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How Do Some People Not Get Addicted to Heroin?

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease. People in recovery from substance abuse are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

The Science Behind Addiction to Heroin

Some individuals don’t understand why many people become addicted to heroin while others do not, and it’s usually because of a person’s brain chemistry and predisposition to substance abuse. Some may mistakenly think that those who are addicted to drugs such as heroin or other opioids lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, heroin and drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Not everyone indeed gets addicted to drugs. Why is that one person can become addicted after just one “hit” of a drug, while others can take it or leave it?

Why Do Some People Get Instantly Addicted to Heroin?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), addiction is a combination of genetics, neurobiology, and how that interacts with psychosocial and social factors. Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs around and still some may do it and not get addicted. So how is this possible? Not one thing can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. There are combinations of factors that influence the risk of addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:

  • Biology – The genes that people are born with can contribute to about half of a person’s risk of addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence the risk of drug use and addiction.
  • Environment – A person’s environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person’s likelihood of drug use and addiction.
  • Development – Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.

Overcoming Heroin Addiction Safely

Whether you have these risk factors or not, it is even dangerous when trying heroin or any other drugs once. If you or a loved one is addicted to heroin or any other substance, Evoke Wellness at Cohasset can help. Our facilities are staffed by experienced and compassionate professionals, including licensed therapists and psychiatrists, addiction specialists, and highly qualified support staff. Our team members are extremely understanding and treat each client with an unmatched level of respect. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, which shows our dedication to offering the highest quality of addiction care for each person that steps through our doors.