Addiction and Risk Taking Behavior

A man in a hoodie stands in a gray area covered in rain.

There are many complicated nuances that go into the study of human behavior, and particularly what drives people to head down a path of addiction that is difficult to reverse. However, researchers are working a lot harder to discover some of the traits that might be driving the rises in addiction that we are seeing in our culture. Perhaps, along with the socioeconomic factors that are behind it, there is a psychological foundation that has caused this to be so. One such way that researchers have begun to look into, as far as addiction goes, is whether or not personalities that are perceived as risk-takers are more susceptible to getting wrapped up in addiction than people who are not. Here is how this phenomenon has had an effect…

Minds that seek rewards

The chemistry in the brain that is at play behind risk-taking personalities has to do with how they perceive risk-rewards situations. These types of people continually seek out behavior that rewards them with positive feelings. However, this type of reward seeking activity can cloud people’s better judgement. As a person with this type of brain structure begins to use an addictive substance, their mind continues to reward them for the high that they experience when they do so. This builds a self-sustaining cycle of drug use and feelings of reward that are hard to undo.

Leads to a more party-oriented drug culture

There is a correlation between people who exhibit risk taking behavior and people who are incredibly outgoing. This leads many people who may be more susceptible to substance abuse with other people who have the same risks. Years of this type of social interaction has caused some more outgoing venues, such as party scenes, to become a haven for drug-infused behavior. This has laid a foundation in the country’s drug culture as something that is more party-oriented and “fun,” which makes the image of certain substances harder to combat.

People with risk-taking personalities are more likely to initially try a drug

At the root of risk taking behavior being correlated with drug use, though, might actually simply be that people who exhibit such behavior are more likely to try illicit substances in the first place. People who engage in risk-reward activities are less likely to shy away from something that they perceive as unsafe or dangerous, and will try something out just for the experience of it.