Why Addiction Affects Some People but Not Others

Many people around the UK drink alcohol moderately and never become addicted to it. The same can be said of some individuals who have experimented with illegal drugs. However, there are thousands of people in Britain struggling every day with addiction to these substances. So why do some people become addicted while others do not?

The reality is that anyone can become addicted. Addiction is not something that happens to just one type of person. It affects men, women, young, old, and those from all cultures, religious persuasion, political leanings, sexual orientation, etc. It does not discriminate. Nevertheless, there are a number of factors that are said to increase the risk of developing an addiction. Below are a few examples.


It has recently been suggested that family genes can make some individuals more disposed to addiction. But that does not necessarily mean that because a person has a parent who suffered from addiction that he or she will too. It is generally accepted that there is more than one gene involved that can make a person susceptible to addiction. In some cases, an individual may have the genes but these are never activated.

According to scientists, genes are responsible for fifty per cent of the risk of developing alcoholism and seventy-five per cent of the risk of developing a drug addiction. And evidence suggests that children of parents with alcoholism are four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves.


The earlier a person experiments with drugs or alcohol then the more likely they are to develop an addiction. Many people who have suffered from addiction started using drugs or drinking alcohol before the age of twenty-one. Young people who dabble with drugs and alcohol in their early teens have a much higher chance of developing an addiction than those who do not.


Where a person grows up can play a role in their risk of developing an addiction. For example, if drug addiction and alcoholism are commonplace in the area in which a person lives, this individual is more likely to try drugs and alcohol and, therefore, more liable to become addicted than a person who has never had any exposure to these substances. Other factors such as relationships with family and friends, quality of life, stress, economic status, and peer pressure can all increase the risk as well.

Mental Health Problems

Studies have shown that those with mental health problems – such as anxiety, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder – have a much greater risk of becoming addicted to substances such as drugs or alcohol.


Traumatic events can increase a person’s risk of developing an addiction. Those who have experienced trauma in their lives may turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. Events such as bereavement, domestic violence, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or living with an addicted parent can all increase the risk. People who have had more than one traumatic event in their lives are even more likely to be affected by addiction.

Although the above are factors that increase a person’s risk of developing an addiction, they do not necessarily mean it will happen. Many individuals have all of the above but do not go on to use drugs or drink alcohol.

What to Do If You Have a Problem

If you are worried about the amount of alcohol you are drinking, or find that you are taking too many illegal or prescription drugs, contact Addiction Helper today. Our team of expert advisors can give you the information required about the current treatments available. We can help you overcome your problems and will put you in touch with a suitable provider based on your circumstances. Call us today for advice and support.

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