An astonishing $100 billion is spent annually on alcohol in the United States. That is about 4 times the annual budget for a country like Thailand. In 2013 (the latest year statistics are available) over $2 billion was spent on advertising alcohol in the United States. Alcohol is definitely a big business in the USA. And these statistics do not even include any other recreational drug, or tobacco.
People use alcohol and drugs initially because they can give a certain amount of pleasure and thrill. These substances are also part of socializing in many cultures. But, as the Four Circles Recovery Center warns, some people have a predisposition to become rapidly and completely addicted to alcohol and drugs. This can lead to a downward spiral that is devastating. Especially for young people.
Researchers have come up with some clues to what makes a person more inclined to addiction than another:
- Over the past few decades, research has proven that addiction is not a matter of weak willpower or a lack of morals. It appears that the chemical reactions of an addicted brain are quite different from those of one that is not addicted. This explains why one person may be able to take a drink every so often for pleasure, while another needs to drink on a daily basis in order to function properly. Heredity is a major risk factor for addiction. In fact, scientists estimate that40 to 60 percentof a person’s risk for addiction is based on genetics.
- Environmental factors can also pose risks to a potential addict. For children and teens, a lack of parental involvement can lead to risk taking or experimentation with alcohol or drugs. Also, young people who experience abuse or neglect from parents may begin to use drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions. Peer pressure is also a strong element in developing an addictive personality.
- People who are high in sensation-seeking may be more likely to try alcohol and drugs, searching for that new exciting experience, but if they are low in impulsivity they may only use a couple of times, or only when they are fairly certain there is a small risk for negative consequences. Similarly, if there is a low tendency for forming habits then most likely there is a more limited risk for developing compulsive behaviors and continuing an action even if it is no longer pleasurable, or you’ve experienced negative outcomes as a result of it.
- Another major sign of an addictive personality comes in the form of social alienation and loneliness. By flitting from one social group to another, or constantly jumping between hobbies, people sometimes replace deep, lasting bonds with transient and short-lived connections. Obviously, other factors play an important role when determining how social life unfolds, but adhering to a slower, more reasoned approach to impulses and commitments is the best way to shed this persona and let a sincerely true personality shine through the shadows of a potential addictive personality.