What factors increase the likehood that someone who uses recreational drugs will become dependent? Please provide examples if possible.

Expert Answers
jennifer-taubenheim eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Risk factors

These factors increase the likelihood of your having an addiction to a legal or an illegal drug:

  • Personality. If you have another psychological problem, such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, you're more likely to become dependent on drugs. Children who exhibit aggression, a lack of self-control and a difficult temperament may be at greater risk of drug addiction.
  • Social environment. Particularly for young people, peer pressure is a strong factor in starting to use and abuse drugs. A lack of attachment with your parents may increase the risk of addiction, as can a lack of parental supervision.
  • Anxiety, depression and loneliness. Using drugs can become a way of coping with these painful psychological feelings.
  • Genetics. Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves the effects of many genes. If you have family members with alcohol or drug problems, you're at greater risk of developing a drug addiction.
  • Type of drug. Some drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, more quickly result in physical addiction than do others.