Research makes it clear: There is no way to predict who will develop compulsive substance use or gambling behavior.
Among the factors that contribute to risk are these: Biological factors Substance use is a treatable condition and complete remission is entirely possible.
Individuals can achieve improved physical, psychological, and social functioning on their own—so-called natural recovery.
Others prefer the support of community or peer-based networks.
Substance use and gambling disorders not only engage the same brain mechanisms, they respond to many of the same approaches to treatment.
Complex conditions that affect reward, reinforcement, motivation, and memory systems of the brain, substance use and gambling disorders are characterized by impaired control over usage; social impairment, involving disruption of everyday activities and relationships; and may involve craving.
Some characteristics, such as a lack of ability to tolerate distress or other strong feelings, have been associated with addiction, but there is no one “addictive personality” type that clearly predicts whether a person will face problems with addiction.
Recurrent use of a substance or engagement with an activity leading to impairment or distress, is the sine qua non of an addictive disorder.
And typically, tolerance to the substance increases, as the body adapts to its presence.
Because addiction affects the brain’s executive functions, centered in the prefrontal cortex, individuals who develop an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is causing problems for themselves and others.