Why Some People Become Easily Addicted and Some Not

male alcoholic drinking brandy at home

Why Some People Become Easily Addicted and Some Not

Not everyone is created equal. Some people are more easily addicted than others, whether it’s substance addiction or behavioral addiction. Anything you abuse or do repeatedly because you’re obsessed with it and its rewards can become your new normal as far as your brain is concerned, but certain people get more easily swallowed up by their dependence than others. Certain people can take up smoking or drinking and then just as easily leave them alone while others end up falling down the slippery slope and downward spiral of addiction after that first sip, hit, or dose. Addicts are people who’d sooner give up breathing than stop using their preferred drug or drink because they can’t help themselves.

Quitting drug use cold turkey takes more than just good intentions or a strong will. You’ll instead need therapy, rehab, detox, anti-relapse medications, doctors, therapists, and 12-step programs galore. Drugs can mess with your brain and change it in ways that make quitting drug use quite difficult, even for those who wish to quit.

Who Gets Addicted from Drugs Specifically?

Who can get more easily addicted to drugs and who can get less easily addicted to drugs? That depends mostly on genes but the environment can also play a factor such that if you abuse drugs enough times even the most resistant of people can develop an addiction. The genetic lottery isn’t the only determining factor and upbringing can curb one’s “enthusiasm” for drugs. More to the point, a person’s propensity for addiction is akin to poker.

Poker is both a game of chance and skill. Comparatively, drug addiction is equal parts genetics (which is determined by luck and beyond your ability to control) and environment (which you have the power to change or influence like your skill in playing poker).

  • Addicts and Dopamine Abnormalities: Addicts have dopamine systems that are underactive. They suffer from a reduced capacity for pleasure in their daily lives and can only experience pleasure from drug usage. It’s because their brain receptors have become depleted from neurotransmitter overstimulation through drugs. According to researchers, there’s a link between addictive tendencies prior to addiction development and hereditary dopamine system abnormalities.
  • Genetic Predisposition to Addiction: Speaking of genetics, the disease model mentioned above shows that some people are likelier to become addicts because they’re unable to feel satisfied or rewarded by life through normal routes such as work, friendships, and romance. They’re mostly bored and drugs are way more intense compared to normal stimulation and natural highs. This makes them susceptible to drug addiction even before they take their first injection, smoke, sip, hit, toke, or dosage.
  • A Hunger for Stimuli and Thrills: There is a link between addiction and people who are thrill-seekers or are hungry for stimuli. Dopamine or neurotransmitter abnormalities can be rooted from a lack of social inhibition present in some addicts. Alcoholics and junkies might even ignore social conventions just to get their regular dosage of their preferred substance. For example, a drunkard can end up drinking before noon or without waiting for the sun to come down. They might also not limit their drinks to only three per sitting just to get their need for stimuli satisfied.

Modern Drug Addiction Models

Young student suffeting from drug addiction

Just like any other sickness or disorder of your mind and body, various factors or triggers can lead to the disorder or condition known as substance abuse and dependence, otherwise known as alcohol or drug addiction. The most common causes of addiction involve the following models that ultimately replaced the moralistic model that insists that moral degeneracy has led to one becoming an addict, thus blaming the victim for his own condition.

  • Disease Model: The disease theory or model of addiction is all about attributing addiction propensity to genetics and the addiction itself as a disease. It alleges that there are people who suffer from a genetic propensity to all or some addictive substances. This biological vulnerability results in an addiction disease wherein some people are more predisposed to than others. It’s like in the case of some people being more likely to suffer from cancer or diabetes because it’s in their family history or they have it in their genes to be more likely to fall into the addiction trap. Regardless of morality, some are likelier to turn into addicts than others who use the same amount of drugs or use them just as often.

    Disease model addiction is something that should be dealt with via dual diagnosis or on a case-by-case basis. Every individual case should be treated differently depending on the circumstances. This is because genetic variance means certain people are more or less vulnerable to becoming addicts even if they’re take the same doses at a given period of time. Then again, you should also take into consideration the person’s environment on top of his genetics because enablers as well as the bad influence of drug addict friends and family can work hand-in-hand with genes to produce an addict. Your personal traits can also speed up or slow down the addiction process, hence the existence of addictive personalities.
  • Reinforcement Model: Speaking of one’s environment, there’s also the reinforcement model of addiction. This addiction type or theory purports that you can learn how to become an addict or you can abuse drugs enough times to turn into an addict. This model also claims that drug use is reinforced through repetition. Addicts can repeat certain actions or use drugs over and over to make themselves feel good, resulting to them being addicted. They might also chase that first feeling of elation or drug high even as the body desensitizes them from drug use as a sort of initial defense mechanism against addiction. You’re supposed to get discouraged by something after repeated exposure.

