You’ve probably heard this a million times before: Addiction is genetic. People who are predisposed to addiction are simply those who are genetically flawed. But is this true? Could genetics play a role in whether or not someone becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs? Or is the idea of genetic predisposition to addiction a myth?
If you’ve ever wondered whether genetics play a role in your own alcohol or drug addiction, then you’ve come to the right article. In this article, we’ll be exploring the physics of addiction as well as the connection between genetics and addiction. Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating subject.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is a condition in which a person exhibits compulsive behaviors that are harmful to their health, well-being, and relationships. Ongoing drug and alcohol abuse can cause nerve and brain damage, as well as permanent changes in the body. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the diagnostic manual used in the United States that specifies what constitutes a mental disorder. The DSM-5, published in 2013, lists drug and alcohol abuse as a “chronic condition” that can cause significant disability or death if left untreated.
The Physics of Addiction
Addiction is a disease caused by the interaction of a person’s environment and biology. It can occur independently of any mental illness and is characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol use that is harmful.
The drug affects the reward circuits in a person’s brain, leading to a state of “dysregulation”. The reward circuits are controlled by neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which are affected by the state and type of drug used. Drugs that release large amounts of dopamine in the reward circuits, such as drugs of abuse, can produce an addiction.
The Connection Between Genetics and Addiction
Scientists have struggled to identify factors that can be used to predict whether or not someone will become addicted to drugs. A large segment of this research has looked to genetics as a potential source of answers.
Studies have examined the extent to which a family’s history of addiction may be passed down through generations. Experts have found that genetics play a significant role in a person’s vulnerability to addiction. Specifically, a person’s environment may interact with their genetic makeup to cause addiction. Certain environments, such as growing up in an environment where drugs are regularly abused, may increase a person’s genetic risk.
Studies have also looked at the extent to which particular genes may be involved in drug addiction. A gene called “met-ab”, which stands for “methylation-related”, has been found to be linked to addiction. The met-ab gene has been shown to be highly expressed in the brains of people who are dependent on alcohol and other drugs.
Is There a Gene for Addiction?
At this point, there is no gene that scientists know of that can be used to identify a person as being addicted. Addiction is a complex condition that is influenced by many different genes and environmental factors. While a person’s genetics may play a role in whether or not they develop an addiction, it does not mean that they will necessarily become addicted.
Studies have identified a few genetic markers that may increase a person’s risk for drug addiction. These include variations in genes that influence pleasure centers in the brain, such as the dopamine receptors. Other genes related to the reward circuits in the brain may also be involved.
However, these genetic markers do not mean that a person will definitely become addicted. A person may carry these genetic markers and still not develop an addiction, based on their environment and other factors.
Asheville Recovery Center Is Here For You
It is undeniable that genetics plays a role in many aspects of our lives. We are born with a certain amount of intelligence, good looks, and athleticism, among other things. While genes may play a part in whether or not someone will develop an addiction, they do not explain why someone becomes addicted in the first place.
Addiction is a complex condition that is influenced by many different factors. It is important to remember that no one gene causes addiction, nor is it entirely understood what causes it. Addiction is a disease that affects each individual differently and is not caused by genetics.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent addiction and help those who are already struggling. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is important to get treatment. At Asheville Recovery Center treatment specialists utilize a 12-step program and practice holistic rehabilitation.
Services at the center include:
Partial Hospitalization Program – At Asheville Recovery Center we offer a partial hospitalization program for clients who need post-residential treatment as well as for clients who need primary treatment but are unable to enroll in inpatient programs. Our PHP track offers a variety of therapeutic services and benefits to individuals in early recovery from substance addiction.
Outpatient Rehabilitation – During intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), clients live at home or in a sober living residence while completing an addiction treatment program. IOP is a place where clients can process their experiences in twelve-step fellowships and support one another in those individual journeys.
Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call and speak with an addiction expert today.