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Why do some people become addicted to drugs while others don't? No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk for addiction.
The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person's risk for addiction.
Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence risk for drug use and addiction. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction.
This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.
Can drug addiction be cured or prevented? However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.
People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients.
Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction.
Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking.
Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use.
Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction. Points to Remember Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.
This is why drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop. Relapse indicates the need for more or different treatment.
Most drugs affect the brain's reward circuit by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy activities, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. Over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, which reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance.
They might take more of the drug, trying to achieve the same dopamine high. No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors influences risk for addiction. Drug addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.
More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable.Jideonwo is a storyteller, using the research and evidence on human flourishing to inspire new narratives about politics, markets, faith, identity and society in Africa.
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