Causes and Effects of Substance Abuse
Cause effect

Causes and Effects of Substance Abuse

There are many reasons why a person may turn to the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. The following are:

Genetic: Researchers have discovered a set of genes that can make an individual vulnerable to developing a substance abuse problem. Given this information, if a person has a first degree relative who has struggled with substance abuse, addiction, and/or chemical dependency, that individual is at risk of also struggling with similar challenges at some point in his or her lifetime.

Environmental: In addition to genetic influences, the environment and places one spends most of his or her time can have an impact on whether an individual will come to abuse substances. For example, those who are exposed to substance abuse from an early age are vulnerable to also abusing substances if they lack effective coping skills and proper social support. Additional, if the individual has a history of experiencing trauma or associates him or herself with others who also abuse drugs and/or alcohol there is a higher risk for substance abuse to occur at some point.

Risk Factors:

  • Possessing an impulsive personality
  • Possessing a novelty-seeking temperament
  • Personal history of trauma
  • Family history of substance abuse, addition, and/or chemical dependency
  • Family history of mental health concerns
  • Personal history of mental health concerns
  • Lacking coping skills
  • Having inadequate support system
  • Peer pressure or the belief that drug abuse is not a bad thing
  • Stress, including stress from relationships, finances, medical illness, work, school and other stressors
  • Brain Injury of defects
  • Environmental toxins or poor nutrition that hinders brain development
  • Cultural expectations or desire to fit in

Substance abuse can influence a person’s physical and mental health as well as social relationships, family, work, school and quality of life. The potential effects of substance abuse include:

  • Damage to organs, such as the heart, brain and liver
  • Diseases, such as heart disease, HIV and cancer
  • Development of other mental illnesses
  • Permanent changes to hormonal or nervous system
  • Damage to social network or relationships
  • Legal troubles