How Environment, Genes, and Gender Affect Substance Abuse

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A lot of people fall victim to substance abuse these days, and unfortunately there are several reasons why this happens. Too often, otherwise good and responsible people begin abusing drugs and other substances, which is one reason why modern society finds such habits so disturbing. How can it be that someone who has a head squared firmly on his or her shoulders becomes a dependent on harmful substances? It turns out that there are three leading factors that contribute to this outcome.

Gender Aspects

Substance abuse is not something that is necessarily more prevalent in men than in women, or vice versa, but gender does have a determining factor in what type of addiction the person experiences. The gender identification of a person is what structures his or her general behaviors, so it only makes sense that this fact would apply to the substance choice of abusers. Although there are exceptions to every rule, men seem to experience substance abuse through the use of hard drugs while women tend to opt for substances that lie in a more cosmetic and less recreational realm.

Environmental Dynamics

What sort of environment you live in plays a huge role in how and why substance abuse might take place in your life. The stressors of said environment could ultimately be the determining factors for what type of substance you abuse and with what kind of frequency. Highly stressful environments, and those that cause injury or harm, are most likely to render some sort of substance use issue over time. However, living in low-stress environments does not make you immune to substance abuse since there are several other relevant factors.

Genetic Factors

There is more to substance abuse than how stressed out you are or whether you are a male or female. If you come from a family that experiences higher than average rates of such issues, then you run a greater chance of developing it yourself, especially under highly stressful situations. For example, those who come from families with a history of alcohol abuse are more likely to become alcoholics than those who do not.

In short, substance abuse begins in the very genes that make us who we are. Adding stressful environmental factors to genes sometimes only worsens an already delicate situation. Depending on your gender, you will likely deal with abuse issues in different ways.