Addiction involves great suffering, and can worsen without treatment. As with other medical disorders, addiction has known risk factors, including genetic, environmental and developmental factors. The more risk factors that a person has, the greater the likelihood that his or her engagement with addictive substances or behaviors will lead to addiction. These risk factors include:
- Genetic predisposition, such as having first-degree relatives who suffer from addiction.
- Psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder.
- Psychological factors, such as certain personality traits, tendency to seek excitement and take risks, and difficulty regulating emotions.
- Environmental influences, including access to addictive substances, social and cultural factors that encourage addictive behavior, and exposure to traumatic events.
- The consumption of addictive substances and engagement with addictive behaviors at a young age. Because the brains of children and adolescents are still developing, those exposed at an early age are at greater risk of becoming addicted.