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Drug Addictions Causes & Risks


The cause of drug abuse and dependence is unknown, although there are a variety of theories. One theory holds that there may be a genetic component that predisposes a person toward using and abusing drugs. Another theory is that drug abuse is a learned behavior and that people begin to use drugs by copying the behavior of those around them. Medical professionals have not been able to target a specific cause.

Brain chemicals may alter the user's perception of the drug's effects. Long-term drug use changes brain function and may reinforce the desire to keep using drugs regardless of the consequences.

Chemical Release in Brain

Drugs stimulate unnecessary chemical release in the brain. Used long-term drugs may actually change brain function.
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

Risk factors include:

  • Sex: male
  • Age: youth
  • Family members with substance abuse problems
  • Early antisocial behavior
  • Social and peer pressure
  • Stress
  • Associating with people who abuse drugs
  • Easy access to drugs
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorders

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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