According to several neuroscientists, the risk of addiction can be attributed half to genetics and half to environmental factors. Nature (genes, etc.) and nurture (environment, social surroundings etc.), both, can be responsible for triggering addiction in an individual. While the contribution of nature is important, environment and external influences also play an essential role in the development of alcohol addiction, such as exposure to drinking at a very young age, dysfunctional family environment, socioeconomic status, etc.
Of all the environmental factors, the atmosphere in which an individual grows up influence his or her overall behavior, including his or her affinity toward alcohol or drugs, largely. The environment of the society also significantly affects one’s habits and behavior.
More than genetics, which is a natural process and often beyond one’s control, environmental factors influence a person’s substance abuse habits. In order to understand these factors, some of the common external influences have been discussed below:
- Social status
One’s position in the social hierarchy largely determines whether a person will develop an addiction to substances or not. A 2008 study done by Wake Forest University School of Medicine suggests that monkeys having a lower social standing will choose cocaine over food when exposed to stressful situations. However, monkeys in the higher social order were less likely to resort to cocaine even when stressed. Similarly, people under extreme stress due to constant domination stand higher chances of developing substance abuse tendencies.
Environmental triggers, such as visiting drinking places, can also drive people to engage in substance abuse. Researchers believe that such environmental stimuli can make people choose the option of addiction. For example, one may succeed in staying away from alcohol in the comforts of his or her home; however, when he or she goes by an attractive bar, the emotional response may be too high for him or her to control the craving to have a drink in the bar.
- Peer pressure
Peer pressure can be a deciding factor for developing a substance abuse behavior, especially among adolescents who usually aim to be popular in their friend circle and want to experiment with new things with friends. Also, having drug-using friends serves as a potent reason for continuing the experimentation, especially with substances. Therefore, a strong combination of positive reinforcement and a supportive environment for drug and alcohol use increases the likelihood of developing an addiction.
- Involved parenting
The amount and quality of emotional and social support one receives from family and friends play an important factor, especially during the growing phase of a person. For example, teens, who have the support of a trustworthy adult with whom they can share with no hesitance, have lesser risk of developing an addiction.
Moreover, many evidences substantiate the fact that the genetic risk of developing the problem of addiction can be remarkably reduced and negated by involved and supportive parenting. A lack of supportive parents increases the risk of drug abuse by three times.
- Availability of substances
Though it is out of one’s control to regulate one’s genes and some environmental factors, there are some factors that one can be regulated. Through the avoidance of addictive substances and situations that cause cravings, people can reduce the risk of addiction. Likewise, the genetic predisposition to get addicted to heroin can be negated by never trying it.
Unlike genetics, the good news is that most of the environmental factors can be controlled to make it less likely for one to get involved in drug or alcohol addiction.
Opt for addiction-free life
It is true that genetic and environmental factors combine to affect a person’s substance abuse behavior. Besides physical and mental health risks, alcoholism and other forms of addiction can be draining, financially, socially and personally. However, there are ways to get rid of the habit by undertaking effective measures, such as detox, rehabilitation programs, etc.
Overall, it is easy to find the right resources for alcohol addiction treatment in Florida. Just get connected to the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline for immediate assistance. You can chat online or call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 to know about the best alcohol treatment centers in Florida.