    It’s like when you get sick of eating the same food or listening to the same song over and over. However, the reinforcement model alleges that instead of discouragement, desensitized would-be addicts will simply up their dosage levels in order to experience the same high, until they’re addicted and/or overdosed with the given drug. As far as the nature versus nurture debate is concerned, this model is firmly on the nurture side of things. All the same, genetics can skew reinforcement results, such that addiction-resistant people need more reinforcement before they can become addicts while addiction-susceptible people need less.

What Is Drug Addiction Anyway?

What is drug addiction or substance abuse? Before claiming what causes drug addiction and how you can someone turn into an addict, you need to be able to define what drug addiction is first. It’s known as a chronic disease that involves seeking drug use in a compulsive way that’s difficult to control, despite the ever-growing list of consequences or harm that doing so causes. When you’ve become a drug addict, you can’t help yourself in your continued drug use at all. In other words:

  • Voluntary at First: Drug use is voluntary at first. They’re mere drug users who use drugs recreationally or for the sake of fixing some ailment, usually pain related. However, you can have too much of a good or bad thing, and drugs are certainly not an exception. To be more specific, your brain’s neuropathic patterns and overall chemistry gets altered to accommodate your formative type of vice or bad habit. Most anything you do constantly and consistently will become a routine that’s etched right into your brain’s synapses when it’s done enough times.
  • Brain Changes Induced by Drug Use: Brain neural pattern changes happen once you use drugs regularly enough. Normally, it’s a gradual process that takes as long if not more so to change back to your former normal before you started abusing drugs. The longer you abuse drugs the harder it is to change back to “normal”. However, certain people are more genetically predisposed to drug use than others. These changes challenge your self-control and interfere with your ability to resist the urge to consume more substances. It’s because regular drug abuse makes your mind more used to having the drug around as though that’s your default setting.
  • These Alterations Tend to Persist: These changes in your mind will tend to linger, particularly when you’re using drugs that directly alter your brain chemistry and reward system so that you’re both physically and psychologically addicted to whatever substance you’re abusing. Addiction is serious business and so is rehab. Recovering from being addicted in rehabilitation centers like Lanna Rehab requires you to undo all these changes in your neural pathways by replacing them with more constructive hobbies so that you have something to fill in the void of using drugs. This is your key to sobriety.
  • A Recurring Disease or Disorder: Addiction is a tricky disease or disorder because of relapse. Alcoholism and drug addiction is difficult to treat because you tend to relapse to them after treatment. People recovering from these addictions have a higher risk for relapse or returning to old habits even after they’ve stopped taking such drugs or substances for years or decades. It’s why aftercare services are important when it comes to shopping for rehab centers. They should have aftercare included since they can make or break the success of your rehabilitation after your rehab graduation of sorts.
  • The Dangers of Relapse and How to Handle It: Relapse isn’t unusual among drug addicts. Once you become addicted it’s hard to go back to sobriety because of all the substance abuse you’ve undergone. Alas, some people are genetically or environmentally inclined towards addiction more than others, such that even though they haven’t been abusing drugs for so long they can easily become addicted, such that it’s easier becoming addicted than undoing their addiction and returning to sobriety. Don’t worry though. Just because you’re relapsed doesn’t mean your treatment hasn’t worked. It just means it’s another hurdle for you to overcome.
  • Addiction Should Be Treated Like a Disease: Addiction shouldn’t involve victim-blaming or treating it as something that requires discipline or self-control. Rather, like other chronic health conditions, addiction treatment should be ongoing and dealt with using understanding and patience. The rehab center of your choice like Lanna should be able to adjust your treatment plan based on your dual diagnosis or if you have any preexisting conditions exacerbating your addiction. This customized treatment should be modified based on your ever-changing needs as you recover from your condition.

Risk Factors for Developing Addiction


The factors that separate the ones with addiction tendencies and the ones who are addiction resistant are mostly comprised of the nature versus nurture categories. To be more specific, those who don’t have a tendency for addiction either have a good and solid upbringing or lack genetic predisposition towards addiction, sometimes both at the same time. Those who are predisposed to becoming addicts tend to deal with genetic or environmental issues that make it easier for them to develop their addiction. Usually a combination of both can turn a sober person into an addict.

Indeed, people of any economic status, race, age, or sex can go through substance abuse and dependence in light of the following risk factors.

