People of all backgrounds, religions, and ideologies can develop an addiction or substance use disorder, but it can be challenging to understand how some individuals have higher risk factors than others. If you’re living with someone who you might believe is at risk for addiction or you’re worried about yourself, it’s a good idea to understand the signs and when to get help. We can help you identify risks and the potential signs that someone might need help. 

What Does it Mean to Be at a High Risk of Substance Abuse?

In the more recent past, medical professionals have determined that addiction is considered a disorder, meaning that there are individuals with a higher risk of developing this disorder. Being at high risk for substance abuse means you’re in a class of individuals with behavioral traits, a history of substance abuse, or dealing with other existing environmental factors that increase the chance of addiction. Being in a high-risk category doesn’t automatically mean you’ll develop an addiction, but it means you are in a segment of the population exposed to the factors that lead to one.

How Do You Know Someone Is Abusing or Addicted to a Substance?

People addicted to a drug or alcohol rarely exhibit zero symptoms or issues of a problem. If you’re worried about your health or a loved one’s health, these signs can help point you in the direction of an addiction treatment center or another source of professional help:

  • Increased risk-taking behaviors
  • Ignoring responsibilities, daily routines, and habits
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unusual smells on the body
  • Secretive behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, hangout locations, or social desires
  • Anxious, fearful, or paranoid thoughts and appearance with little explanation

The Groups at the Highest Risk of Substance Abuse or Addiction

The following groups are at the highest risk of developing substance abuse disorders or addiction. These individuals should be highly aware of their behaviors, whether due to their own causes or the unfortunate realities of life. Immediately get help if there is a suspicion of reliance on a substance.

Consumption of a Highly Addictive Substance

Certain drugs like opioids naturally increase the likelihood of an individual becoming addicted to a substance. Ensure you’re following the correct prescription and dispose of unused drugs after taking the medication. Talk to your doctor about less addictive substances if you’re worried about potential mishaps.

A Family History of Addiction

Genetics plays a huge part in many aspects of our lives, which rings true regarding the likelihood of addiction. If you have a family history of consumption of addictive substances, you have a higher risk of developing an addiction. Be aware of your parents, grandparents, and siblings’ history to better understand your own behaviors.

Your Surrounding Environment

Individuals who have dealt with mental, emotional, or physical trauma are also at a higher risk of substance abuse. A lack of parental involvement can also play a role, as could the availability of a substance in friend groups or family circles. When recovering from addiction, you might be advised to avoid the people or areas where you accessed the substance in the first place.

Other Mental Illnesses

If you’re suffering from PTSD, ADHD, depression, and coping with the emotional swings of these illnesses, you’re more likely to be faced with a substance use disorder. If you’re dealing with any of these conditions, a dual-diagnosis treatment facility can help provide therapy and support for multiple illnesses at a time.

Your Age 

Young people are at an increased risk of substance abuse due to various factors. Poor parental guidance, low academic performance, association with delinquent peers, and childhood abuse can all make a child turn to drugs as a reprieve. Even young adults who start their alcohol or drug consumption at a young age are at an increased risk of future addiction.

How Can I Prevent Substance Abuse in High-Risk Individuals

Unfortunately, some of the above risk factors for addiction cannot be avoided. As we said, not everyone who fits the criteria for these risk factors will become addicted to the many different types of drugs. However, you can combat them through awareness and an understanding of behaviors. 

Talk to a doctor if you’re unsure about your alcohol use or prescription drug consumption. Doctors might recommend therapy programs or abstinence from alcohol, or they might be able to calm your mind if your worries are misplaced. Remember, avoid placing blame on one or two things for any difficulty with alcohol abuse or drugs. Instead, focus on identifying positive choices and staying aware of the signs, and you’ll ensure that substance use disorder and addiction don’t impact you.

Steps to Recovery Can Help You Fight Substance Abuse

If you or a loved one is struggling with the impacts of substance abuse, contact Steps to Recovery today. We are a premier addiction treatment center in Pennsylvania, and we take pride in providing various plans catered to each individual’s situation. Give us a call today at 267.209.7312, and don’t go one more day without effective help from our mental health professionals.