How Quickly Can a Person Become Addicted?
The question of how quickly a person can become addicted to a drug is a difficult question to answer. There are many factors that contribute to how quickly one becomes addicted including genetics, age, gender, environment, and how these factors might interact with one another. Some people may use drugs once and become addicted while others may use multiple times and not show signs of addiction. Some people have certain sensitivities to drugs which might make them more vulnerable to addiction.
All individuals react differently the first time a substance is used. Some like the feelings associated with using a drug and continue to use so they can continue to experience these positive feelings. Some may use a drug once and not enjoy the effects, therefore, they will not use the drug again. It all depends on your biological make up.
You are more likely to become addicted to a drug as an adult if you start using the drug at an early age. When children and adolescents use drugs, the chemicals alter their brains and bodies, which could mean increased susceptibility to becoming addicted faster in adulthood. If you have a family history of substance abuse, escalation to addiction can occur faster than those without a family history.
The environment can play a role in how quickly a person becomes addicted. If you live in an environment where drugs are readily available and easily accessible, you might develop an addiction more quickly. If you live with a person or persons who abuse drugs, you could develop an addiction at a faster rate simply due to exposure to the drugs on a consistent basis.
Individuals with mental health disorders can develop an addiction more rapidly than those without mental health disorders. Some symptoms of mental health disorders are unpleasant and many will take drugs to alleviate these symptoms. An addiction can develop if more drugs are used to alleviate uncomfortable feelings.
Some drugs are believed to be “more addictive” than others, which can expedite an addiction to the drug. Methamphetamines and heroin are two such drugs. Many times, these drugs are injected and can create an instant euphoric feeling leaving the person wanting more.
One thing to remember is that addiction is a process. A person may want to use the drug again after their first use, but this does not mean they are addicted. The process of an addiction depends on tolerance and how long it takes the brain to adapt to the amount used.