  • Family History: Your risk of developing addiction grows if you have drug addict relatives in your family. You can either inherit their genes that make them predisposed to becoming addicts or you can live with parents who provide a toxic environment that can lead you to turn into an addict by reinforcement.
  • Mental Health Problems: Mental health problems can make your drug addiction worse or serve as a symptom/complication of your condition. This is the reason why Lanna Rehab and other centers offer dual diagnosis services that take into consideration issues such as PTSD, ADHD, and depression on top of substance abuse and dependence.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences: Trauma from your childhood can turn you into an addict. You can use drugs in order to cope with your traumatic memories. The experience can be in the form of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse. Using and abusing drugs serves as your way of escaping your adverse childhood experiences.
  • Social or Peer Pressure: This is an environmental factor of the reinforcement kind. Your peers can pressure you into using drugs because your everyday environment makes drug use normal instead of taboo and forbidden. You’re more vulnerable to become a junkie or alcoholic if you’re friends or have family who are also junkies and alcoholics. You might drink beer or smoke marijuana in order to fit in with your social circle.
  • Lack of Family Support: One way to avoid addiction is to have a strong family support system. Your parents and siblings as well as relatives can keep you from turning to drugs and alcohol to compensate for what’s lacking in your life. A loving family in the form of your children and spouse can compel you to avoid drugs altogether in order to not ruin your bonds with them as well.
  • Early Drug Use: Using drugs at an early age can make you an addict later on in adulthood. To be more specific, using drugs before puberty or your preteens can make you more susceptible to using drugs as a teenager or adult even if you don’t have genetic predisposition to drug usage because you’re using drugs during the formative years in your life. Your addiction risk increases the younger you start using drugs.
  • Using Highly Addictive Drugs: There are also drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine that mess with your dopamine or endorphin supply in your brain, making them highly addictive by nature. They make the act of consuming coke or meth rewarding in and of itself, leaving you feeling like you’ve climbed a mountain or won the lottery. Even those who are resistant genetically and live in a drug-free environment can succumb to addiction thanks to using and abusing particularly strong drugs.

To Summarize

An addict is someone who’s attached to the drugs or alcoholic drinks they’re consuming because it’s become their new “normal” the same way sober people view sobriety as normal. Without regular consumption of drugs, their body and brain rebels against them, forcing them to find ways to get their next fit like there’s another aspect of their subconscious staging a mutiny against them or something. Nevertheless, why do certain people become addicted more easily than others? How can you or others become addicts from the start and can anyone truly have more of a propensity to turn into an addict compared to those around them.

Many people don’t understand the reasons why or how others can become alcoholics or drug addicts. They might wave of addicts and their addiction as the result of weak willpower or low moral principles. These people also think erroneously that addicts can stop using drugs if they choose to but won’t because they’re too lazy or lack integrity to do so. This is misinformed. Instead, drug addiction as a whole should be treated as a complex disease, such that addicts should be blamed for falling victim for their condition. People should stop victim-blaming addicts the same way you won’t blame someone for having cancer or catching the flu.

Lanna Rehab Will Help Addicts Get Back on Their Feet

So you’re down on your luck because you’ve become addicted to meth, coke, or heroin. Maybe instead you’ve gotten attached to marijuana, claiming it’s used for medical purposes like anxiety but you’ve actually been using it recreationally all this time. Or perhaps you’ve simply turned into an alcoholic. Never fear or fret, there’s a way out through Lanna Rehab in Thailand. Availing of a medical or rehab tourism package from the clinic in order to end up at a secluded center with a resort-like setting for your wellness vacation.

They’ll assist you in recovering from your addiction and getting back to your feet. Just call them at their 24/7 hotline for more details and to avail of their cutting-edge drug and alcohol rehab facilities. Their hotline is available 24/7. Call now!

Martin Peters

Martin Peters has a BA (Hons) Dip HE Dip RN CSAT III and is the Group Program Director Lanna Healthcare. He is a Registered Nurse and Certified Substance Abuse Therapist working in the mental health field since 1994; Martin has had a wide range of experience in management and supervisory roles within established healthcare systems, and has provided consultancy services to a number of private and public sector organizations in the UK and Asia in terms of management, policy writing, accreditation and recruitment. Martin’s addictions experience has been in developing inpatient services in Thailand since 2009, both clinical and operational. He has been instrumental in expanding and developing a non 12 step inpatient treatment centre and opening a further inpatient centre with a 12 step approach, implementing KIPU Electronic Records, strengthening hospital partnerships, introducing a Scholarship for students under the Masters in Addiction Studies Program at The ASEAN Institute for Health Development and working with an international accreditation body. Martin has also been a speaker at several international conferences on addiction, including ASEAN conferences and has also guest lectured at Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Sarghoda (Pakistan) Institute of Medical Sciences (Pakistan) and has been a representative on the CARF Standards Advisory Committee for 2016.In 2015. Martin became a Co-Founder of Lanna Healthcare, launching Lanna Rehab in March 2016 and opening Jintra in January 2018. In June of 2018, Martin was involved in the merger of Lanna and DARA, becoming Thailand's biggest private licensed operator. Martin is currently a Joint and Asia Health Co Ltd Owner Operator of Lanna Healthcare Co Ltd, which under its umbrella manages Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Jintra Rehab in Chiang Mai and DARA Rehab in Koh Chang - all Thailand MoPH Licensed Addiction Facilities providing world-class treatment in Thailand.

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