Written by Pat McGraw
Though addiction is a risk we all experience, certain traits predispose some to addiction more than others. When your family has a history of addiction, knowing the risk factors can help prevent the vicious cycle. It can also be useful in preventing addiction early on when you recognize your child may be at risk for addiction. Here are a few of the main risk factors for addiction.
1. Transgender or LGBTQA
Kids or adults that are either transgender or LGBTQA are more typically ostracized from society. As social creatures, we do not respond to social rejection well. This puts these groups of people at more risk for addiction, suicide, and other mental health issues.
The best way to prevent addiction in these individuals is to be supportive and respectful. People who do not necessarily fit into mainstream society need to feel accepted and heard by at least a select few. Their identities need to be respected and treated as a normal part of the human spectrum. These actions can also prevent many other detrimental side effects
2. Family History
Certain people are wired to be more prone to addiction than others. These types of people might have a smaller addiction such as caffeine dependence or potato chip habit. These are symptoms of an addictive personality, and, while often harmless, can be a sign that more serious addiction is possible. When the family has a history of drug or alcohol addiction, subsequent generations are at a much higher risk for serious addiction.
Preventative measures can include careful monitoring of substance use and even support groups. Be sure they are aware of the risks of addiction and that they are predisposed. They should also be able to tend to their own preventative care in their adult years. Of course, needing a little support is expected.
3. Economic Status
People from lower economic status are at a higher risk for addiction for several reasons. Lower economic status results in stress, depression, anxiety, and many other mental health problems. This naturally leads to a person seeking a way to feel better, resulting in addiction. People who have lived in lower income areas their whole lives have also been pre-exposed to addictive behavior. For example, if someone lives in an area where everyone smokes, the children who grow up watching the adults smoke will have an expectation to smoke as well.
This situation can be trickier to prevent. The best option is to keep the person in question busy with activities and education. Make sure they know the consequences of addiction and ensure they have alternatives to cope with any mental health issues.
Knowing the risks does not prevent addiction. That task falls on the friends and family of the person at risk. People who are predisposed toward addiction should be thoroughly educated and taught coping mechanisms in order to avoid turning to drugs in times of stress.
If possible, abstinence from addictive substances such as caffeine and alcohol can be a very effective tool in ensuring addiction prevention. Regardless of the number of generations that have succumbed to addiction, your loved one does not need to continue the cycle.
Pat McGraw knows the struggles of addiction from witnessing its effects on a friend. Luckily that friend recovered and went on to maintaining a healthy, clean life. Being a teacher's aid, and having had this experience, Pat wanted to make sure awareness and resources were spread in order to help young people dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. That was how Pat became part of ThePreventionCoalition.org, in hopes of making a difference and impacting others' lives.
Additional Resources to Help Those Overcome Addiction
The Science of Addiction
20 Secret Signs of Addiction
Suicidal Thoughts and Alcohol Abuse: Tackling Both Problems Head On
Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
The Benefits of a Sober Summer and How to Achieve Them
7 Tips for Mothers of Adult Addicts
Addiction in the Waiting Room: How to Go to the Doctor in Sobriety