Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
People of any age, sex or economic status can become addicted to a drug. However, certain factors can affect the likelihood of your developing an addiction:
- Family history of addiction. Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves the effects of many genes. If you have a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with alcohol or drug problems, you're at greater risk of developing a drug addiction.
- Being male. Men are twice as likely to have problems with drugs.
- Having another psychological problem. If you have a psychological problem, such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, you're more likely to become dependent on drugs.
- Peer pressure. Particularly for young people, peer pressure is a strong factor in starting to use and abuse drugs.
- Lack of family involvement. A lack of attachment with your parents may increase the risk of addiction, as can a lack of parental supervision.
- Anxiety, depression and loneliness. Using drugs can become a way of coping with these painful psychological feelings.
- Taking a highly addictive drug. Some drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, cause addiction faster than do others.
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