Substance abuse is a complicated subject, and you may assume that you are not at risk. The truth is, anyone can fall into behaviors that lead to substance abuse, although some people may be more at risk than others.

Our team at Drug, Alcohol, Mental Health Counseling & Evaluation Services, Inc. in Honolulu proudly offers help with substance abuse. As specialists in this field, we evaluate and treat substance abuse in order to support you and your loved ones.

Knowing the risk factors for substance abuse is important. Learn more about substance abuse and its risk factors below.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse doesn’t only refer to the use of “hard drugs” such as heroin or methamphetamines. It occurs with many substances, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Sleep or anxiety medication
  • Pain medication, especially opioids
  • Illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine

Substance abuse means you can’t cope without that substance or control your intake. For example, you may drink a few alcoholic drinks on the weekend, but if you can’t get through the day without a drink or thinking about drinking, you may be abusing alcohol.

Risk factors

Anyone can become addicted if they overuse a specific substance. However, multiple factors can result in substance abuse and some people develop an addiction more easily. We explore a few of the risk factors below.

Mental health disorders

Unfortunately, if you suffer from certain mental health disorders, you may be more at risk for substance abuse. Mental health disorders may lead to drug abuse or make people want to self-medicate. If you take medication for your mental health disorder, you could also take too much of your prescribed medication and develop a dependency on it.


A history of substance abuse in your family also increases your risk of substance abuse, especially if your parents or siblings misuse substances.

Using substances at an early age

Taking drugs at an early age increases the chance of an addiction developing over time. Specifically, substance use can alter a child’s still-growing brain. Also, pregnant women who take drugs can not only harm their baby but also cause the baby to be born addicted.

Peer pressure, lack of family support, taking highly addictive drugs, and numerous other factors can also lead to substance abuse. Falling into any of the above categories does not necessarily mean you will become addicted to substances. However, if you worry about it, we recommend reaching out for help before these feelings worsen.

Substance abuse can take over your whole life. If you need help, call our team at Drug, Alcohol, Mental Health Counseling & Evaluation Services, Inc. at 808-400-5004. You can also book online or use our contact form to receive additional information.

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