There are many factors that put a person at higher risk for opioid abuse, including having a family member who’s an addict, being on an opioid prescription, or having co-occurring mental health disorders. While these factors may increase your risk of addiction, addiction is not certain and can still be avoided. 

To learn more about the factors that make people prone to developing an opioid addiction, keep reading. And if you’re looking for treatment options for opioid addiction, we’re here to help. 

Genetic Predisposition 

Genetic predisposition is one of the greater risk factors for developing any kind of addiction. Because addiction can run in the family, children or relatives of addicts often worry that they’re going to struggle with the same issues their family has. While this is occasionally true, being proactive can help to reduce your risk. If you know that you’re at a higher risk for developing an opioid addiction, it may be easier to avoid it entirely. However, this greatly depends on the person and the other factors that influence their risk. 

Being on a Prescription 

Many people who use opioids started out on a prescription. Opioids like Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin are all highly addictive, dangerous drugs that doctors often prescribe for pain. Patients often develop a tolerance to these drugs quickly, meaning that their dosage may be increased frequently. When the prescription runs out, they’re left with withdrawal symptoms and nowhere to go for help. Because of this, many prescription opioid users often develop an addiction. 

High Dose

Those who are started on a high dose may be at a higher risk, as they’ll develop a tolerance for opioids much faster. These types of patients usually endure chronic pain or are recovering from a traumatic injury. It can be extremely difficult to avoid taking opioids if you’re afraid of developing an addiction when you suffer extreme pain without them. 

Prolonged Use

Those who are on opioid prescriptions for a long period of time will also have trouble quitting. When opioids are used frequently and consistently for a long period of time, dependency occurs. Patients who are dependent on opioids will have a hard time quitting if their doctor doesn’t work with them to properly taper the medication. 

History of Mental Health Disorders

Many people addicted to alcohol or substances struggle with mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety. Those with untreated mental health disorders are at high risk for addiction, with people often turning to drugs or alcohol when they don’t have healthy coping mechanisms. Alcohol is the most commonly used “coping mechanism” amongst untreated mentally ill people, but those with mental health disorders are also at a higher risk of becoming dependent on an opioid prescription or abusing opioids on the street. 

History of Alcohol or Substance Abuse

Those who have previously struggled with alcohol or substance abuse are also at a higher risk of developing an addiction to opioids. Those with a previous history of addiction should avoid taking prescription opioids. Unfortunately, if the pain is bad enough, it might be unavoidable. Those who previously had an addiction may also struggle with saying no to an offering of street drugs. 

Seek Treatment for Opioid Abuse

If you or someone you love is at high risk for opioid abuse or has already begun abusing opioids, it’s time to speak to someone. Those at high risk can help diminish their risk by working with a counselor or therapist if they’re concerned about potentially using. Those who have already abused opioids or continue to do so would benefit from more intensive treatment like inpatient or outpatient. To learn more about Asheville Recovery Center’s treatment options and how we can help you or a loved one get sober, call an addiction specialist today.

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