Risk factors for substance use disorders

Risk factors for substance use disorders


Hi my name is Irene Njoroge, and I am the
advanced practice nurse here in the Substance Use Service at Women’s College
Hospital and today I’m going to be talking to you about substance use disorders and some of the
risk factors for developing a substance use disorder. The four main risk factors for substance use
include having a family history of substance use, where one associates using the substance
as a way to cope with life’s challenges. Another one is having a history of mental
illness, where one uses substances to cope with negative thoughts and emotions of the
mental illness. Another factor is having a history of trauma,
which could be neglect or abuse as a child, or interpersonal violence could lead one to
use substances to cope. Another risk factor includes cultural factors,
where in some cultures substances such as alcohol are used in some ceremonial roles. In these cultures people may tend to drink
or drinking may not be problematic, however people tend to develop tolerance and dependency
to the substance and this becomes a problem. What I would like you to know is that substance
use disorders are treatable. They’re treatable with medications and also
with psycho-social supports, and the guilt and shame that accompanies substance use is
because of stigma, which is a huge barrier for people to access
treatment.

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