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Continuing on the risk factors of alcohol and drug addiction:

• Mental disorders: People who suffer from anxiety disorders or depression are often more likely to become substance dependent.

• Genetics: Research has shown that the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs can be inherited, therefore, if there is a history of substance dependency in you family, then there is a greater risk of becoming dependent yourself.

• Drug types: Drugs can be smoked or injected into veins, these two factors increases the risk as the result are a powerful and quick ‘high’ achieved with these methods. These two methods reach the brain quicker than drugs taken orally. However, this sort of ‘high’ also fades quicker therefore; a person will then have a desire to use more to regain that ‘high’ they have achieved. It often starts with a few and then leads to dependence on the substance used.

It has been researched and found that people with a parent or relative with an addiction are at greater risk, in as much as four times more likely to become dependant on harmful substances compared to a person who does not have a genetic history in their family.

It must be born in mind that people who do not have a genetic history can still become dependent on substances. This varies from person to person.

How to reduce your risk of addiction, some warning signs:

• Do you crave drugs or alcohol?

• If you are not using drugs or alcohol, do you experience withdrawal symptoms? These can include sweating, nausea, anxiety, and often feeling shaky.

• If you find after you have taken one drink, you crave more and before you know it you’ve taken more than you anticipated.

• You find you need that buzz to keep you feeling good.

• Family members or friends complain about your behavior.

• You have attempted to stop but find you can’t.

There are millions of people who are addicted to alcohol, drugs and smoking. There are places you can attend to help you overcome your addictions. The first step is to admit you have a problem. The next step is to seek help and it’s there and available.

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