The Top Risk Factors For Opioid Addiction

Over 2.1 million people in the United States suffer from opioid use disorder. Across the country, this disease has wreaked havoc on communities, families, and individuals.

12/21/20225 min read

Over 2.1 million people in the United States suffer from opioid use disorder. Across the country, this disease has wreaked havoc on communities, families, and individuals. Even while anyone can acquire an opioid use disorder, some risk factors make someone more susceptible to being addicted.

The Following are The Seven Most Common Risk Factors for Opioid Use Disorder:
  • The manner opioids are consumed is referred to as the method of intake.

  • Genetic propensity - Your genes and your family's history of substance abuse.

  • Age - Groups of people who are more likely to acquire an opioid use disorder as they get older.

  • Past habits - Substance misuse in the past.

  • Where we reside, our upbringing, our life experiences, our social network, and environmental circumstances are all social elements.

  • Mental health diseases and concerns that contribute to the development of opioid use disorders are referred to as psychological factors.

  • Chronic pain problems - Medical conditions that make people more vulnerable to developing an opioid use disorder.

  • Let's take a closer look at each of these seven opioid use disorder risk factors to see what they are and what they signify for you.

Consumption Method

When it comes to forecasting the likelihood of developing an opioid use disorder (OUD), the speed and frequency with which opioids enter the brain may be more relevant than the amount consumed. One of the most important risk factors for prescription drug misuse is the way opioids are consumed.

With continued use of opioids, people develop a tolerance to them. Individuals may vary their mode of ingestion as their tolerance for opioids builds in order to attain stronger and faster effects. This is accomplished by snorting, injecting, or smoking opioids rather than taking them as prescribed.

Snorted and injected opioids, unlike eaten tablets, bypass the digestive system and reach the circulation directly. Injections are especially dangerous since the symptoms occur quickly and all at once. Abuse and overdosing are more likely as a result of this. The quickest way to the brain is to smoke.

The impacts are rapid, powerful, and fleeting. When smoked, the opioid's euphoric effects dissipate as rapidly as they appear. As a result, smoking opioids tends to increase the frequency with which they are used.

Predispositions that are passed down via the generations
A person's genetic heritage and family history are two of the most prevalent risk factors for opioid use disorder. However, the research of genetic predisposition in the context of OUD is still a work in progress. Despite this, persons with OUD frequently have a familial history of substance abuse. When assessing an individual's risk of getting an OUD, genetic predispositions might be used as a tool. According to studies, a person's genes predict 40 to 60% of their predisposition to addiction.

The age of a person is typically a factor in their predisposition to opiate usage and abuse. Individuals aged 25 to 34 years old were particularly prone to opiate addiction and overdose as of 2019. Furthermore, two out of every three persons with OUD claim to have used opioids for the first time before the age of 25. Teenagers and young adults are more likely than any other age group to try, use, misuse, and abuse opioids.

Habits of the Past

A person's history of substance addiction is one of the risk factors for opioid use disorder. Genetic predispositions, as previously stated, might raise a person's chances of developing a substance misuse disorder. A history of drug use disorder, on the other hand, implies a higher risk of future disordered use. Despite the fact that past behaviours do not guarantee future misuse, they are frequently considered a risk factor.

Past substance addictions can help predict a person's susceptibility to comparable substances in the future. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), around 80% of those who misuse heroin did so after misusing prescription opioids. Data shows that using prescription opioids has a high risk of developing into a heroin addiction.

Factors of Society

The risk of having OUD might be exacerbated by social and environmental variables. If you reside in an area where prescription and illicit opioids are readily available, you are more likely to be exposed to them and use them.
The following situations are examples of other environmental risk factors:

  • Growing up in a home where drug and alcohol addiction was accepted as normal

  • Belonging to a drug or alcohol-abusing peer group

  • Having easy access to substances that are addictive

  • One of the many risk factors for OUD is emotional trauma. The following factors may raise one's susceptibility to opioid use:

  • Abuse of any kind, whether it's sexual, emotional, or physical

  • Divorce or the death of a loved one

Factors of Psychology

OUD susceptibility might be increased by mental health conditions and psychosocial concerns. One of the most prevalent symptoms of recognized mental health issues is physical pain.

Opioids are sometimes administered to address this condition. Adults with mood and anxiety disorders are more likely to be prescribed opioids and to use them long-term, according to studies. The following are some of the most prevalent mental health issues encountered in Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT):

  • Anxiety and mood disorders are two of the most common mental illnesses.

  • Schizophrenia

  • Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects people in

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a type of depression that

  • Disorders of conduct

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety illness that occurs

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Chronic Pain Syndromes

Chronic pain is a major risk factor for developing OUD. Opioids have long been recognized as a safe and effective therapy option for moderate to severe pain. Some opioids are prescribed to manage acute pain, such as that experienced by postoperative patients.

These prescriptions are only used when needed and are only valid for a limited time. They aren't meant to be long-term treatments. Long-term opioid prescriptions have traditionally been used to address the pain and suffering associated with advanced chronic illness.

Patients in active cancer therapy, palliative care, and end-of-life care were commonly provided opioids. Prescriptions for opioids to treat moderate, non-cancer chronic pain problems like back pain or osteoarthritis have risen dramatically in recent years. This was a troubling trend and one of the leading causes of prescription medication misuse.

There is a clear link between legitimate opioid prescriptions and reported misuse, addiction, and dependence. According to studies, between 21 and 29 percent of persons administered opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Furthermore, between 3 and 19 percent of persons who take prescription pain relievers become addicted to them. Given these alarming figures, individuals must be aware of the risk factors for opioid use disorder and address them with their doctor.

OUD Treatment Options
Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are an important tool for those who are addicted to opioids. This pharmacological component's efficacy in treatment has been demonstrated in numerous studies. MOUDs address many of the physical and neurological discomforts, while behavioral therapies target the psyche of opioid use disorder.

MOUDs, for example, can help with cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and blocking the pleasurable effects of opioids. To date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three drugs to treat opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. One or more of these three drugs are included in all brand-name MOUD prescriptions. Bunavail, Belbuca, Subutex, Suboxone, Naltrexone (Vivitrol), Sublocade, and Zubsolv are all common brand names.