Why do we become addicted to things? Group breaks down top 10 most common addictions

Genetics blamed for likelihood of facing addiction

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As many people probably know, most of us aren’t born with an addiction, so how do people become addicted to something, anyway?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says it happens gradually, but it always begins with experimentation.

Experts say that when you break it down, addiction is a mental disorder — a compulsive engagement with something that makes you feel rewarded or happy, despite the fact that the experience can bring unfavorable consequences.

And even though addiction ultimately begins with experimentation, the group said, a combination of behavioral, environmental and biological factors are major contributors, as well.

The leading cause of addiction, officials say, is genetics. Simply put, it can be something parents, grandparents or great-grandparents have passed down through generations.

Environmental factors that can lead to addiction include:

  • An unstable home.
  • Peer or parental drug use.
  • A lack of support or self-assurance.

The bad news, experts added, is that people who are already living with other mental disorders have a higher risk of suffering from addiction.