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Who Can Become Addicted?

two women begin addiction treatment

“Just as some people can drink in moderation while others dare not go anywhere near alcohol because one drink inevitably means a great many drinks, so too can some people eat or shop or have sex or gamble and feel satisfied relatively quickly,” says Barbara O’Dair, author of “Compulsions Without the Chemicals” for TIME Magazine. “So what is it that makes such basic parts of living so fraught for so many?” Addictions are tricky. We know this. This is why Arbor Behavioral Healthcare doesn’t have one single program for all of our clients. We know that while one program might work wonders for one person, it might not be so effective for others. Thus, it’s also tricky to decode who may become addicted. Continue reading to learn more about who can become addicted and how we can help.   

6% of the U.S. Populations Ages 12 and Over at Risk

“An estimated 6% of the U.S. populations ages 12 and over meet the criteria for a substance-use disorder” of alcohol or an illicit substance. This doesn’t include nicotine or behavioral addictions. “If you add all of the individuals in 12-Step programs, residential facilities and therapy offices for non-substance addictive behaviors, plus the undiagnosed and the treatment-averse, the populations of people battling addiction would likely swell to many more millions,” says O’Dair.   

Multifactorial in Origin

One factor is “surely” genetic, says O’Dair. “Researchers estimate that genetics play anywhere from a 40% to 60% role in a person’s vulnerability to addiction, even though no single gene has ever been found – or ever will be found – that will be pinpointed as the cause of addiction. That’s just not how genetics works.” This is because you may “carry a gene that predisposes you to [a disease], but if certain chemical, environmental or experiential factors don’t activate the epigenome, the underlying gene might do you no harm.”   Once a certain gene that predisposes you to addiction may be activated, they could influence a wide range of behaviors. This is why many people with addictions are “cross-addicted,” says O’Dair. A person may be addicted to alcohol because they used it to calm their nerves from an original gambling addiction. Soon, they also became addicted to alcohol.    Temperament, O’Diar says, may also play a role in who becomes addicted as well. “People who like risk may jump out of airplanes or ride roller coasts – and may similarly like the high-stakes thrill of getting rich or going broke on a single hand of poker,” she explains. “Risk-averse people find none of this appealing; that might mean a life of fewer thrills, but it also may mean fewer disasters.”  

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you with whatever you are dealing with. Anyone can become addicted, so we are here for anyone that is ready and willing to change their life. Call us today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you!