some WYNK flash videos and learn more.

by: Lois Cochrane Schlutter, Ph.D. L.P.

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