How Does Environment Affect Addiction and Recovery?

The disease of addiction arises from a complex interplay between genetics and environmental factors. A person’s environment may be a factor in influencing whether or not they experiment with drugs at a young age, and environmental factors can influence one’s ease or difficulty with recovering from addiction. Addiction is characterized by a lack of control over drugs and alcohol, but the initial decision to take drugs is often a choice we have– and it is a choice that is strongly determined by our environment.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists a series of major risk factors that can influence one’s likelihood of developing addiction. Aggressive behavior in childhood, lack of parental supervision, poor social skills, drug experimentation, availability of drugs at school, and community poverty are all factors that can contribute to addiction. Conversely, there are a variety of protective factors that can limit one’s likelihood of using drugs, including good self-control, parental monitoring and support, positive relationships, good grades, school anti-drug policies, and access to neighborhood resources.
Home and family life are major environmental factors. A child growing up in a family where the parents or other family members use drugs or alcohol can greatly increase a child’s risk of abusing substances at a young age. Similarly, a person’s friends and peer group can be a strong influence on whether or not they experiment with drugs. According to the University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center, “The single biggest contributing factor to drug abuse risk is having friends who engage in the problem behavior. If an individual’s friends have favorable attitudes towards drug use, this can also increase risk.” When a person uses drugs at a young age, their risk of developing addiction increases dramatically.
When a person is attempting to recovery from addiction, environment can also play a major role in their ability to maintain sobriety. Reentering an environment where drugs are commonplace or maintaining friendships with others who are still using drugs can make it more difficult to stay sober. According to the NIDA, “Science has taught us that stress cues linked to the drug use (such as people, places, things, and moods), and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse.” Overcoming environmental cues requires the development of devenses and coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. Therefore, continuing to receive car after treatment and engaging in a recovery program can be highly effective to maintain one’s sobriety.

Your story doesn’t have to be trapped in the painful cycle of addiction. You can begin building a brighter future in sobriety by seeking help today. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed Substance Abuse Disorder and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a variety of highly effective individualized treatment programs, including a Transitional Treatment program that may continue for as long as the client requires services and until he or she has an exceptionally solid foundation in recovery. For more information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777