Why do some people get addicted to pornography, drugs, and other substances, while others never get addicted? What will make some individuals drink like a fish, and when they decide to stop, they stop, and they are ok, yet others will drink a couple of glasses and get hooked? Why will an individual watch porn once and he or she is hooked, yet another will bump on the same porn but feel disgusted and never go back?
The answers are not straight cut. We can't say precisely why an individual gets addicted because the precise cause of an individual addiction can not be known; however, we know that there are certain risk factors that make some people more susceptible to addiction than others. These risk factors are the following
Genetic Factors: Several studies have shown that addiction is hereditary. Certain genetic factors in the human body predispose individuals to addiction, so if your parents or grandparents were addicts, they would pass on these genetic factors to you, which increases your chances of becoming an addict yourself, actually a more than 50% chance in some cases. For example, genetic predisposition of impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, or sensation-seeking behavior tends to be linked with excessive or compulsive porn watching. Children of alcoholics are more than 60% more likely to become addicts themselves.
Psychological Factors: Addiction is usually comorbid, coming along with other psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorders (ADHD), etc. Suffering from psychological issues such as depression or low self-esteem makes people three times more likely to use alcohol or drugs excessively and become addicted. Individuals with ADHD that was not properly treated are more likely to become dependent on alcohol or drugs. Individuals with performance anxiety, social anxiety or personality disorders are more likely to get addicted to porn, alcohol or other addictive substances
Emotional states: When individuals have a high level of stress, emotional pain, or anxiety, they are prone to self medicate with substances in order to cope and block out their disturbances. The high levels of some stress hormones and their persistence may be associated with a more straightforward slide into addiction. This seems to be more so for porn addiction; social anxiety, depression, childhood trauma, and abuse are high-risk factors for porn addiction.
Social and Cultural Factors: Having friends or partners who use regularly promote someone who is initially vulnerable to addiction to drink or use drugs excessively to the point of addiction. Distancing oneself from enablers may be difficult because the use of these substances, especially alcohol, is seen as social. Also, society glamorizes individuals who use it through music, advertising, and pop culture, thereby encouraging individuals to use excessively to the point of obsession.
Children and teenagers who lack parental involvement are correlated with greater risk-taking and/or experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Young people who experience abandonment or abuse from family and loved ones may also use drugs to cope with their emotions, thereby sliding quickly into addiction.
Age of first use: Individuals who begin using drugs or drinking at an early age like 16 years or earlier are 40% more likely to get addicted than individuals who wait until they are 21 years before their first taste—the reason why prevention and early intervention in secondary schools is critical.
Gender: Males are more likely to get dependent or addicted to any addictive substance than female. Data shows that for every four people dependent on drugs in Nigeria, one is a female, while three are males.
Drug of Choice: The type of drug or substance an individual uses determine the trajectory of whether they get addicted or not. Some addiction progresses slowly for several months or even years, while some progress quickly. Drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines tend to be more physically addictive than marijuana or alcohol. Cocaine and heroin cause physically painful withdrawal symptoms or "comedown" phase, thereby pushing the person who uses to use them more often and in higher doses to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. This can help speed up the addiction process and even raises the risk of severe complications, including overdoes.
Method of use: The same way certain drugs are more addictive than others; the method an individual uses to take a drug can also increase the person's risk for addiction. Drugs that are injected and smoked tend to be more addictive than drugs that are swallowed. When someone smokes or inject drugs, these drugs go straight into the bloodstream and brain. At the same time, those swallowed pass through the liver and other organs where they are filtered, and their potency is reduced.
Other Medical Issues: Having other medical health conditions may also increase individual susceptibility to addiction. For example, individuals with sickle cell anemia are likely to abuse pain medications and someone who had an accident and was prescribed pain pills after surgery may be at a higher risk for addiction.
While risk factors increase your vulnerability for addiction, they don't guarantee that you must get addicted. If you are already battling with dependence on addictive substances or porn, we at Mumtaz mind and wellness studio are ready to help you with science-based recovery tools to battle your dependency. If you are a full addict, there is hope. Walk into our office for an assessment and begin your journey to healing.
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