The Start of Drug Addiction: When and How Addiction Develop

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Many people wonder when exactly drug addiction starts and what factors causes addiction. For opiate prescriptions alone, 12 million Americans admitted to abuse drugs. The problem on addiction grows each year. Addiction remains as one of the major issues in the United States.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, some children ages 12 or 13 years old began experimenting with drug abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published the whole report about how addiction starts. Work places issues are on the rise as well.

Early substance abuse

Early substance abuse often starts with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs, and inhalants. Some children as young as ages 12 to 13 years old abuse these drugs.

Research shows that abusing drugs in late childhood has an influence on heavy drug use. If the addictive behavior continues until adulthood, there is a higher possibility that they will continue to abuse drugs.

But not all children develop drug habits in their adulthood. They may have abusive behaviors during their late childhood but will not progress into a full blown addiction in their adolescent.

Experts believed that several factors serve as caused for addiction. There are many reasons why individuals become more progressive with their substance abuse.

Biological factors like family history of substance abuse remain as one of the main reason for addiction. Another reason is peer pressure which exposes the individual to get and use drugs. The gender, race and geographical location of the user can also play a role on how these children start abusing substances.

Some suggest that political beliefs can also serve as a factor in addiction. That is according to a new study presented at the Cognitive Science Society.

Also, the medical community considered addiction as mental health disorder. But the whole subject about the disorder is still not fully understood. Experts still doing research about the disorder. The seek answers as what triggers an individual to develop addiction. They seek out the all the potential possibilities for addiction in individuals. Soon, this research may prevent and help improve medical treatment for addiction.

Causes of Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA, no single factor can predict an individual’s behavior.

Instead, there are several factors that are all interconnected. These factors makes an individual at risk for substance abuse disorders.

Here are some of the known causes of addiction:


Genetics may contribute approximately 40% to 60% to the development of addiction, according to NIDA. It pertains to the genes and a physical factor of the individual. This includes the ethnicity, gender, any known diseases and fitness level.

Family history also comes into play when in comes to genetics. This includes the history of any substance abuse or other mental illness in the family. Having these conditions create a potential that the addicted traits could be passed down via genetic pathways.

Nonetheless, genetics is just a part of the whole picture on why an individual becomes an addictive person. Most research is still in its primary stages. Understanding the genetic factors for addiction requires more research studies. In a study reported in the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics stated that there are several variations of specific genes. These genes can contribute to the individual’s potential for developing substance abuse.

Genetics: Not a precise triggering factor

On the other hand, genes alone do not determine if the individual can inherit addictive behaviors. The study only recognizes that genetics can play a big role in developing an addiction. There are several other factors that generate substance abuse. The Addiction journal also mentioned the other reason for addiction.

The genetic make-up of an individual is quite complex as it works intricately with one another. There are a number of genes combinations and other factors that can ignite addiction. Genes are not the only factor for addiction. An individual may have a family history of addiction does not guarantee that they will exhibit the same behavior.


The environmental risk factors serve as a vital role for addiction.This includes an individual’s surroundings such as family and friends. Exposure to several environments can develop an addiction of an individual.

According to statistics, an individual’s community can trigger addiction. The community exposes the individual on how they perceive drug use. When a community has a favorable attitude about drug use it increases the risk. The individual may also see substance abuse as an acceptable behavior. In return, they may also develop addiction.

Peer pressure

Peer pressure is one of the biggest contributing factors in developing an addiction. It is easier for an individual to get the substance if they have friends who drugs and alcohol.

The risk of addiction increases if the individual’s friends uses drugs. About 10% of people who experiment with drugs develop an addiction.

Family relationship

An individual’s upbringing and beliefs can influence the possibility of substance abuse. Family relationship plays a key factor in drug abuse risk. When an individual lives in a family plagued with conflicts it increases the risk for addiction. Also, if parents and other family member use drugs in a favorable matter, their children will likely use drugs.

Another key factor is how parents educate their children about substance abuse. It is important for parents to mention the devastating effect of drug abuse. Children may perceive the matter as reasonable if they do not hear about it at home.

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